A Road Story – Chapter Thirteen – Islands of the People

At long last I can finish these chapters about our trip to Haida Gwaii. It has been nearly a year since I last wrote about our journey and, truth be told, I did not know how to write about this magical, sad, inspiring and unique part of the world. It truly was a bittersweet experience and after all this time I think I can put it into perspective.

I will not comment on the relations between the Haida and the settlers in British Columbia and the British Colony Vancouver Island in the 1880’s and the actions of Governor Douglas but I think it is worthwhile doing some reading to learn of the Haida perspective. As I said, it is a sad and bittersweet legacy. This was a revelation for me and when I first heard this version of the Haida history from one of the local artists (more on this later) it gave me pause and was the main reason it has taken me so long to finish these chapters.

Unlike most of Canada, Haida Gwaii escaped glaciation during the last ice age. When the glaciers receded on the mainland the flat grassy plain separating the present islands from the mainland was flooded and Hecate Strait was created. There are about 150 islands in the archipelago.

We departed from Prince Rupert aboard the BC Ferry Northern Adventure. This converted Greek Island party boat is not well suited to crossing one of the most unpredictable and dangerous bodies of water in the world. Fortunately the weather cooperated and the passage was relatively uneventful. There are times during the winter months when the sailing cannot be made.

After about 6 hours we arrived at the Skidegate terminal on the south end of Graham Island.

We were spending the night in Queen Charlotte City and that evening we ate fresh halibut and crab at the Ocean View Restaurant. It was an early night as the following morning we were to catch the 7 a.m. ferry from Skidegate to Alliford Bay where we would be met by Moresby Explorers for our day-long boat tour.

About leftCoast Reflections

Peter Buxton - husband, father, photographer, skier, kayaker and sometime cook.
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