G̱andll K’in Gwaay.yaay (Hotspring Island)

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site

How to Pronounce G̱andll K’in Gwaay.yaay in Xaayda Kil

Visit for a soak, stay for the view. The hot pools experience on Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay (Hotspring Island) is back!

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.

Health Information Notice

There are inherent risks associated with the hot pools that are important for you to consider before deciding whether or not to enter them. If you choose to use these pools, please be aware that you do so at your own risk.

Hot pools encourage bacterial growth that can pose health threats. Tests have shown that the pool waters contain elevated levels of bacteria that may cause eye, ear and skin infections.

  • Persons who have sensitive skin or are subject to rashes and/or ear infections are advised against using the bath house or the hot pools. The use of earplugs may reduce the possibility of ear infections.
  • The warm water also acts as a good medium for growth of bacteria brought in by persons with lesions, cuts and/or open sores. Persons with such skin injuries are requested to refrain from using these waters for the protection of themselves and other bathers.
  • Contact lens wearers may be at increased risk of eye infections. It is strongly recommended that these individuals remove their lenses before showering or using the pools.

Prolonged immersion in hot water can lead to heat-related illnesses which, in their most severe form, can be fatal.

  • Studies have shown that miscarriages are more common in women who use hot tubs in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. To avoid any chance of fetal distress, all pregnant women are advised against using the hot pools.
  • Children are more susceptible to overheating than adults. It is recommended that toddlers and infants do not use the pools. For older children, do not allow them to stay in the hot pools for more than five minutes at a time. Continuous parental supervision is recommended.
  • Immersion in the hot pools can put added stress on the heart. Individuals with heart conditions are strongly advised against using the hot pools.
  • Consumption of alcohol or drugs can cause drowsiness and dehydration, and can also lower the body’s resistance to the effects of overheating. Do not use the hot pools if you have consumed alcohol or are using drugs that could affect your body’s ability to properly thermoregulate.

Other pre-existing health conditions can increase your risk of illness or injury in the hot pools. If in doubt, consult your doctor prior to using these hot pools. If you require clarification on any of this information, please speak with the Haida Gwaii Watchmen.

What's new at Hotspring Island?

Two of the new pools on Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay

In May 2017, the first Haida Gwaii Watchmen on shift at Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay dipped into the three newly-rebuilt hot pools.

Their reviews so far: a divine hot soak with sweeping views.

The three pools were built thanks to a joint, 2016 funding announcement between the Haida Nation and Government of Canada and the elbow work of Gwaii Haanas asset management crew.

The three new hot pools delighted visitors from near and far, many happy to experience the hot pools once again.

The hot pools drained in October 2012 after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Haida Gwaii. Hot water has been slowly returning to the area ever since and we look forward to once again offering natural hot water bathing.

The views south across Juan Perez Sound from the pools are amazing, with the odd spout(s) surfacing nearby from visiting pods of Sgaana (killer whales) or glimpses of globally rare seabirds such as Cassin’s Auklets or Ancient Murrlets flying or swimming by.

The Hotsprings are back!

Mystery source

The view from one of the pools at Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay

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 long-eared bat

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 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

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