Gwaii Haanas Islands on the Edge: Day 6

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Today was a jam-packed day! We spent the morning at Burnaby Narrows were Captain Russ and First Mate Joel introduced us to some of the marine life below including kelp crabs, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, bat stars and much more. Burnaby, or Dolomite Narrows is a channel of water, which is only 50 m wide. A constant stream of seawater is pushed through creating one of the highest levels of biomass in the world! As we sat in the zodiac with Joel interpreting, Russ donned a wetsuit and floated below us collecting specimen to show us. We spent a few hours just floating through the narrows learning about all the different creatures. Although I do not have a formal science background like the rest of the crew, I am absolutely fascinated about anything that comes from the ocean so I was in my glory here!

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After the narrows we made our way towards Matheson Inlet for a walk along the river. As the tide went out in the inlet there was a large stretch of swampy grass to make our way through before we reached the forest edge that lined the river. This spot was home to a special archeological feature. Along the river were remnants of ancient fish weirs that have been carbon dated to over 1000 years old! This is an excellent example of how far back the Haida culture goes. Along our walk it was a struggle to see who could make it across the river without getting a boot wet. In the end only one or two clever guests managed to stay dry!

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As we left the inlet we made our way towards the final stop of the day, Hot Springs Cove. This is a site that is often over looked now that the hot springs have dried up. For me though, and I think much of the group, this stop was one of the most profound. It was a quiet, personal and intimate visit. Elsie, one of the watchmen who is a traditionally trained master weaver, showed us her work and demonstrated who it was done. Then she sang for us. Her songs were beautiful, joined by the steady beat of her traditional drum. Like all of the watchmen before her pride for her heritage was so beautiful to see. It was hard to not be completely captivated as she spoke. After it was time to leave we went for a walk to see the newly started “hot puddles” and have our feet a soak in the hot water on the shore before heading back onboard Passing Cloud.

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