Sgang Gway, Haida Gwaay, 5/11/2022, National Geographic Sea Bird
National Geographic Sea Bird
Today, we explored the island of Sgang Gwaay in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. We took a Zodiac ride to the northern part of the island. We walked down a boardwalk path to the site of Sgang Gwaay Llnagaay, an ancient village and sheltered bay. The area became a UNESCO National Heritage Site in 1981. It is one of the best examples of a traditional Northwest Coast First Nations village. Despite the rainy weather, we had an excellent time exploring the site with our local Watchman guide, Paul.
Back in the U.S.A.! Today, National Geographic Sea Bird said farewell to British Columbia and hello to the United States! Beautiful weather welcomed us to the port of Anacortes. After a quick encounter with customs, our guests got to explore this adorable little town.
Calm waters and sunny tides welcomed National Geographic Sea Bird to Alert Bay. Eager to stretch our legs, we walked through the sleepy port town to the U’Mista Cultural Center for our interpretive tour of the impressive museum. Alert Bay is part of the traditional homelands of the Kwakwaka’wakw, which were once divided into seventeen different tribes throughout the region. During 1885-1951, potlatch was banned in Canada. Despite the outlaw, one was held in 1921, which resulted in a police raid and the aftermath of many participants facing fines or jail time. Additionally, over 600 regalia pieces were confiscated and distributed around the world. After the ban was lifted, the Kwakwaka’wakw people fought to bring their sacred items home, resulting in the U’Mista Cultural Center. Visiting the impressive collection and learning about this complex history was truly an eye-opening and unique privilege.
Today was a glorious day aboard National Geographic Sea Bird . We are in the process of completing a 350-nautical-mile transit, and our day was spent on the ship. Last night, we left the town of Daajing Giids, formally known as Queen Charlotte City, on Graham Island in Hadai Gwaii. This concluded three days of insightful visits to the island, where we were guided by our cultural interpreter, Barbra Wilson. Our next destination is Alert Bay, British Columbia on Cormorant Island, just off the north coast of Vancouver Island. Throughout the day, our expedition staff members presented on a variety of topics to engage our guests. In the morning, we had a show-and-tell-type workshop, where members of our photo team showed the photographic equipment they use on these types of assignments. Photo instructor Brooke Juhala showed us a sneak peek of a film she is producing called “Inseparable,” which relates to the native culture of British Columbia and will be released later this fall. We also had a photo critique led by Shayne Sanders. Interested guests submitted photos, and the photo team critiqued them. So far, our transit has been very pleasant with excellent weather and calm seas. We are following the Inside Passage, and therefore, we are sheltered from the mighty Pacific by a string of barrier islands. A large storm with hurricane force winds is currently in the Bering Sea, and it seems as if we will experience the tail end of that system as we cross Charlotte Sound later tonight and into tomorrow morning. It is always a pleasure to travel aboard National Geographic Sea Bird , and we look forward to another exciting day of learning and exploration in Alert Bay tomorrow.