Log #61h Gwaii Haanas Part 2

August 22, 2016 in Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Log #61h Gwaii Haanas Part 2

Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Aug. 22, 2016


Hi Folks,

We have had a lazy day here in Fulford Harbour, allowing me to get this log ready. It takes us with some dramatic pictures to some fantastic old growth forest, and shows the construction of Haida longhouses, and a “new” memorial pole, the first raised in Gwaii Haanas in over 130 years.This pleasant little community has a few Bed and Breakfast lodgings, a government dock with a regular ferry service going to Sidney, a couple of restaurants, grocery store, post office, artist studios, and several boutiques featuring rustic, rural, back-to-the-earth apparel and knick-knacks.

All the best,




Log #61h Gwaii Haanas Part 2
Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Aug. 22, 2016

We were weathered in at Kosten Inlet for three days, with strong winds howling down the inlet and rainy weather, at least filling our water tanks. It is a well protected inlet, the bay we were in at the inner end small enough to limit the fetch of the winds and waves to give us a secure anchorage for the stormy weather. The barometer dropped from 1021 millibars to 1005 millibars overnight, but inched up to 1017 millibars by the time we left the third day, July 3. We hauled the prawn trap on our way out, with no prawns whatever in it. Oh well …!

We wended our way out from the protection of the archipelago islands 15 miles  around the south of Lyell Island to anchor in Windy Bay, exposed to the open waters of the 75 mile wide Hecate Strait. (See the chartlet at the end of this log.) We dinghied ashore for the afternoon to the Haida site of Hik’yah GawGa where the Haida protested logging on Lyell Island in 1985. They were successful, thus protecting the old growth temperate rainforest of western hemlock, western red cedar, and Sitka spruce, many of which are hundreds of  years old. In August 2013 visitors, volunteers, Haida and Parks Canada staff raised a legacy pole to commemorate the 20th anniversary of cooperative management between the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation. This was the first monumental pole raised in Gwaii Haanas in 130 years.
61H-1 61H-2

Again we found the watchmen very friendly and informative, explaining the symbols of this new pole, topped by the symbol of the eagle clan and the three traditional watchmen.

We had a chance to look inside the community longhouse (pictured below) which was used to house the volunteers for the 1985 protests, and is now used for visiting groups. Note the construction of the roof as there is no large central support pole, characteristic of earlier longhouses. It basically allowed a central opening for light to enter and smoke to escape.  Sleeping accommodations for families would be around the walls, and the central area was used for cooking, eating and general activities.


Inside the community longhouse

The watchmen’s cabin has a similar six pole construction with only a smaller central pole supporting the roof and permitting central openings.
Watchmen’s cabin

We were ferried across a small inlet to go through trails in the old growth forest. We posed beneath a Sitka spuce estimated to be over 900 years old.

Wandering through this primeval forest dominated by such ancient trees gives one a sense of awe.

61H-7 61H-8

Loden-green thick spongy moss carpeted the undergrowth ground cover, absorbing sound to create an ethereal tranquility causing us to pause and listen to the silence.
61H-9 61H-10


Judy on the trail

We did not want to stay overnight in this aptly named Windy Bay, and so we motored 7 miles to anchor in the better protected Ramsey Passage Cove (52 34.329N, 131 23.917W) across from Hotspring Island (Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay), where we dinghied over to soak in the hot spring next day.