Photo by Doug Taylor

The Trip

During the months of June and July 2010 I hope to circumnavigate the entire archipelago of Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia, Canada.

I will set off from the Village of Queen Charlotte and paddle counter-clockwise around Graham Island. After returning to the Village of Queen Charlotte via Skidegate Channel I will paddle around Moresby Island, travelling clockwise.

I am paddling solo. This will mean that I must rely on my own seamanship to ensure that the decision to paddle each day is a safe one.

The total distance is about 500 nautical miles. I have allowed up to 60 days door to door. I do not expect to be away this long but need to ensure that I have enough spare time to cope with multiple days of being "weathered in".

If you want to check the weather I am facing in Haida Gwaii, click on "Haida Gwaii marine weather forecast" in the Links section on the right.

When Doug Taylor and I paddled around Vancouver Island in 2008 we were able to make blog entries of text and photographs using laptop PCs that our wives brought to re-supply stops en route. On this trip I will only be able to do blog entries at the start and end of the trip, and once (possibly twice) during the body of the journey. However, friends wanting to see where I have reached will be able to visit this blog to check the daily SPOT message (see the box below).

Safety equipment will include two VHF radios, two SPOT satellite messengers, personal locator beacon, GPS, parachute flares, laser flare, body tether (to prevent separation from the boat in case of capsize), bear spray and bear bangers.


If the daily SPOT messages cease it does not necessarily mean I am having serious problems other than issues with SPOT. In any case, I have a comprehensive communications plan in place so if the OK messages stop PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COAST GUARD!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Communications plan

I have been working on a comprehensive communications plan with the family and one result has been the purchase of a second SPOT unit in case the first one goes belly-up. In a saltwater environment even supposedly waterproof electronic equipment can be damaged.

I catch the ferry to Port Hardy tomorrow. Final preparations only now.


  1. I keep my SPOT in an Aquapac GPS case and it seems to work through it with no problem. But redundancy is never a bad idea.

    And when I was up there last year I noticed it took quite a while for the SPOT to get a signal (often up to 15 minutes or more). Don't know if it is because of being so far north or what.

  2. Thanks for the heads up re the time it takes for SPOT to get a fix. We found a similar issue occasionally two years ago on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I recently found out that SPOT uses the GlobalStar system (in fact SPOT is a subsidiary of GlobalStar) and I know that GlobalStar sat phones are less reliable than Iridium, so it may be an issue with the satellites that they use.

  3. PS Thanks for your PaddleBC blog too - your campsites are all marked on my charts!

  4. Have a grand time and paddle safe. Going to be following the blog for sure. Hope the weather is good and the winds fair.