Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 24/July24 - Bella Bella and Shearwater

Finished up our internetting and headed over to the Pacific Wild float house, dock and home of Ian and Karen McAllister. We were greeted by Diana and her happy lab. Got tied up and met the SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards) interns working with Pacific Wild to monitor their hydrophone networks and remote cameras they have set up to observe The week before these interns had been out with 4 other SEAS for sail training on Pacific Wild’s catamaran, Habitat

Ian and Karen McAllister published a book in the late ‘90s called The Great Bear Rainforest that followed their sailing adventures, exploring inlets and estuaries and exposing the world to the globally significant habitats of the bears, wolves and salmon. I remember coming across their book in an office waiting room in Vancouver and I never forgot it and dreamed about it for years. Eventually bought the book and now it’s sitting in our little library on the boat I’m sailing the GBR in!

We had been invited to attend the Humchitt potlatch in Waglisla that afternoon. So we hopped in the dingy and made our way across the bay to the community centre which had been transformed into the House of Wigvilba-Wakas for the next 3 days (or however long it will take) of potlatching. It was magical to see the Heiltsuk culture so alive and vibrant and we were honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be there. 

We asked around if there had been enough groceries now to supply the community since the fire and we were assured there was plenty and we should feel free to stock up. So off to the church, site of the temporary store we went. Well constructed shelves were fully stocked and it was a busy place with a selection that far exceeded anything in Shearwater. Picked up what we needed and headed back to the dingy to cross the bay again. 

As we pulled up to the Pacific Wild dock we could hear the sounds of whales on the hydrophone speakers they have outside the float house. I rushed in to find Diana glued to the screen. “I’m so glad someone else is here to see this!” she said grinning.  We looked on the screen to find at least a dozen transient orcas moving past Gosling Rocks on Goose Island. It was amazing to be able to see and hear the whales. About 7 would line themselves up and surface in unison – super special thing to see. 

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