Haida Gwaii

Expedition Notes: Haida Gwaii June 21-28, 2017

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Update from naturalist Sherry Kirkvold, aboard Swell
When you meet your group and find that they have just attended a pole raising in Masset, you know they have already shared a special experience. And their special experiences continued. We saw three bears on the way to Moresby Camp to meet Swell, and another shortly after setting out on our voyage.
At K’uuna we had a heart-felt connection with Haida Watchman Deedee as she shared her personal stories that taught us so much about her culture.
Detail from the Legacy Pole at Windy Bay. Photo by Sherry Kirkvold.
Detail from the Legacy Pole at Windy Bay. Photo by Sherry Kirkvold.

In Windy Bay we learned the story of the line drawn by the Haida against more logging in that area, and the raising of the Legacy Pole to commemorate the cooperation between the government and the Haida.

We explored an exceptionally low tide in Burnaby Narrows finding moon snails, sea urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers, crabs and more.
Sea lions, including pups (dark colour) in Gwaii Haanas. Photo from the trip.
Sea lions, including pups (dark colour) in Gwaii Haanas. Photo by Sherry Kirkvold.
Later in the day we watched little sea lion pups on a rookery, heard the lamb-like cries of the pups amidst the grumbling roars of the adults, and to make it an even fuller sensory experience, we even smelled them!
We had a memorable time spent among the ancient poles at SGang Gwaay. It was the only overcast weather of the trip, and added to the mystique of this celebrated site.
We were excited to hear that the thermal waters at Hot Springs Island were once again flowing and filling new pools built to replace those cut off by the 2012 earthquake. We returned to Swell to celebrate with wine and cheese on deck.
Walking among Gwaii Haanas' giant, ancient cedars. Photo by Sherry Kirkvold.
Walking among Gwaii Haanas’ giant, ancient cedars. Photo by Sherry Kirkvold.
Our last day began with explorations in the skiff and kayaks. We poked into various bays to see birds, river otters, harbour seals, and marine life. At T’aanuu we walked among the moss-laden remains of huge fallen cedar houses.
We are all grateful for our time spent in this wondrous part of the world and especially for the time we have spent with Haida people who have shared so generously with us.

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