morning finds us at Kitimaat Mission picking up our Haaisla guides for
the trip down the Gardener Channel.
We are bound for the estuary of the
we make our way down the Gardener Channel between towering mountains,
we watch a short video titled The
Return of Gpsgolox Pole.
This film explains the significance of the totem
pole and describes the efforts of the Haaisla people to retrieve it
from a museum in
after-dinner entertainment is a particularly sobering video examining
the state of the worlds water supply.
I am suddenly aware of how extremely lucky we are in
creeps in, the fog lifts and we awake to find ourselves gliding down the
Ursula Channel toward
As an ecotourism initiative, the Gitgaat people who live at the south end of the Douglas Channel, built bear viewing platforms. They were careful to locate the platforms high up and at a good distance from the main fishing area in order to minimize the negative impact of human visitors. We are joined by Marvin Cooper who will be our guide to the platforms. While we wait our turn, we are entertained by humpback whales feeding along the channel, particularly a small whale feeding in close to shore. Soon, it is our turn and we board the DIBs and head for shore. We tramp along an old logging trail and then descend steep, rocky, slippery slopes to the viewing area. We climb 2x4 ladders to the tarp-covered platforms and sit quietly watching the jumping salmon in the stream. Soon a small black bear makes his way up the stream. It is obvious that he is too young to have the hang of this fish-catching business yet but he entertains us with his enthusiastic efforts. He moves off into the bush rapidly as a slightly larger bear comes splashing down the stream bed. This one doesnt have any success either and eventually we make our way back down the logging trail and return to the boat.
The boat moves on through the channel as Laurel Brewster, a forester with the Sierra Club, admitting that she is somewhat nervous because David Suzuki is in the audience, delivers a very interesting presentation on the structure and function of a living forest. She is a very bright and intelligent young woman and I thoroughly enjoy her presentation. Trees are plants after all! Dr. Suzuki later states that he admires her for the stand she has taken on forestry despite having been trained and educated by traditionalists and adds that we will see more changes in how forests are managed as more and more women become part of the industry.
We take a temporary time out as we learn that Marvin Cooper and his crew have sighted a Spirit Bear and, as we excitedly head for the upper decks with binoculars and cameras, the boat changes course and moves in closer. I am one of a fortunate few who manage a fleeting glimpse of this elusive creature through my binoculars as it turns and makes its way into the underbrush.
The history of the Spirit Bear is one of the topics covered this afternoon by Colleen McCrory. I have been fascinated by these unique animals since reading an article in Canadian Geographic Magazine and I hang on every word. Colleens brother is a well-know BC bear biologist and an expert on grizzly bears. Colleen shares with us a number of his experiences and ventures including the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary and other Great Bear Rainforest projects.
Our days adventures wind up with a landing in the pouring rain near Kitkiata Inlet where Marvin introduces us to the ancient petroglyphs of his people. The shoreline is rough, rocky and slippery and many of the rock chunks that form the shoreline bear carvings that are hundreds of years old. It seems irreverent to be stepping on these wonderful artifacts and it is certainly a privilege to see them.