A spectacular tree, a school of calamari (?), raccoons clamming, and a day (or two) off

After a wonderful walk on Hotspring Island on Sunday and a peaceful night in the pretty cove on Murchison Island,

Leaving the cove on Murchison Island

we took advantage of a beautiful Monday to motor to Windy Bay on Lyell Island, a very significant place for the Haida who, nearby in 1985, blocked logging roads as part of their successful attempt to end logging on Lyell Island and protect the area that has now become Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. They built a Longhouse named “Looking Around and Blinking House,” which was used by the protesters as a gathering and sheltering spot, and which is used now as a bunkhouse by kayakers and campers (you can look it up on the Web and see pictures).

We dropped anchor not far off shore and took Coracle to the beach.

Looking out from the beach at the Windy Bay site

We were joined by a young couple, whom we’d met quite a long time ago in Shoal Bay, and it was good to see them again. The two Watchmen at the site, Gord and Reg, told us the history of the anti-clear-cutting protests, the building of the Longhouse (we were allowed to go inside and see how the structure is used presently), and the Legacy Pole, which we could see from the bay, raised in 2013, the first new monumental pole carved and raised in 130 years. It was carved to commemorate 20 years of co-managemet of the Reserve by the Haida Nation and the Canadian government, and the images on the pole tell a complex story (again, look for the pole on the Web for more information), explained by Reg, who is a carver and who told us some Haida stories and showed us some of his amazing argillite and alabaster creations.

At this point, Walt needed to take Coracle back to Braesail to make sure that the receding tide was not going to leave her grounded, and Reg took our two fellow sailors from the vessel Zig Zag and me on a long, very muddy, and gorgeous hike through the old-growth rainforest that contains spruce and cedar trees that are 1000 years old and as much as 200 feet tall (the tree in my picture is like a vertical forest in itself–I’m not sure how many feet it is in circumference!).

An astounding spruce tree some 200 feet tall and a millenium old!

Some of the cedars have been “culturally modified” by having strips of their bark collected for the making of clothing, hats, and baskets, and the trees are left healthy and able to continue to grow. The mosses and lichens here form carpets many inches thick, and include specimens not found anywhere else in the world. Looking across the the forest floor is like looking at a gigantic velvet patchwork quilt worked in uncountable shades of green–some plant biologists think of this as the birthplace of the planet’s mosses!

Following our hike, the ZigZaggers rowed me back to Braesail, dropped me off, and went on to their own sailboat anchored some distance away, and Walt and I motored to very quiet, very remote Crescent Inlet to anchor for the night.

Crescent Inlet, upon which a blue sky-eye looks down

I woke in the night not feeling at all well, and slept late on Tuesday morning. We had a pleasant motoring trip on an overcast, cool afternoon to yet another out-of-the-way bay, Thurston Harbor on Talunkwan Island.

In the evening, Walt spotted a huge cluster of small water creatures near the boat, which we think might have been calamari–they were 6-8 inches long, most were white, and a few were a sort of rosy purple. Each looked like a thick ballpoint pen with a propeller at one end, and they were fascinating to watch as they darted here and there beside and behind the boat. I didn’t get a photo, unfortunately.

This morning (Wednesday) I was still not feeling well–tired, a bit nauseated and faint–so I again slept late. Walt was up early enough to see raccoons clamming along the shore of the bay at extremely low tide. They are an invasive species that decimate bird populations and are not welcome in Haida Gwaii, but I’m sure they were very cute.

I have spent a good part of today sleeping, trying to drink some extra liquids, and relaxing. Walt says we can stay here as long as is needed, but I am praying that I will be feeling much better soon! We have had several days without rain–quite a change!–and we’re thankful!

[We guessed that I hadn’t been eating and drinking enough, and once I increased my fluid intake, I did begin to feel more energetic!]

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