Gwaii Haanas is a protected area of Haida Gwaii, encompassing hundreds of small islands, forested mountains, and the Haida heritage sites. Few cruisers visit it, because of the time and effort of getting across Hecate Strait. We were pretty excited to be heading there after waiting out 5 days of gales in Sandspit.
The highlights for us were the beautiful hot springs at Hotsprings Island and SGang Gwaii (a UNESCO world heritage site with amazingly well preserved poles).
First we headed to Thurston Harbor, which is not within the park boundaries but was a great anchorage after a long day. We saw our first bear (this year) here, in the evening about 8pm – a Haida black bear grazing along the grassy shore. It was too far away to get a decent picture.
Windy Bay is the first Haida site inside Gwaii Haanas park that we visited. The watchmen were friendly and took us on a hike where we saw some really big old cedars. Windy Bay was the site of logging protests many years ago, which led to the establishment of the protected park and logging ban.