Gwaii Haanas… Coves, Inlets and Heritage

Although we could have hung out in Haswell Bay for a few more days (we liked it that much!), we headed back out into Juan Perez Sound in route to another Haida Heritage site at Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay (aka Hotspring Island). Interestingly, where there were once several pools fed by the natural hot springs on the island, a 2012 earthquake shut off the water source to these pools. Since then, a few of the springs have come back to the surface, and work was done to re-divert it into three of the pools. Lucky us! With permission from the Watchman, we anchored Summer Breeze off-shore, rowed Zephyr to the island, and hiked through the beautiful dense forest to the location of the pools. Ahhhhhhh! (I didn’t drag my camera along, so no pictures of the place.)

Juan Perez Sound

Zephyr tagging along through Juan Perez Sound

Another boat! (We saw so few) Juan Perez Sound

Juan Perez Sound

Pigeon Guillemot

Clouds creeping over the mountains from the west again


After a great soak at Hotspring Island we headed for Freshwater Cove. I have no idea if that’s the proper name, but that’s certainly what it is known for. With no amenities (Fuel, food, water, and of course WiFi 🤣) in Gwaii Haanas, we were getting low on water. In Freshwater Cove they’ve run a hose right off a freshwater stream, and out to a floating dock in the cove. No on-off valve, it just runs… and we were able to not only fill our tanks, but also stay docked for the night since no one else was around. This was our only use of a dock the entire time we were in Gwaii Haanas.

After filling up, we dropped Zephyr in the water and went exploring around a corner at the end of the cove. Here was the freshwater stream, and a waterfall. As we arrived back at the dock I noticed all the colorful sea life hanging just below the waterline. This is the kind of thing I normally enjoy while scuba diving or snorkeling, so it was a unique experience to observe and photograph this sea life from above the water.

I was able to capture a fun little video clip of it with my iPhone and posted it on YouTube… Dockside Sea Life

The funny little hairs that reached out from the barnacles, the colorful muscles and anemone… and the moon jellyfish that apparently got snagged by one of them… was all so interesting to see from our viewpoint.

Waterfall at end of Freshwater Cove

Anemone barnacles and muscles cling to the dock


Colorful anemone

muscles clinging to the dock

Moon Jellyfish glides by


The following morning we set out again… this time through Hoya Passage… heading toward one more Heritage Site- Hik’yah GawGa (aka Windy Bay). The Haida Watchman was off cutting wood somewhere, but we were given permission to go ashore and give ourselves a tour.

Summer Breeze leaves a gentle wake through Hoya Passage

Sea Gulls resting on log In Hoya Passage

Colorful shoreline in Hoya Passage

Longhouse at Windy Bay, which is used by visiting groups

Totem pole at Windy Bay

The totem pole above is known as a Legacy Pole, and was raised in 2013 by Haida people, volunteers, and Parks Canada staff. It was created after the Haida people successfully took a stand against logging on their sacred lands. Their protest ultimately led to the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.

While there we hiked a trail through the woods and across Windy Bay Creek in search of a giant Sitka Spruce which is estimated to be nearly 1000 years old. Without a map or Watchman guide, we came across several very big trees, and asked ourselves… “Is this it?”  When we actually got to it though, we knew it was THE tree. It was huge! I’ve been to Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, and looked up at some of the oldest, largest and tallest trees in the Americas. I don’t recall all the sizes and dimensions, although I blogged about them, but this one would stand in the rankings… at least in age.

1000 year old Spruce ????

“Pano” of ????


From there we headed to Echo Bay, which was lovely. And from our anchorage, there was another smaller “back bay” to explore in Zephyr.  John and I, and Sadie of course, set out in Zephyr to see what was there. We never knew when we might run into a bear, (which is why we carry bear spray), and as it turned out the grassy lands around the little cove were covered in bear scat. We didn’t see them while there, but we found a pretty little cascade of water, and noticed bubbling circles all around. I can only assume there’s some sort of cave or tunnel system running below the water, pushing air from below.

View from Echo Bay

Bubbles coming up from the shallow bottom in back bay, off of Echo Bay

Cascading water behind Echo Bay

Zephyr rests behind Echo Bay while we explore (cascade in background)

Summer Breeze at anchor in Echo Bay


Hik’yah GawGa, also known as Tanu, was our third heritage site visit. At one time there were between 25 and 40 longhouses,  31 mortuary poles and 15 mortuary houses standing in here. What little is left is sunken into the ground and covered with moss, but enough to give you a sense of the Haidi village that once existed here.

remnants of a longhouse


Nature taking back what was hers

Longhouse and partially standing corner post

Fallen corner post gable

Tree literally lifts a longhouse pole off the ground over the years

Moss covered framework of longhouse


From Tanu we were off to Lagoon Bay, via Dana Passage, under very gray skies. Shortly after anchoring though, the clouds parted just enough to give us a pretty bit of the sunset.

Lagoon Bay under of bank of clouds

Color beyond the clouds

Summer Breeze at anchor in Lagoon Bay


The following morning we made time to paddle/row (me on the kayak, John and Sadie in Zephyr) into a little bay behind Lagoon Bay. This back bay is not accessible by boat at low tide. We made our way though with the tide pushing us through, and back while it pushed against us. Once through I kicked it up and made a bee-line for the grassy area I saw at the far end… knowing how much bears like those grasses. 😜

Since I’ve already reached my self-imposed image limit on this page, you’ll have to come back for my next post to find out what I found!


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