From the Office to the Ocean
Do you ever have those moments when you stop and think to yourself, “Wow, I love my job!”? I often reflect on my position here in the Outer Shores office where I handle all of the guest communications and I think about how lucky I am to be part of such a phenomenal company. Whether it’s the incredible moments, like the morning we crossed the Hecate Strait on delivery from Haida Gwaii to Port McNeill and came across a feeding frenzy of sea birds, humpbacks, minke, and fin whales, or the moments when Russell tells me about a great new idea he has to further complement Outer Shores’ sustainability performance, it fills me with pride to be a part of everything we do.
This July I was lucky enough to step out of the Outer Shores office and onboard Passing Cloud to join an expedition through Haida Gwaii and experience first-hand the full Outer Shores Expeditions guest experience. Keep reading for a few of my trip highlights, and stay tuned here for a day-by-day trip log over the course of the next few weeks.
My expedition in Gwaii Haanas was a trip I had been looking forward to all year long. I first stepped onboard Passing Cloud in 2013 and instantly fell in love. She is such a beautiful ship, and as we sailed away from the dock I couldn’t imagine a better way to explore the coast. While I grew up on the ocean, I had never experienced it quite like this before. There is something about the silence of sailing, that feeling of charging through the water without a motor, that can’t quite be described.
At the end of that first week I knew I had to find a way to get back on board, and now here we are, two years later, and I am a full time member of the team and back on deck. As soon as I stepped onto Passing Cloud, which was anchored in Morseby Camp, I was giddy with excitement for the days ahead. From the moment the guests joined us onboard the crew delivered an exceptional experience, and it goes way beyond top notch hospitality. Their knowledge of and passion for our coastal wildlife, culture, and history is mind blowing. Their sense of stewardship is so apparent it is nearly impossible to not leave changed in some way. When you put together a crew like Russ has, on a beautiful ship like Passing Cloud, it simply takes your breath away.
Gwaii Haanas provided the ultimate backdrop for my trip. It was a place I had dreamed about visiting for years, and although I had spent some time in Haida Gwaii before, it was nothing like this. Gwaii Haanas is a magical place. From the protected bays nestled on the edge of old growth forests, to the wild islands on the west side, to the Haida village sites showcased with pride from the Haida Watchmen and women, it is a place like no other. This remote archipelago placed on what feels like the edge of the world is littered with little pieces of history. As we passed shores that have never witnessed modern logging, in what feels like untouched wilderness, we would suddenly see a culturally modified tree, or wooden stakes remaining from ancient fish weirs along the riverbank. There is evidence of the Haida nearly everywhere you look; you just need to know what you are looking for.
It is all of these little moments – quiet walks through the forest, knowledgeably narrated by Russell, or sitting on the aft deck sipping on fresh brewed coffee while searching for wildlife – that defined the trip for me. As I walked away from the ship at the end of the expedition and headed back towards the office, I was sad to say goodbye to Passing Cloud, but also filled with excitement to get back in the office and figure out how I was going to tell everyone I knew about what I’d just experienced.