Cruise company coming back to Haida Gwaii

  • May. 6, 2013 8:00 a.m.

by Sarah Peerless, Observer intern–Lindblad Expeditions, the US based cruise ship company associated with National Geographic, is coming back to Haida Gwaii after two decades of absence. The company is making a series of 14-night cruises that will begin in Seattle and go through Haida Gwaii and on to Alaska. Director of Expedition Development Marc Cattelletti says he’s wanted to have cruises through Haida Gwaii for years. Lindblad sent cruises here from 1989 to 1993, but since the forming of Gwaii Haanas, their average ship was too large (at 62 passengers) to be allowed into the protected waters. Now, the company has two ships that are small enough to visit Gwaii Haanas. The two, National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird, each carry just 22 people. Mr. Cattelletti says a maximum of 12 will be allowed on the shore at one time. Mr. Cattelletti says what first got him interested in sending the cruises again was the relationship Lindblad had with Old Massett carver and chief Jim Hart, who invited them to Haida Gwaii. Mr. Cattelletti reminds anyone concerned about cruises that the expedition ships are very mindful of wildlife and the natural habitat, and nothing will be disturbed. He said employees from previous trips could not stop talking about the beauty and wildlife on Haida Gwaii, and he wants guests to experience this area first-hand. The ships will be stopping in Old Massett, Ninstints, Skedans, and the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate. Two Haida interpreters and artisans will be onboard to give an insight into our region’s culture, plus a National Geographic photographer and a marine biologist. Lindblad operates many cruises each year, including to the Arctic, Antarctica and Peru, among other places.