At the Ends of the Earth
Haida Gwaii isn’t just the home of the world famous Tyee, it is also one of the most wild, mystical, enchanting environments on the planet. Separated from the mainland coast by 100 km of salt water, the islands of Haida Gwaii are the most isolated islands in Canada. This natural separation has created a wilderness that is often referred to as the Galapagos of the North. The fishing may have caught your attention, but the wilderness and cultural artifacts will leave you at a loss for words.
Originally referred by Haida culture as the “Islands of the People”, Haida Gwaii is made up of over 150 islands. Two of these take up the majority of the land mass. Escott Sportfishing is situated on the largest, Graham Island, in the small coastal community of Masset. Masset is at the North of Graham Island tucked into a sheltered cove and bordered by Masset Sound to the east and Naikoon Provincial Park a short distance to the west. It is literally in the heart of the wild west coast.
From the windows of the lodge you can see majestic bald eagles soaring above the tree line – and that’s even before you get in the boat. Once on the water, Canada’s largest black bears are visible along the shore, while whales, porpoises and seals rise around you. Thirty-nine unique species and subspecies inhabit the islands, along with trees that were alive before Lief Ericson ever stepped foot on the east coast of the continent.
Even older then the vegetation is the Haida culture. The Haida, the native inhabitants, have been living on the islands for over 8,000 years. Being one of the strongest tribes on the Pacific Northwest, the Haida were known as ‘Lords of the Coast’, raiding coastal communities from Alaska to Vancouver. Their dominance afforded them the wealth and safety to develop a carving style that was unmatched. Like the Tyee, their homes, canoes and totem poles were some of the largest on the coast. The village of old Masset, literally minutes away, is an incredible showcase of their cedar carving. Don’t miss the opportunity to view their art in its natural setting.
Fun fact, the Haida people have over 200 ways to prepare salmon. Check back next week for one of our favourite recipes…