Finally, the rest of the story

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And only a month after our return. I have had things to say here in the blogosphere, but I feel like I can’t blog because I haven’t finished blogging the Haida Gwai trip yet, so here are some more pictures of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

This is the view from the balcony of the church that we stayed in in Sandspit. The church there has weekly services led by a congregational (lay) leader, but no regular pastor. As a way to encourage pastors to come and do a service, the church offers the use of their parsonage (a three room apartment) in exchange for a service. The people were great, hospitable, even having a meal to share with our family after the service. Definitely a wonderful way to help finance a  vacation. In this picture the tide is low, and we are heading out to explore the tidepools.

Starfish and barnacles and isopods, Oh my!

Hiking in the rainforest to watch for whales. We didn’t see any whales (although Elijah thought every whitecap he saw was an Orca…and kept shouting out…”orca!” on the ferry). We did meet two lovely ladies from Surrey who we continued to meet at every leg of the journey on the Islands. The hike was beautiful, every possible surface covered in green moss and growth. It would not have been entirely surprising to see a Pteranodon swoop overhead or a triceratops come crashing through the undergrowth.

This swing hung off of a huge tree overhanging the beach, and it’s rope was probably 50 feet long. It was part of a playground made up mostly of driftwood and things found washed up on the beach.

Behind this swing, there was a sandbox under the exposed roots of the tree. Truly a magical place to play.

We spent Elijah’s 7th birthday at Grey Bay, a 40 minute drive from Sandspit on narrow logging roads. The kids played in the waves, ran on the beach, and we had a picnic lunch at the campground, bordered on one side by the vast expanse of grey sand, and on the other by lush green rainforest and a creek to play in. We saw many of the islands small deer on the drive, and some horses that ran to the fence to greet us and then licked the salt off our fingers when we stopped to pet them.

The view from our kitchen window when the tide is in.

One of the church members feeds the eagles a couple times a week with meat scraps from the grocery store. At times 20-30 eagles at a time would swoop down to grab meat off the beach, and then disappear to take it to their young. It was truly a spectacle to behold. The picture above and below are from that evening.

A mature eagle and an adolescent (on the right). Eagles live up to 20 years in the wild, and don’t get their white head feathers until years 4-5. The abundance of bald eagles on the Islands was really neat for us as a family as we spent some time studying them last summer as we watched the Hornby Island Live Eagle cam and learning a lot about their life cycles and habitats.

Eight of these weird little birds live on the small ferry that crosses between Skidegate and Sandspit numerous times each day. They hang out on the front of the ferry deck, and nest somewhere on board. We all got to climb up into the captain’s deck on the small ferry and talk to the captain one day while we were making the short crossing. It was neat to see all of his instruments and navigational tools. He spends his winters in Australia and the Carribean, and then takes working vacations in Haida Gwai for the summers. Nice life.

The final crossing on the Kuna, at 7am, to catch the big ferry back to the mainland.

Totem poles outside of the Haida Gwai Interpretive Center in Skidegate. A beautiful museum, but the kids were way to young and tired to enjoy it, so we only spent a fraction of the time we could have there. There is a carving shed with several poles and  canoes in progress, as well as much history, a performance space, and information on the Islands and her people.

Coming back into the Harbour at Prince Rupert, we were all rejuvenated with the beauty of Haida Gwai. The two days on the train home from there took it’s toll, and we have decided not to travel with young children on the train again any time soon, but that said, we wouldn’t have done it any other way for this adventure.

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