Yesterday I began to illustrate the story of my two weeks volunteering on an archaeological project in Gwaii Haanas. See my post Around Charlotte for an introduction to the project and a send off on today’s journey. On the way south from Charlotte the crew split into two rides – one was a very fast and brand new landing craft chartered to get the gear and some people to our destination which left directly from the government dock in Charlotte for a 200km one way trip.
I went on the second ride which involves taking a truck over the ferry to Moresby Island and from there driving on logging roads to Moresby Camp, the end of the road to the south. From there we picked up a Parks Canada boat, the Storm Petrel, launched it and headed about 165km south through mostly protected waterways.
I should back up and say our day started off perfectly – an old friend of the project and former crew member invited us to his home in Skidegate for breakfast. We are talking 6 am – that is some friend. The sky and water were brightly lit across from his house and I stopped to take the picture above, not guessing that the sky would become the theme of the day’s journey across water.
One of the things about taking the ferry and then driving to Moresby Camp is it is a kind of threshold that feels like a passage towards wilderness. On this trip, the feeling came sooner than usual when a Peregrine Falcon swooped from the sky and came to rest on a branch beside the road in front of the truck. I did not get a great shot as my focus was not perfect, but good enough to show here since when will I ever get another photograph of one?
The bridge was under repair along the road so we had to park the truck and carry our gear across a temporary foot bridge to another truck placed on the other side of the bridge a few days earlier for our use. With various delays picking up the boat from a nearby fish hatchery and launching it at Moresby Camp it was some time before we got on the water. The shot below is taken from the dock. Moresby Camp was at one time a major logging camp but is now the end of the road sporting only a boat ramp and dock.
Good maps of this area seem hard to come by – Google Maps is pretty well useless as it has almost no place names. On this web page there is a link to a pdf of a map that includes many of the place names I mention. From Moresby Camp we ran out through Cumshewa Inlet, through the narrows between Louise Island and Moresby Island and south to the Tangil Peninsula which is the northern boundary of Gwaii Haanas park. From there we briefly ventured into Hecate Strait north of Tanu, crossing into the park and then west to Darwin Sound, south to and through Juan Perez Sound and on through the narrows between Burnaby Island and Moresby Island. Today’s photographs take us that far, but we then continued along into Skincuttle Inlet, back out into Hecate Strait to get us beyond the rough water at Benjamin Point and then west into Houston Stewart Channel which runs along the south end of Moresby Island and the north side of Kunghit Island. Our camp was on Ellen Island in the middle of the channel across from Rose Harbour, a former whaling station. I know, too much information for all except those that have been here before, but these are places very familiar to me from previous visits, and so they are part of my personal geography that I feel like sharing
The gallery below shows the skies that caught my attention between Moresby Camp and Burnaby Narrows (that is what I have always called it, but the map says Dolomite Narrows). It was not all that easy taking photos along the way – the boat moves along at about 25-30 mph and is in constant unpredictable motion from the chop and swell. I stopped taking photos at Burnaby Narrows as it is extremely shallow and my eyes were needed for navigation. After that the water surface became much busier and spray was coming over the cabin roof where I would brace myself with the camera. I try very hard to keep saltwater off the camera, so after wiping it down from one rambunctious wave, the camera was put away for the rest of the trip.
To launch the gallery view click on any photo, use the arrows to navigate between images and press escape to return to this page.
By-the-way: I was accompanied on this trip by Tansy, one of the Quimper Hittys, who is presenting a parallel series of blogs about the trip from a doll’s eye view. You can find those posts here.
Canon 5Dii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens as far as Dana Passage and then a Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lens the rest of the way south, except the falcon photo was taken with a 200mm/f4 SMC Takumar lens. ISO mostly 100, but up to 640 in earlier and darker stages of the trip.