We had a lovely, lazy lay day in Prince Rupert. While most of the crews attended to the practicalities of provisioning their boats for the wilderness trek to come, there was plenty of time for exploring, too. The crews of Patos and Arctic Star rented a car and had a fabulous visit at the cannery museum. Incredibly, some of the cannery equipment is still in running order and our crew got a full demonstration. Everybody was positively bubbling when they got back to the dock.
Several of us visited the museum of Northern British Columbia, just up the street from our docks. While the museum covered all phases of Prince Rupert’s development going back millennia, Marta and Doug came back talking about the puffin bills. Several ceremonial robes and aprons of First Nations people were displayed. These splendid garments were made to be worn while dancing, and they were made to make noise to the rhythm of the dance. Some had bits of deer hoof attached to short strings that would rattle when shaken. Others had thimbles or bits of metal that would jingle as the dancer moved. And some had 50 to 100 puffin bills attached to strings that would rattle as they clacked together.
So many questions…Why puffin bills? Did they like the sound? Did they have spiritual power? Were they so common they were easy to get or were they so rare they would show wealth? Or was it art? It would be fun to know these people better to get the answers, but the fleet is headed south again tomorrow. We hope to find some puffin bills of our own, still attached to the puffins, of course. The adventure continues!