No pictures today. After breakfast we checked out and rolled our bags across the street to the terminal where a shuttle took us to the airport.
The airport is on Digby Island, about 20 minutes by ferry. All flights were on time and in fact we arrived home about 30 minutes early. And so ends one of the best vacations we’ve had.
We were away twelve days. One was on the bus, three were on ferries and one was flying. We were not nearly as active as usual and with all the good food I put on three or four pounds. That is the first holiday this has happened for a long time. It will come off pretty quickly so I’m not worried.
The wedding was the best except our own I think. The lodge in Parksville was well run and on a pleasant site, but it is not our sort of place. Way too many people, like a suburb in the woods.
We both very much enjoyed the trip up the inside passage. We had hoped to do a cruise to Alaska but the cruise schedules didn’t work. So this was the next best thing. I’d still like to get to Alaska, especially Glacier Bay, but that will have to wait. Next trip to Haida Gwaii we will fly to Prince Rupert as it will save a couple of days we can spend where we want to be.
We found the islands to be completely relaxing. The islands are over 10,000 sq km with a population just over 4,000, about half Haida. The largest community is the village of Queen Charlotte City at 950. The people that we encountered are friendly and seem quite willing to talk about their lives.
The Haida House is a comfortable place with nice rooms, simply furnished. The staff is excellent. It is owned by the Haida Enterprise Corporation (HaiCo) and it has several aims. One is to provide employment, and to that end the staff works hard to bring visitors outside the main tourist season by hosting small conferences, workshops and retreats. The other is to train people to a high level in the service industry. They do very well at that.
We made friends there. I’ve never checked out to hugs all around before. I did not observe that to be standard practice. I know we’ll keep in touch and I know we will go back.
In Canada we are used to First Nations bands having to be consulted on issues that affect their land. There is a constant theme to resist development, particularly if it will put at risk traditional hunting lands. I think it is easy for the rest of us to read that as being just another bunch of tree huggers who have been around longer and have better credentials.
I developed a very different view in Haida Gwaii. A large percent of people’s protein comes from the sea and from hunting (we heard over 85% from several sources). This applies to most of the residents. People fish, have crab traps and forage in the inter-tidal zone and if you don’t, you have friends or family who do. There is lots of barter – you do someone a favour and you may get a salmon. Adam (from kayaking) get his quota of 15 black-tail deer each year. From each he gives half to his parents, keeps a quarter and gives a quarter to someone in need. As they say, we live from the sea, not from the Co-op.
Bringing things the 93 nautical miles from Prince Rupert is very expensive. Our rental car was $168 each way. A trailer of goods is $31 per foot. Food like milk at over $8 for four litres, and flour double in price. So any kind of spill from increased tanker traffic would devastate not just the commercial fishery but the lives of everyone on the islands. So now I understand why there is so much concern.