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When is the best weather?

The weather on Haida Gwaii is changeable and usually not accurately predictable more than a day or two in advance. June, July and August, and the start of September generally provide the best chance for decent kayaking and camping weather.

Kayaker relaxing under a tarp beside a tent on Haida Gwaii's coastal beachHow much kayaking experience is required?

We offer two different routes for our tours and expeditions for paddlers with similar levels of kayaking experience. Many of our tours are suitable for relatively inexperienced kayakers. Ultimately, openness to learning combined with a flexible, positive attitude can be far more important than a person's previous kayaking experience.

How long do we kayak each day?

We generally paddle up to five hours in a day, taking occasional rest stops on shore to stretch our legs. We typically do more kayaking on calm days and less on windy days. If it becomes too windy, we remain on shore.

What level of fitness is necessary?

These kayaking experiences 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.

What is cruising speed?

Cruising speed is the most efficient speed for a vessel to travel. To conserve energy, we prefer to maintain optimum cruising speed while kayaking. We normally travel at a crusing speed of two knots per hour or roughly 3-4 km per hour.

Can I have a private tent?

Yes, we provide enough tents so that each person can sleep in their own private shelter if they wish.

Is there an age limit?

We have no specific age limit; however, many of our trips are not likely suitable for pre-teen children. Families with pre-teens would probably have a better experience by arranging a custom tour designed specifically for their group.

Man admiring a totem pole amidst the dense forests of Haida GwaiiIs a double kayak available?

A Seaward Passat double kayak is available on all our trips. It is good to travel with a double kayak on every expedition in-case someone gets hurt, is tired or needs a little break. We provide each person with the opportunity to paddle a single kayak if they wish.

Can I bring my own paddle, PFD or kayak?

Bringing your own paddle and/or PFD (personal flotation device) is fine, provided the PFD is Transport Canada approved and not inflatable. Bringing your own kayak could involve additional costs.

How experienced is your guide?

Butterfly Tours Guides are certified as a Level 3 guide through the SKGABC. All of our lead guides have kayak toured through Haida Gwaii. Most of our lead guides have been kayak guiding for five years to a decade.

Will your kayaks fit me?

Our fleet of fibreglass Seaward Tyee kayaks can comfortably fit a wide range of people; Tyees are relatively spacious single kayaks. Two of our Tyees are high-volume models, making them even roomier for long-legged people. Before registering on a trip, it is recommended that particularly large people try out a high-volume Seaward Tyee (with a standard-sized cockpit) to ensure that the kayak will fit them. We also have extra large cockpits available which are the same design, just with no thigh braces.

Very tall people with long legs and large feet are encouraged to carefully consider their kayaking footwear options: Booties with thin, flexible soles will enhance your ability to use the rudder pedals. Kayaking footwear with thick, inflexible soles or with thick padding on heels and toes can make kayaking uncomfortable for very tall people with long legs and large feet.

Smaller people are encouraged to consider the option of bringing "volleyball-style" knee pads, as those with shorter legs may find thick kneepads help them to fit into the kayak more comfortably and securely.

Can I just rent your kayaks?

Sorry, we do not rent our equipment. Our kayaks are provided only to our tour guests and expedition participants. Kayak rentals are available through Moresby Explorers.

Can I get a discount?

We offer a few different price-reduction options: Group discounts may be offered to groups of six or more people who register together and provide full payment in advance. We may occasionally post discount opportunities on social media. Sorry, we do not offer seniors or children discounts.

Two kayaks on a scenic bay beach in Haida GwaiiCan I register alone?

Yes, we welcome independent travelers; there is no singles supplement. (No surcharge is added to the cost per person when traveling alone.) Any number of people up to our maximum group size are welcome to register on our trips.

Will you cater to my special dietary requirements?

It is not always possible for us to cater to an individual's specific food preferences. If you require specific foods, or are unable to eat certain foods, please contact us to request more information before registering on a trip.

How much time is allowed for exploring the ancient Haida village?

The amount of time spent in the ancient village of SGang Gwaay depends largely on the Haida Watchmen that work at the site. Each group that lands on the island generally spends an hour or more in the village with the totem poles. Each trip is different. If another group is not waiting, village time may be extended. We customarily spend several hours on the island, including one hour or more in the ancient village.

What's the difference between your wilderness kayak journeys?

Northern Tour: Haida Heritage Tour is aimed for folks wanting to see three different Haida Heritage sites along our journey through the National Park, as well as experiencing a nice soak in the Hot springs.

Southern Tour: Waterways of Sgang Waay are designed for kayakers who have accumulated some experience and developed reasonable boat-handling abilities and want to experience some west coast paddling, as well as visiting the UNESCO heritage site of Sgang Gwaay.

When should I arrive in Sandspit?

Participants are requested to arrive in Sandspit at least one day prior to trip departure. It is often preferable to schedule your arrival two days early, in order to have extra time to deal with the potential for delayed baggage, or missed flight connections. It is generally best to stay in Sandspit the night before your kayak trip, as you are likely to depart early on the first day.

What is the best way to travel to Sandspit?

There are numerous options for your journey, please see: Travel to Sandspit.

What can I do before and after the kayak trip?

Guests are encouraged to enjoy additional days on Haida Gwaii before and after their kayak trip. There are many additional travel opportunities on Haida Gwaii, including visits to museums, beach hiking, fishing and exploring the Islands' communities. We highly recommend the Haida Heritage Centre - a focal point of Haida culture in Skidegate.

Where can I store items in Sandspit while I am on the kayak trip?

Seaport Bed & Breakfast will store items for their guests. Most other Sandspit accommodations will also store items.

What time does the trip arrive back in Sandspit on the last day?

The group generally arrives in Sandspit sometime between 3 and 9 PM on the last day of the kayak trip. Weather and sea conditions can delay the speedboat. On calmer days, the boat takes a more direct and exposed route, often enabling the group to arrive in Sandspit around 3 PM. On windy days, the boat may take a longer, more sheltered route. The boat does a two-way trip, so the longer route results in a later arrival to your starting point, as well as a later arrival back in Sandspit.

When should I depart Sandspit after the trip?

Participants are requested to make return travel arrangements for the day following the trip, or later. It is generally best to stay in Sandspit the last night of your kayak trip, as you may return late on the last day.

Kayaker paddling alongside an orca near Haida GwaiiIs there cell phone reception?

Most cell phones work near Seaport B&B in Sandspit. There is no cell phone reception in the wilderness regions we kayak through, or in the remote community of Rose Harbour. Your guide carries a inReach for emergency communication during the trip.

When is a trip likely to become sold out?

We have not found a reliable method for accurately predicting when a trip may sell out. Trip reservations have a rhythm of their own and can fill quite suddenly when groups register together.

Can you hold my space without a deposit?

We are flexible and we will do what we can to assist you. It is generally possible to hold space for an hour or two while you make arrangements for your travel to Sandspit. Holding space without a deposit for more than two hours becomes complicated when there are only a few spaces available on a trip. When you are ready to register by paying a deposit, we will accept your reservation unless another person has the space on hold for an hour or two.

Can I bring my dog?

Sorry, no. Pets are not invited on any of our trips. This is not actually a frequently asked question, although it was asked at least once.

You are welcome to contact us if you have additional questions.

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