Each crew enjoyed a relaxing morning here in Port McNeill. Many went out to the local coffee shops for a hit of espresso and internet. Jack and Jan went out for their ritual morning jog/walk. The crew on Discovery made their preparations to leave. Garrett and Alessandra are flying home to San Diego and John and Gail are taking the boat out for a few nights in the Broughton Islands.
After we waved Discovery goodbye, everyone got busy doing their chores for the day. Provisions for our final week were bought, boats were restocked and filled with water, laundry was done, and Jordan and our new tech Brody got to work doing routine maintenance.
In the afternoon, the crews from Inception and Eldean joined us for an excursion over to Cormorant Island and the native village at Alert Bay. After a short ride on the BC Ferry we arrived in the small town. Apparently Alert Bay was a hot spot for commercial fishing and night life in the 60’s, though you’d never know it today. The sleepy town has struggled with the declining fishing industry in the area.
What is amazing about the quiet town is the well-preserved cultural history of the Namgis First Nation. A sacred burial ground near town is filled with beautifully carved totem poles both old and new commemorating the village chiefs and their families. The U’mista Cultural Center hosts an impressive collection of recovered ceremonial masks and robes. Many of these artifacts were taken from the people when European settlers banned Potlatch ceremonies in an effort to convert the native nations to Christianity. It was very moving to see this culture still alive, thriving and proud after learning about the hundreds of years of oppression they have been through.
As evening fell, a thick fog rolled in and the temperature dropped considerably. We went back to our boats and cozied in for the night. Grand Adventure was joined by two new crew members. Our time in Port McNeill has been productive and fun but we are excited to continue on our way in the morning!