Between 1911 and 1941 the lodge site was the home of the Naden Harbour Whaling Station. The Pacific Whaling Company built two stations in Haida Gwaii, the second was located at Rose Harbour on Kungit Island at the very southern tip. Whales were hunted during the summer months when whalers went out in coal-fired, steam-powered, steel-hulled ships to the deep waters off the island’s west coast.
Between 1911 and 1941 over 3000 whales were taken at Naden Harbour station plus another 5000 in Rose Harbour. The valuable oil was used for lamp oil, candles, machine lubricant, cosmetics, explosives, glue, insulin, margarine & soap. Actually much of the whale was used in one form or another – the bones were ground and dried into bone meal and the rest was processed into fertilizer. The stations finally shut down in 1941 and were dismantled by 1943. The war made work at sea impossible and demand for whale products had dwindled as the petroleum industry emerged.
Today we are very fortunate to see whales regularly on our fishing grounds. Humpbacks migrate here after wintering in Hawaii to feed in the food-rich waters off Haida Gwaii and Alaska. Grey whales also migrate here from Baja California, mainly along the island’s east coast north toward Alaska. Orca pass through the area all year ‘round and during the summer we regularly see them, sometimes in small groups of 3-6 transients combing the shoreline in search of seals or in large groups of 20-30 residents moving further offshore, feeding on salmon. Occasionally we’ll see other species like Minke whales, Dall Porpoise and Pacific White-sided Dolphins. Encounters with any of these animals are truly awe inspiring and certainly get us all excited whenever they show up!