Gulf Islands

Expedition Notes: Salish Sea with Canadian Geographic, April 15-19, 2017

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Maple Leaf Adventure’s 2017 season has commenced with a special kick off this year in to mark Canada’s 150th birthday, and to recognize the 15,000 years of Coast Salish history here as well. Swell, crew and guests explored the Salish Sea with a Canadian Geographic Ambassador, local Penelakut First Nation’s elder Florence James and naturalist and islands resident Briony Penn.

Highlights of the expedition included a trip to East Point’s Fog Alarm Building, where restorer and interpreter Richard Blagborne gave guests and crew an in-depth tour and history lesson of coastal sailing ships attempting to navigate the tricky turn there. The wildflowers were blooming along the shorelines, and they spent time at Boiling Reef, Saturna Island, where they witnessed an abundance of sea and bird life thanks to the tidal upwelling. Spring is an abundant time of seabirds in the islands, and this year is no exception — including 1,000+ bonapart gulls flooding Active Pass as the Swell transited through. Marine mammals were another highlight.

Florence, who was trained since the age of 6 to be a keeper of her people’s history and a storyteller, provided incredible Salish knowledge and stories of the area. The guests referred to her as a ‘walking, talking museum’, full of knowledge and wisdom from millennia of passed-down stories and place names. As a bonus, at a midden-site, Florence showcased a few of her own personal artifacts (items like arrowheads) that she had brought with her.

Swell has arrived back in Sidney today and is now gearing up for her next trip. Thank you to all who made our Salish Sea with Canadian Geographic trip so special.


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