Posts Tagged ‘Queen Charlotte City’


Haida (hI-duh) = the people
Gwaii (gw-eye) = islands
Haanas (hah-nus) = beautiful

Heck, Hecate Strait in the right conditions is a piece of cake! Using all the navigation and weather tools at our disposal, we timed our crossing of this infamous piece of water perfectly. We had no more than a SE 15 knot wind and about 1 meter (3 foot ) seas. We also crossed the shallow bar near the Queen Charlotte City entrance on Graham Island (like seven-feet-at-low-tide shallow!) at high tide, so never saw less than 21 feet under the keel. But it was cold; even the camel hair blanket I was wrapped in like a burrito and multiple layers of warm clothes didn’t stave off the chill.


A deer swimming across Ogden Channel.


Exploring Larsen Harbor before crossing Hecate Strait.


Half way across the strait. No land sighted in either direction.

Once we docked, we went to the visitor center and were greeted by a man who’s lived here for 96 years, Sergius; he moved to the islands when he was 4! How cool to be welcomed by a centenarian and his partner, Maevis, who’s 74 and a retired teacher. Both were as sharp as a tack and very interesting to talk with.


Serg, Maevis and Clay

We hung out in Queen Charlotte City until this afternoon taking care of chores again, like laundry and shopping for fresh produce. We ate dinner a couple nights at OV’s or the Ocean View Restaurant, Pizzeria and Pub, and per usual chatted with many people with interesting stories. Briana, the young bartender/university student from Ontario who’s working on the island this summer, and I became friends. We talked about all sorts of things while Clay and Chris played pool. I hope she’ll take us up on our offer and join us for a day or so when we come back north before crossing back over to the BC coast.


Me and Bri

Yesterday we rented a car and drove up island to the town of Old Masset where we toured its maritime museum and then to Naikoon Provincial Park where we hiked out to the beach and waved to Alaska. Chris is from Pittsburgh and a hockey fan, so dinner last night was at the Yakoun Pub where we watched his Penguins win the Stanley Cup. Okay, the guys watched the game and I knitted. Much more productive.

Now we’re in Sandspit, just across Maude Channel from Queen Charlotte City till early tomorrow when we’ll begin our journey into Gwaii Haanas, a national park reserve, marine conservation area and an UNESCO world heritage site. Entry into this special area requires taking an introductory 1.5-hour class and getting permits. We did both this morning. The presenter shared protocols for going ashore at specific places, safety tips, general “leave no trace” principles and asked that we practice “yah’guudang” or “respecting all living and non-living things and the connection between them.” I like that, but wonder, “shouldn’t we always practice respect toward others and nature all the time?” Seems like a given to me.

While we’re on the subject of respect, I need to vent. I am sick of the lack of respect I receive as a woman in this nautical world. People assume Clay makes all the decisions and is the sole operator of the boat; they don’t look to me as a leader and that pisses me off. The latest example is from today’s intro class. The presenter showed the “captains” in the group the areas which are closed temporarily in the park. I wasn’t included. Really?!?


I’m angry I feel I have to prove myself to gain even a little respect. If I had genitalia hanging between my legs, I wouldn’t have this issue, even if I did something stupid like run my boat aground in well-charted waters, like some MAN did here over the weekend. Granted, I don’t have the experience some other mariners do (including my husband), but I can’t help that; it comes with time on the water which I gain each day. What I do have, though, is intelligence plus common sense and a penchant to thoroughly process a situation, which lead me to make smart decisions. I’m not on this boat as a sparkly accessory; I’m an equal partner in an adventure of a lifetime with my life partner, and if I had to move this boat alone, I could, would and HAVE! Whew! I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point and my blood pressure’s a little lower.

Now, dinner’s waiting for me, cooked by the man of the boat—who’s often the galley slave—so I’ll sign off for now with a promise to post again next time we have connectivity. By then, we’ll have explored the amazing Gwaii Haanas, and will have many tales to tell and photos to share.


Gwaii Haanas, here we come!

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