What a superb day! Most of the party boarded Deception at 9 AM for a ride over to Alert Bay. The run was only about 45 minutes, just time for a cup of coffee and a fashion show. Captain Brian modeled all the attractive NW Explorations logo wear for sale and then gracefully landed the boat on the public float.
The group strolled through town and was impressed with how prosperous it looked. Gardens were in full bloom with flowers everywhere. A boardwalk ran almost the entire length of the harbor, punctuated by five lovely beach overlooks decorated with the family crests of the five major families in the area. There were stained glass ocra windows, totem poles in front yards, and friendly people everywhere. Alert Bay left a favorable impression even before we reached the U’mista Cultural Center.
The cultural center was magnificent. It has one of the very best collections of northwest indigenous art anywhere in the world. And if the masks, robes, rattles, coppers, and all the other amazing artifacts weren’t enough, our tour guide was the director of the center. Sarah brought not only the history of the Nimpkish people alive, but their present, too. Doreen and Ryan were styling in some of the masks in the “touchable” part of the display.
After the tour the group was served a seafood buffet lunch. Our hostess caught and prepared all the fish, clams, and prawns herself. The most unusual dish was fried candlefish. The species is so high in oil content that when dried, it will burn like a candle. Andy and Jordan voted the clam cakes best. Bob and Cathy from Patos touted the teriyaki salmon. The lemon desert pastry wasn’t strictly a traditional native dish, but super-yummy anyway!
Not to be outdone, Ed and Rick from Discovery headed in the other direction. They headed out on a fishing charter and brought back a couple of nice king, or as they are known in Canada, spring salmon. It is going to be tough to leave this place tomorrow!