National Geographic Sea Bird sailed through some relatively calm seas after a rough start yesterday. We left S’Gaang Gwaii after a wonderful day in the village. We made our way north to our anchor this morning, located just west of Skedans, near the base of Mt. Moresby. The partly cloudy-partly sunny day gave us glimpses of the almost 4,000 foot peak, covered in snow! Remember: that’s 4,000 feet right from sea at about 53 degrees north in early May. So, that’s early season, northern latitudes, and high elevation! Hence, the snow.

After another hearty breakfast, guests prepared for an exploration by expedition landing craft or a walk on land towards Mosquito Lake. Both groups came back with stories of sightings of bears feeding on the shore, bird songs, and just a fun time exploring. After the first round of activity, guests who were on the shorter walk had the opportunity for an exploration by water. Folks coming off the water took the opportunity to explore on land. And one energized group spent the entire morning walking towards Mosquito Lake. Either and all ways, we had a wonderful time exploring this temperate rainforest.

After yet another delectable lunch, we got everybody into the forward lounge to hear stories about history and culture from Haida Gwaii local Barbara Wilson.

It is always an incredible gift to hear from people who have lived in an area and know the culture from personal experience. It is rare and very much appreciated. Barbara shared stories about her people, her culture, and their way of life. We had questions and engaged in lively conversation, eager to learn more.

After some time with Barbara in the bow, we all headed out on deck for a bit of a wildlife extravaganza. We observed another black bear feeding in the intertidal zone, maybe 15 or more harbor seals hauled out on exposed rocks, and a black-tailed deer within 100 meters or so of the feeding black bear. While the deer was mindful of the bear, no interaction occurred. (At least not while we were watching!)

We continued east to Cumshewa Village, Barbara’s home. The crew dropped a dib in the water for her to head to land to collect a flat rock. She explained this rock was collected to be delivered to a tribe on northern Vancouver Island. The rock will be incorporated into a mariculture project to help produce seafood for the tribe on the island. Therefore, this rock serves as a token to express her tribe’s commitment to food security for her people.

Midway through her discussion about the mariculture project, another black bear was sighted feeding in the intertidal zone. Following an extensive question and answer session with Barbara, we went out to view a very cooperative bear for several minutes before sailing on.

We sailed on to appetizers, recap, and another beautiful sunset following dinner.

PHOTO: A beautiful patch of temperate rainforest on our morning walk near Mosquito Lake. Photo by David Jaffe.