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Sea Voyage 2017

The goal this year is to travel Haida Gwaii's misty islets. Haida Gwaii, "the island of the people", was known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. This is a "right of passage" for those of us who travel the Salish Sea. It is difficult to get here because you have to cross the Hecate Strait - some of the most treacherous water on the coast. The Hecate is nasty because it is shallow. When wind and wave meet on opposing tides, the water gets nasty. The shortest spot to cross is 62 miles between the north end of Banks Island and Haida Gwaii. There you can wait in Larson Harbor for calm weather. When the North Hecate buoy showed less than a foot of swell and 4 knots of wind we started our crossing at 4 AM. Whales and Storm petrels guided our way. There is much to explore. We rented a car for a couple of days on the north island of Graham. There we hiked Tow Hill and visited the totem poles of Old Masset. Sadly we saw the legendary Golden Spruce laying on its side on the Yakoun River. We will visit Gwaii Haanas Park. The Park managed by the Haida people covers the entire south area of Haida Gwaii. The Park was created to protect some of the last stands of Old Growth forest and some of the archeological sites of the Haida Nation. There are many old town sites out on points of land with remnants of Long Houses and some totem poles left standing. One must get a permit to visit these Watchmen Sites. We hope to go as far as Anthony Island now called SGang Gwaay. Before "contact" with the white man in the 1700s, the Haida Nation was probably over 10,000 strong. After "contact" their numbers were reduced to less than 1000. Now there are around 2.500 people. Oral history tells they have inhabited these islands for over 17,000 years.