Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 30/July 30 – Plenty Cove to Clarke Cove – Dis’ju and The Wall

5:30 am start this morning. Pulled the trap to find 5 deliciously huge crabs for later. Coffee, glassy waters, heading out for more exploration = happiness. We will be back to Loredo Inlet. Came around Loredo Sound and into Loredo Channel. The guide books warned us that this Channel can be exceptionally dangerous with high winds and chop, but it was hard to imagine on this morning.
We were given permission by the Kitasoo Xais’xais to visit the site of Dis’ju – one of the last standing big houses in the world. It was a contender for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, but the Kitasoo Xais’xais elders voted it down for fear of the crowds that might be drawn to this sacred place. We arrived to find a group of kayakers from Gabriola Island (also having consent from the Kitasoo Xais’xais) on the lovely sandy beach. One woman seemed very familiar and after a bit of chatting we discovered that she had taught a dog obedience/training course I had taken in the Yukon!

We took our time taking in the site - slowly walking around imagining the families and ceremonies that would have taken place here. It’s one thing to know that people have lived and managed these lands and waters since time immemorial, but it’s another to be in a place like this and actually see it - almost feel it. There is another beach on the other side of Dis’ju that mirrors the beauty of the other. Spent a bit of time there and then headed back to Nordri who was pleasantly waiting for us in the sun.

Continued up Loredo Channel in good time to have a visit with the Cetacealab folks at Whale Point – a whale research station and hydrophone network. I’d met the lead researcher, Janie at a meeting in Vancouver and was excited to actually be in the place where she’s collected the most amazing data on the cetaceans that gather here every year. The wind filled in a bit and we had a perfect tack over to the station. We called them on the radio and were surprised that at such close proximity we could hardly make one another out. After confirming each other’s location, we quickly realized that it wasn’t Whale Point directly ahead of us, but The Wall, one of their lookout stations. Janie encouraged us to summon The Wall, they’d already been following our conversation on 14 and invited us in.
The Wall is a tiny plywood construction that hangs out over the rocks on the outside of the Wall Islets of Renninson Island. As we approached we were greeted by one of the researchers, James in a green canoe. He pointed us in the direction of as secure an anchorage as you can get in places like these and we hopped in Sturdi to have a look. James and Sophie, two students from St. Andrews in Scotland, were coming to the end of their 9 week watch at The Wall. They constructed the lookout in 2 weeks and take turns on watch which involves scanning the ocean every 15 minutes for whales. They shared the most amazing stories and photos (including one of a killer whale entirely suspended in the air) of the whales they’ve seen all summer.

We headed back over what seemed like a tropical island for our boat and headed back across Laredo Channel to find the small opening to Clarke Cove where we were going to spend the night. We had to wait for high tide to get through the narrow and shallow entrance, so we dropped a line. Within 10 minutes had a fish. Found the entrance and cautiously made our way into the lovely calm cove that you would never think opened onto the Pacific proper.

As we tucked in we could hear The Wall, Whale Point and the Gitga’at Guardians sign off and wish each other a good night on the radio. It had been such a long day, but we had seafood management issues. Crabs needed to be cooked and salmon needed to be cleaned. Exhausted, we sat out in the cockpit shelling crabmeat under the bug net in the light of the coleman lantern.      

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