Hello from Haida Gwaii…That’s the Canadian west coast Native name for what used to be called the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Haida Gwaii – a truly magical place, with peaked green, forested cones rising straight up from the lapping waters, like a northern sequel to Avatar.
Our cove comes out of a fantasy film. Tucked into a long fiord, one takes a right angle turn around a sentry island to enter the calm waters of small Kano Bay. Surrounded by peaks, the bay is a perfect hideout for the Salmon Seeker, our home for the week.
Each early morning we jump on a small Boston Whaler with our young guide Mike. He turns the corner into the rough water of the fiord and heads out toward the ocean. We, in our slick yellow rain suits, stand on either side of him like double mast-heads undulating with the waves.
Not for us being hammered on the back passenger seat – no we stand up on our toes, heads into the wind, then down into squats to absorb the pounding. From the top of each swelling to every plunging dip – it’s the only way to endure and enjoy the 40m/h trip out to the fishing grounds. We glance at each other across the boat, smiles plastered on our faces in the sun and wind.
Released into the deep were the over limit lucky ones, the Skate, the granddaddy Ling Cod, and the funny black bombers.
Well, a couple bombers had to be shared with the eagles. So, Mike calls out to them in front of “Tree Island” with a personal whistle. A matched pair comes soaring out to our boat for his gift thrown into the air, a perfect tribute to their homeland.
Two days ago, excitement came up in the middle of the night in a gale-sized storm reaching even into our hidden cove. The anchor dragged the floor of our small fishbowl and all engines started up to keep us centered in the middle. Diesel billowed through the crack in our porthole window, clanging sounds of chains and shouts of the working crew filtered into our bunks. After troubled sleep, we could not go out fishing until the afternoon of the next day.
Then this morning, we see on the Net an earthquake occurred due west off the coast of Alaska among the Aleutian Islands. A tsunami warning! What?! When? Is it on its way to shoot us out of our little bay? But wait, from 7.1 rating downgraded to a 6.8 and then comes the cancelled warning. We are saved, from a quirk of fate in 10 minutes straight, so we finish our coffee and stock trading!
Now we make ready for take off in the upcoming helicopter. We’ll flit over to Sandspit and then fly to Vancouver. We just escape three coming days of gale force winds. Six-meter seas are scheduled to arrive once we leave.
Even now, the presence of spirit swirling around the forested cones rising up from the blue waters beckons us to return.
- 8 Things You Might Not Have Known About Hadia Gwaii (everything-everywhere.com)
- Haida Gwaii in Green (burntembers.wordpress.com)