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Through Great Excursions I have discovered the diversity, exoticism and magic of Saskatchewan

Through Great Excursions I have discovered the diversity, exoticism and magic of Saskatchewan.

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Top-notch! excellent as individuals and in their teamwork! - Queen Charlotte Islands Sailing Adventure

By Dan Beveridge - Regina, SK


What were your reasons for joining this trip?

To see and learn more about a region we had never visited, a national park we had not visited (we are trying to visit most of Canada’s national parks). This meant especially the animals, plants and the Haida people and their history and other aspects of Gwaii Haanas National Park.

What were the highlights of the trip for you? 

  • The walk through the forest after leaving the watchmen at Ninstints.
  • The forest walk and the huge tree (Old Glory) near Windy Bay
  • Seeing marine invertebrates, some brought up (briefly) by Lindsay diving, and marine mammals (e.g. whales and seals) and some birds
  • Talking and learning from the watchmen at the Haida sites, & the Haida lunch hosts

 Did the trip meet with your expectations?

Yes. Also, we were fortunate to have perfect weather, no rainy days.

Was the vessel suitable?


How were the meals?

Excellent. We appreciated all the fish provided.

How were the educational aspects of the trip?

Excellent for the most part (see below). Jill was very knowledgeable on the biology of all species, also in educational techniques, other crew members also.

Were there enough activities to satisfy you?

Yes; we appreciated the opportunity to walk on land almost every day, and to do some kayaking, for physical activity. The library was excellent and we took advantage of it when possible. We enjoyed seeing the vessel run under sail.

Can you suggest others?

Possibly fishing?

Any comments on people you met during the trip, First Nations guides, Parks staff or management of the protected area?

  • Interaction with First Nations people was important and helpful generally: Haida lunch host Roberta and family, Al and Gladys at Windy Bay, Paul and Steve at Tanu, the folks at the hot springs.
  • The watchmen at Ninstints were pleasant but not helpful, they gave us no information, they were very preoccupied with preparing fish or for leaving the site in the near future. Fortunately Lindsay was quite knowledgeable about the site and was a capable guide before reaching the watchmen’s cabin, but we were expecting we could ask the watchmen additional questions.
  • The guide at the Haida Cultural Centre was satisfactory and appeared knowledgeable but probably would benefit from more training or guidance. We would suggest : at first contact with the group, he should introduce himself (not done), welcome the visitors (not done), give a brief overview of what he intended to do and estimated length of time (not done), and perhaps give us some guidelines about taking photographs and asking questions. He was quite receptive to questions. At the end he told us the Museum was a separate entity, that taking photos was not allowed there, that we were on or own to visit it. We don’t know why some people had uniforms on and he didn’t.

We would appreciate any comments you care to offer about the crew:

top-notch! excellent as individuals and in their teamwork! Ian set the tone at the beginning (in words and actions) about what we could expect from the crew and what he expected of us, and the rest of the crew and we guests followed. 

Laurel, the bus driver/chauffeur was not considered as a crew member but possibly could do so since she was our main contact in Day One.

Any other comments on the trip? 

(a) Day One, before we arrive at the boat, could benefit from more coordination. We were instructed to be ready at 9 a.m. which we were, but the Haida Cultural Centre tour was for 10 a.m. As it happened they opened the Cultural Centre door and let us wander around on the beach for ¾ hour until our tour started. Some of this time could have been better spent? Maybe at the Visitor Centre in Queen Charlotte City? Maybe a brief talk about the QCI? Maybe just an official welcome by someone representing you to start the tour? The school bus driver/chauffeur Laurel probably could play this role but she appeared to be “just” the driver, not the “tour guide.” Most of us are accustomed to having a tour guide and a driver on a tour bus on some other tours. Once we got on the boat, everything was extremely well coordinated.

(b) I believe some of us would like to learn more about the present economic base and socio-economic situation in the QCI. We drove through clearcut logging areas on logging roads where I guess logging was going on. We saw what looked like a fish farm. We saw lots of fishing boats tied up but don’t know whether they are being used. We talked to a Haida woman on the ferry who works in a centre for abused women. Logging and fish farming and the decline of fish stocks are in the news, but we were told nothing about them, didn’t see anything on that in the excellent boat library and do not feel competent to say anything about these things if and when we are asked by others after our trip. I realize that may not be part of your tour goal currently, but could you add a little bit on that aspect without sacrificing anything of what you are doing now? The crew probably are knowledgeable on this but they are so busy as it is there is not much opportunity to ask them.

Would you like information on any of the other trips that we offer?

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And thanks for the advance reading list.

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