Sea Kayak Haida Gwaii - Butterfly Tours Sea Kayak Haida Gwaii - Butterfly Tours

Personal Preparation

Each person interested in joining a kayak trip is requested to read this page.
For information specific to each trip, see:  Preparation Details
Read about inviting a friend or partner.
View options for travel to Sandspit.

Adventure travel involves changeable elements.

These journeys become exceptional when participants are appropriately prepared.
Compatibility is uniquely enhanced when group members arrive accurately informed.

We offer a wide variety of tours and expeditions for paddlers with different levels of kayaking ability, yet our trips are not suitable for everyone.  The information on this page will assist people in developing accurate expectations while making a knowledgable decision.

We provide single kayaks.
Our tours and expeditions are best suited to participants who are reasonably able-bodied, yet there is no need for our guests to be accomplished athletes.

A variety of sea conditions are experienced during our wilderness kayak journeys.  Depending on conditions, we launch the kayaks for several hours each day to explore the islands.  On calmer days, we venture out to experience some gentle ocean swell and light to moderate winds.  A properly loaded single touring kayak can feel predictably stable in moderate sea conditions.
When it becomes too windy, we remain on shore; there are many scenic campsites that provide great shelter during stormy days.

Our trips also provide time to "simply be" on Haida Gwaii.
We cook wholesome slow food over a driftwood campfire while enjoying quiet, unstructured time on shore.  We adapt to the pace of the sun and tides, rather than attempt to impose an artificial schedule.  Those who become comfortable with "being in the moment" tend to gain more pleasure from our trips, compared to those whose attention may be continually focused on reaching some other destination.

We offer several trips suitable for relatively inexperienced kayakers, including our accommodation tours.  Previous kayaking experience is recommended; attending a sea kayaking course prior to a trip could provide valuable skills to an inexperienced paddler.

We also offer more advanced expeditions specifically designed for kayakers who have accumulated some experience and developed reasonable boat-handling abilities.

Accurate expectations are important.
All our trips are best suited to able-bodied people who prefer to maintain a positive attitude during occasional challenging moments.  Those who enjoy our trips the most tend to read our website in detail before making reservations.

The "Butterfly way" evolved during more than a quarter-century of paddling on Haida Gwaii; it is a considerate method of wilderness travel, most appreciated by team players.
To learn more about our style of travel, prospective tour guests and expedition participants are encouraged to complete the Buttefly way questionnaire.

Before making a reservation, please familiarize yourself with the Terms for Cancellations, Transfers & Payments.

Risk Management

Even with accomplished paddlers, we ask each group member to cooperate with our professional risk management guidelines.  Our groups remain with the guides when on the water; there are very limited opportunities to paddle without the guides.  Those who may not appreciate this style of group-oriented risk management are encouraged to consider a self-guided trip.

Arriving with appropriate outdoor clothing is essential to each guest's comfort and personal well-being during the trip.  A detailed clothing and equipment list is provided upon registration.

Wilderness kayak journeys are guided camping trips.  These experiences are well suited to those seeking a degree of personal challenge; the North Pacific can be an exciting place to explore by kayak.  We comply with changing weather and sea conditions.  Our groups generally do more kayaking on calm days and less on windy days.  Summer storms are possible.  If it becomes too windy, we remain on shore.  Depending on conditions, we paddle up to five hours in a day.  After a couple of hours in the kayaks, we typically go ashore to stretch our legs and enjoy lunch before returning to sea.

Accommodation tours provide a "softer" adventure with heated, indoor lodging after each kayak day-trip.  These tours are suitable for a wide range of skill levels and preferences; relatively inexperienced paddlers and accomplished kayakers are all welcome, as are those who may prefer not to paddle.

Single Kayaks

We supply single kayaks.  Each Butterfly Tours participant is provided with the opportunity to effectively propel their own kayak.  Our guides are accomplished kayak instructors; we help people develop efficient paddling techniques.
Arriving uninjured, with reasonable balance, reflexes, fitness and coordination will generally enable people to enjoy touring at optimum cruising speed in our single kayaks.  Of course, the ability to maintain a positive attitude during challenging moments will also provide a tremendous advantage.

Cruising speed is an important concept for each group member to understand.

Single kayaks enable specific freedoms while providing certain challenges.  Many people distinctly prefer paddling a single kayak; however, not everyone aspires to be responsible for the propulsion of their own vessel.  If you are interested in our trips and want to invite a friend, please be sure that your friend also seeks the additional rewards and challenges provided by a single kayak.  See more information on inviting a friend or partner.

For details on our single kayaks, please see:  Equipment

As an alternative, a Seaward Southwind double kayak is available; however, we do not provide a paddling partner for the double.  (We provide each person with the opportunity to paddle a single kayak.)  If you would prefer paddling our double, please be sure to arrive with a paddling partner.

Those planning on arriving alone and preferring to paddle a double kayak may be interested in joining a different tour company that provides a fleet of doubles.  You are welcome to contact us for a reference to another outfitter.

Team Players & Group Awareness

Our guides promote group awareness and respect; the best interest of the group generally outweighs the desires of an individual.  Many people naturally understand and embrace this universal social concept.

Unfortunately, a few people seem to reject group consciousness - they may be accustomed to continually getting their own way.  Our trips are not likely to fulfill the desires of these few.

Team players willingly work in cooperation with others and value a group's interdependence.  Most team players entirely appreciate and enjoy the trips we offer.

Our Menu

Our food is healthy, tasty and abundant.  We cook wholesome slow food over driftwood campfires and enjoy our onshore time.  There are many aesthetic benefits to professional campfire cooking.

Our menu is somewhat flexible, yet it is not always possible for us to cater to an individual's specific menu preferences.  For details, please see:  Special Dietary Requirements

Preparation Details

Trip Ratings

  • For relatively inexperienced paddlers, as well as accomplished kayakers.
  • For kayakers with some experience.
  1. For experienced kayakers only.
  1. Outer Coast Expedition
    This eleven-day expedition is unlike anything else.  The journey is open to experienced kayakers who have previously paddled with us.
    Please see the expedition itinerary:  Outer Coast Expedition

Wilderness Kayak Journeys
Willing & able...

Our wilderness kayak journeys are designed for participants who are reasonably able-bodied.  Dependable reflexes, as well as practical levels of balance, fitness and coordination are necessary, yet there is no need for our guests to be accomplished athletes.

Self-propelled multi-day wilderness journeys involve some challenging moments.  These moments may not happen each day.  When they do occur, the challenges are often quite brief.  Many people relish the moments as they arise, some soon consider them a highlight of the trip.

Every year, a variety of people enjoy kayaking with Butterfly Tours.  Several of our guests are small women in their sixties.  Smaller people and less experienced kayakers can enjoy exploring the North Pacific by single kayak, provided they are able-bodied and maintain a positive attitude during challenging moments.

Our guides are accomplished kayak instructors, able to assist each guest in developing efficient paddling techniques.  Properly utilizing these techniques requires reasonable physical capabilities.  Ultimately, openness to learning combined with a flexible, positive attitude can be far more important than a person's previous kayaking experience.

Prospective tour guests and expedition participants are encouraged to view our description of cruising speed.

Additional information is provided for those inviting a friend or partner.

For "softer" adventures, please see our accommodation tours.

You are welcome to contact Gord if you have any questions.

© Butterfly Tours ~ Sea Kayak Haida Gwaii
Updated by Gord on February 25, 2021