Today we spent the day visiting the beautiful Haida island of SGang Gwaay. After a choppy overnight crossing of the Hecate Strait, we anchored at the southern tip of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve before traveling ashore. We were greeted by Haida Watchmen, volunteers of the Haida nation who take turns watching over the land and greeting visitors accordingly. After a short walk from the landing beach, we visited the site of an ancient village. As we made our way through an old crabapple orchard planted by the community, we could hear Reg playing the drum and singing. Above the rocky beach, we found a grassy plateau filled with beautifully carved cedar totem poles that face the water. They have been standing for over 200 years. We learned more about the Haida history in this special place from Barbara, and Reg explained the significance of different carvings on the poles and shared some stories that inspired them.
We then meandered through the temperate rainforest, stopping to visit the home of the Watchmen and meet Gordy briefly while we signed the guest log for the island. Trees blown down in a hurricane had become massive nurse logs. We walked through brilliantly green, mossy canyons and took time to listen to the wind, birds, and insects during some quiet moments along the trail. We also explored the island by water and witnessed an abundance of wildlife from our Zodiacs.
After dinner, we entered waters that have historically been very productive, an area where hungry whales that have recently migrated up from Hawaii come to feast. At sunset, we could see dozens of blows across the horizon and got to watch humpbacks lunge-feeding close to the ship.
We are excited to explore Daajing Giids tomorrow!