With our water and fuel tanks topped, our pantries fully stocked, and our last emails sent and telephone calls complete off we set this morning for the southern islands of Haida Gwaii. A healthy swell rolled in southwards from Hecate Strait as we crossed the shallows that guard the mouth of Skidegate Inlet, which soon became a following sea as we turned south towards Cumshewa Head. Also accompanying us out of the harbor, and also bound for Gwaii Haanas is the small steel sloop Julo, which with her all-female crew of three French geophysicists has come from Singapore via Japan and the Aleutian Islands. They have been leapfrogging with the flotilla on and off all the way south from Prince William Sound. The people you meet in these out of the way places are part of what makes these trips so extraordinary. Adventurous spirits are drawn towards the edge of the map, and it is a pleasure to enjoy the easy comradery found between different people who have all come so far to be in such places.
The wind eased as we rounded the rock knob of Cumshewa Head and cruised westward towards Gordon Inlet, passing the sacred stream where the Haida believe that Creek Woman created the Eagle clan, one of the two clans to which all Haida people belong.
In Gordon Cove we a reunited with Ajax and Sarah Brooks who left yesterday in the afternoon to take the opportunity to spend another night at anchor. They tell us that they’ve seen bear along the shore and seal hunting salmon in the shallows. Greg, the trips naturalist leads a walk ashore through the forest in the afternoon, walking up abandoned logging roads past dappled alder groves and rocky creeks spanned by shattered log bridges that once carried the trucks that took so much timber out of these islands.
In the evening we all convene aboard four of the rafted boats to feast on yesterday’s catch. With salmon prepared six ways, fresh crab, a Hawaiian pork dish, and a host of excellent sides and desserts provided by the fleet, nobody went hungry.