Weather changes quickly
Even on beautiful days remember that the weather can change quickly in Gwaii Haanas.
Be aware of both the marine weather forecast and your own observations of the conditions. You may be used to listening for small craft warnings, but the north coast is considered hazardous for small craft at all times so a small craft warning is always in effect and is not issued on the weather forecasts.
Be prepared for cold and wet conditions any time of year.
- Hypothermia is a real threat. It is important not to push yourself too hard while kayaking. Monitor yourself and others in your group.
- Summer fog is common on the west coast and in Houston Stewart Channel. Always take a compass bearing of your destination. Avoid paddling and boating in the fog.
- Plan alternate routes for each day in case the weather deteriorates. It is best to not be too focused on reaching a certain destination. If you have concerns about the conditions on the water stay ashore or in a protected anchorage.
The wild west coast
The west coast of Gwaii Haanas is frequently hit by storms that brew across the long stretch of open Pacific Ocean between here and Japan. It is one of the windiest and wettest areas in Canada.
The west coast is steep rocky shoreline and there are few sheltered places to anchor. There are sections of west coast that remain uncharted. The west coast is a destination for some people but unless you are very experienced in coastal navigation, avoid travel on the west coast.