Gwaii Haanas- Islands at the edge
Over the next few weeks I will be posting day-by-day posts reflecting on my experience joining the crew onboard Passing Cloud. Each post will go through the days from start to end to show what is it really like on a trip with Outer Shores.
Please note: This trip was differed from our usual expeditions. Our regular trips operate as a one-way itinerary through the park. We start or end with a float plane flight over the park cutting the travel distance in half. My expedition was a round trip through.
Pre-trip Planning and Arrival
Although the exoedition doesn’t officially start until the guests step onboard, my trip started a little earlier. Before that moment there is a lot of anticipation and planning that has to happen. First there was the packing, going over what I would need for days on end, questioning whether I was prepared, and then there was the travel to get to Sandspit! It started with a 5:00 am wake up to catch the ferry over to Vancouver, followed by my flight to Sandspit. I was so excited I could barely think straight the entire time. I was finally going back to Haida Gwaii. I had previously spent two summers working at a fishing lodge in northern Haida Gwaii, but I knew that this would be different. I was so excited to finally experience the Haida culture, explore the different islands and see the sites of Gwaii Haanas. I had only dreamt of Swaang Gwaii, Burnaby Narrows, and Windy Bay, and now I would visit them!
I flew in with our chef, Geoff Van Hassel. Once we arrived in Sandspit, we had an over night at a local guesthouse. Early the next morning once we had collected all of our supplies we loaded up the van and it was time to take the drive out to Morseby Camp, where the ship was moored. Laurel and her husband Dan handle our on the ground operations over in Sandspit. This morning it was Laurel who would be driving us. She picked us up with a smile on her face and endless stories about her many years living on Haida Gwaii.
During the hour or so drive down the logging road we were very lucky: we saw two Haida Gwaii black bears! The bears of Haida Gwaii are a distinct subspecies. While most animals living on the Islands are smaller than their mainland relatives, the black bears are amongst the biggest. They have large pronounced jaws, formed from years of foraging along the coastline. In the 6 months I had previously spent here, I never saw a single bear so I was very excited when the first bear stopped right in the middle of the road and stared at us.
As we pulled into Moresby Camp there she was. Passing Cloud sat anchored in the still waters, with a light mist hanging overhead. We unloaded the van in perfect timing to meet the group of guests whose trip had just come to an end. This was a particularly exciting moment for me. Getting to meet some of the people that I had been speaking with over the phone for the past several months was a lovely experience I rarely get. Not only was I able to help them prepare for their trip, I was now able to hear about their incredible journey in person. As we said our hellos and introductions, quickly followed by good byes they got back in the van with Laurel, and we were ready to get onboard! We got in the zodiac and made our way to Passing Cloud and hoped up on deck.
That evening we got settled in and prepared for the next morning when the guests would arrive and the expedition would actually begin!
Until next week,