Where are the Salmon?
Dear Mr. Harper, It sounds like we’ve been lucky so far with the whale sightings we’ve experienced. And to be honest, we haven’t seen too much cetacean activity in inside waters over the past few weeks. This begs the question… where are the whales? And naturally, that question leads to another… where are the salmon? There is usually much more whale activity, particularly Killer Whale...
A soggy Spring
Dear Mr Harper, We spoke to you a few weeks ago about Kiel, the spring harvesting camp of the Gitga’at people. The primary activity at Kiel is picking seaweed from the rocks, loading the harvest into old potato and rice sacks, hauling them back to camp and laying the seaweed out on the flat rocks on the point to dry. For this reason, May is called ha’li’ làx là’àsk –the month of gathering...
Dear Mr. Harper This evening we watched a group of children in Shearwater, Denny Island, settle a dispute over portions of ice cream with a good old fashion pillow fight. The big kids dove first and snatched up the large awkwardly shaped couch cushions. The younger kids grabbed throw pillows, aptly named for their ability to strike the opponent from across the room. As I watched this innocent...
A magical playground
Dear Mr Harper, It’s Monday morning, we’re up early and are making our way back to Bella Bella after a weekend of exploring the Goose Group. The sun is shining and we feel its’ warmth for the first time in a while. I’d like to say summer is here, but don’t want to jinx it… We are crossing Queen Sound and notice some mayhem in the distance. Dolphins, hundreds of them are playing and dancing...
Every time man says he can build something, or control a potential disaster to...– Member, Gitga’at First Nation
Pieces of Japan
Saturday, June 23rd Dear Mr Harper, We’ve reached the Goose Group. A group of little islands on the outside, the wild west side, of the central coast. The sandy beaches are extensive and we set off to exploring them. It isn’t long before we come across our first, then our second, third and fourth… piece of Japan. Most of the tsunami debris washed up here is plastic littering the shores,...
I just came back from the Enbridge meeting and I felt like sitting there,...– Raven Clan member, Gtiga’at First Nation
In this to win this
Dear Mr Harper, We’ve spent the last couple of days in a shipyard on the Central coast of BC—cleaning, sanding, painting—how glorious… With all of the grass and barnacles cleared off of Skomalt’s bottom, we’re just about ready to make the three day commute back to Hartley Bay. The shipyard is a busy and happening place. They sling up and hoist boat after boat out of the water for regular...
If your food sources were decimated, would you have any reason to celebrate? ...– Eagle Clan Elder, Gitga’at First Nation
Dear Mr. Harper, I walked into the Koeye Café in Bella Bella for a meeting just before lunchtime today. It’s a homey, eclectic café, founded by the Qqs project society and run as a non-profit enterprise to facilitate community involvement, to promote Heiltsuk culture and to employ local youth. Books of all types and sizes line the walls, as the café doubles as a lending library and meeting...
A species at risk
Dear Mr. Harper, A few days ago we were traveling through the waters just outside of Hartley Bay when we came upon a pod of Orca whales. This is the second time we’ve seen this pod, a mum, two calfs and an escort. But, this is the only pod we’ve seen yet this season. The orca are late. As are the salmon. It’s mid June and usually by now, the salmon and hence the orca, are abundant in the...
A force not to be reckoned with
Dear Mr. Harper, Not every day is sunshine and wildlife in the Great Bear Rainforest. Quite the opposite really… it is named rainforest for a reason after all! And with the rains often come heavy winds and large swells. Yes, the weather is somewhat predictable on a macro scale, but how that plays out in each twisting and winding narrow channel of the Great Bear Rainforest is very...
A grizzly encounter
Dear Prime Minister Harper, We no longer need an alarm to wake up at sunrise. The excitement and anticipation of another day in the Great Bear Rainforest is enough to tease us out of the cozy v-berth and out into the cold, dewy morning. We are anchored in Khutze inlet, a popular destination for the many boaters that explore the inside passage. Somehow, we are lucky enough to have the entire...
A Woman to Know
Dear Prime Minister Harper, Id like to take this opportunity to introduce Helen Clifton, an elder, matriarch and someone many, including myself, have come to know as Granny. We stopped by her home in Hartley Bay before heading south to explore the inside passage and do a bit of work on the boat. After spending a few days with Helen down at Kiel we were curious to hear how she was settling back...
What would they say?
Dear Mr Harper, Have you ever fallen asleep to the sound of humpback and fin whales resting nearby? The other night, we watched the sun set over Campania Island as we nestled into our anchorage at Taylor Bight. Two fin whales were blowing to the south, and humpbacks were foraging to the west—all within sight from the deck of the boat. Not an hour before, just as we pulled into Taylor Bight,...
A view of paradise
Dear Prime Minister Harper, The sunshine has chosen to stick around. Without a cloud in the sky, we’ve picked this day to hike X Mountain, on the south-eastern shore of Campania Island. The mountain is named such for the pattern drawn on its face by patches of dense foliage, which cut through the granite in the shape of the letter X. We anchor Skomalt, our 31-foot sailboat (which also...
Food is for sharing
Dear Prime Minister Harper, The sun is shining in the Great Bear Rainforest for the first time in a week. The ocean glistens and the forests glow; the children squeal with delight as they splash on the white shell beach. Us grownups watch over them as we patiently await the evening’s feast. We are in Kiel, the spring harvesting camp of the Gitga’at First Nation. Every year in early May,...
A place to call home
Dear Prime Minister Harper, Since the day the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project was proposed, we have known that the risks and associated consequences for communities and ecosystems in Northern British Columbia are too great. Mike and I have both spent time on the North coast of British Columbia over the years, but this year, we have dedicated four months to exploring some of the...