I have been away for two weeks in the Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). I had the fantastic opportunity to volunteer on an archaeological dig at a site that was occupied 10,700 calendar years ago while sea level was rising in this area, and which is now on an old beach edge currently located in the intertidal zone. The age of the site makes it one of the oldest in British Columbia, but even more remarkable is that it has good preservation of wood and bone as well as the usual stone artifacts. Such sites are uncommon in any time period and no others this old have been found on the west coast of North America.
The trip included brief layovers in Charlotte (or the Village of Queen Charlotte to give its proper name) located on the south shore of Graham Island. One stop was to allow us to get gear and supplies together for the trip to near the south end of Gwaii Haanas (National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site to give the rest of its name); the other was on my way home waiting for the flight out and running some errands around town to help close off the first phase of the project. My first few posts are about getting to the site. It is not an easy place to access – it is 165km by water from the nearest road and about 140km as the raven flies from Charlotte to the site. The airport at Sandspit on Moresby Island is 800km NW of Victoria.
Today I show scenes from around Charlotte. Haida Gwaii is famous for its natural beauty and the cultural sites of the Haida, the original settlers of this land. It is not famous for Charlotte. I did not set out to take dismal photos of Charlotte, but that is the way it has come across in many of my photos. It is not as gloomy as I and the weather make it seem (see the link above to the Village website for a cheery perspective). However, I could not help using desaturated or monochrome processing for most of the images – it just seemed appropriate to wash away much of the colour.
Charlotte does seem that it is considerably less prosperous than it was when I first visited 30 years ago. The forest industry is very subdued compared to those days, and fisheries don’t seem to be doing much better. Tourism seems like a pretty healthy and growing industry though I suspect a lot of that money leaves the islands. Some of Charlotte’s decline might also be related to a shift of some commerce to the nearby Haida village of Skidegate.
So, off we go on my two week adventure. I hope you find it interesting.
To launch the gallery view click on any photo, use the arrows to navigate between images and press escape to return to this page.
Canon 5Dii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 and Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lenses, mostly ISO 200, some at 100, others faster.