Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 3 – Around Skidegate

This is a picture of our room so that we will remember. We are staying at this place again on the night before we leave.


As we had breakfast, we talked to the woman who was Jags wife and the co-owner and cook.


She had heard about our rough crossing and brought out her horror story. Her young daughter’s sports team was making the crossing back from Prince Rupert. A cocky new captain thought that he could out race a coming storm, against the advice of his first mate. They didn’t. They got caught out in the middle of the Hecate Straight in hurricane force winds with 7 meter waves (ours were around 2 meter). They had no choice but to face into the waves and could not turn around because that would mean having them come at the ship broadside which would probably have rolled it. So they sat out there for 10 hours making virtually no progress with furniture and anything not tied down being thrown all over the place.

When things calmed down enough they eventually returned to Prince Rupert. Three of the girls on the team were so upset that they had to be given tranquilizers. Strangely, the owner’s daughter who normally gets easily sea sick, didn’t on this trip. They think it was because there was not the slow rolling that usually gets to people. The daughter said it was more like being on a roller coaster.

When they did get back to Rupert, BC Ferries would would not even pay for everyone’s overnight stay. Their only offer was not to charge them for the ferry ride home the next day. They even tried to take away the cell phone of one of the girls that had videoed the scene inside the ship.

For some reason they changed their minds once a CBC reporter interviewed the girls. They paid for all the hotel bills and flew everyone back to Masset on Haida Gwaii the next day.

Wow! I think she wins the worst crossing award. Needless to say the captain was immediately fired.


I had read that everyone must go to the Haida Gwaii museum which is just down the road from our lodging. We are really not that fond of museums especially ones that don’t allow any photography. We did go into the museum section and I remember seeing a lot of interesting masks and artefacts but none of it will stick me.

There was a miniature Haida village that you could photograph but it was in a glass case with lots of reflections.




Strangely, This totem in the lobby had cables in the back that would make the wings move back and forth.


At 11 o’clock there was a guided tour of the 6 outdoor totems, which explained the meaning of each section of the poles.



Two beavers from different poles.

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The three watchmen. The bands on the hats signify now many potlatches the chief, that the pole is honouring, has hosted.

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Next we went into the carving shed where they had just finished this pole. It is to be erected in Skidegate this month.




I think they are trying to decide how to preserve this older pole. It was threatening to fall down so it was brought here.


There were several canoes on display as well. Each one is also carved out of a single piece of wood.


The owner of the B&B had recommended a nearby short hike called the Spirit Lake Trail that started in Skidegate. It is a 4 mile lollipop that has an out and back section with a loop around the lake at the end. The out and back section was a steady climb up about 400 feet in elevation. We have had too long a break and were quickly out of breath,

When we got to the lake, the spirits must be from all the dead trees.


Going around he lake there we a few ups and downs with boardwalks over the marshy sections.





Lots of dead trees.




Back at the car, it was almost 2 pm and we had not had lunch. We went into Queen Charlotte to one of the few restaurants that was open on Sunday afternoon and had some chow mien.

We had to get over to Moresby Island, since our tour down to Gwaii Hanaas National Park starts from there tomorrow so we went and lined up for the ferry. The crossing only takes about calm 20 minutes and we were soon driving to the village of Sandspit to find our hotel for the night.

We arrived at this building that the maps said should be the Sandspit Inn but there was no sign on the place at all.


We asked someone coming out of the door just to make sure. Later we did see a sign but it was down the road and pointing the wrong way.


I guess they always have a vacancy.

It is kind of a strange place. The person coming out the door said that there is no one on the desk so that you had to go find the bartender to check you in. After we did get checked in, she told us that the restaurant would be closed tomorrow morning but that they have a small guest kitchen that has some bread and cereal and possibly other things (she wasn’t sure) and we could just help our selves. At least the place is cheap.

We did have dinner here but before that we went for walk out the gravel beach to the end of the spit.

Looking back towards the village.


Heading out towards the end.




By now I had had enough for the day so I sat down on a log to wait for her. I only expected her to go a short way and turn around. Nope. She was in automatic checkout the rocks and shells mode.



And going


And going


And gone.


I waited for awhile before heading off to see where she was. She said she wanted to see the sand bar right at the end of the spit.



On our walk back several of these birds would tweet away at us and then as we got close they would fly about 30 feet down the beach in our path. Repeat until we were off the beach (we went about 1 km down).


Tomorrow morning we start our 4 day zodiac trip into Gwaii Hanaas National Park with a company called Moresby Explorers. We will be staying at two lodges they have in the park. No internet and probably no electricity. So no blogs post until we get back and then I will probably have a mountain of photos to edit so it may take a while to get caught up.

Here is the company website describing the trip.

We have been looking forward to this for a long time.

See you in a few days.

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