Gandll K'in Gwaay.yaay (Hotspring Island)

G andll K'in Gwaay.yaay (Hotspring Island) © Parks Canada / Neil Osborne 

Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay traditionally provided food in abundance and waters that would comfort, heal and nourish body and soul.

Today, the Watchmen protect those values for future generations and look after one of the more unusual sites in Gwaii Haanas.

The springs seep from at least 26 small vents, at temperatures ranging from 32° to 77° Celsius (89° to 170°F). The water is not seawater, although its mineral content makes it distinctly salty.

Mystery Source

The source of the water is not known. One possibility is that it first falls as precipitation on Lyell Island, which is the closest large landmass.

The water then makes its way through faults and fissures in the rock to a warm reservoir three to four kilometres deep somewhere between Lyell Island and Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay. As the water is warmed, pressure forces it back up to emerge on Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay. Other springs may emerge on the seafloor in the area, but this has not been confirmed.

The vegetation on Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay is influenced by the heat and water. It ranges from films of iridescent blue-green algae on the warm water seepages, to meadows of moss, to dense patches of salal and crab apple on rocky outcroppings. 

Bats of Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay

Keen's Bat © Parks Canada

Humans are not the only ones to enjoy the warmth and relaxing atmosphere of this special place. The island is home to one of two known maternity colonies of Keen’s long-eared bat (Myotis keenii).

These small brown bats, with ears one quarter the length of their bodies, have only been found at a few locations on the Pacific Coast. (The only other known maternity colony is located near the town of Tahsis on Vancouver Island.)

The females emerge from their roosts to forage for food for their young shortly after sunset. To help reduce disturbance to the bats, the hours for visiting the island are between 8:30 am and 8:30 pm.