The Watchman sites at Tanu and K’uuna, then on to Queen Charlotte

We spent Monday night and all day Tuesday and Wednesday in tranquil Thurston Harbour, where we were blessed with this sunset.

Shores of Thurston Harbour in the evening–no raccoons visible, only glassy water!

On the morning of Thursday, June 16, we motored to Tanu Island, anchored Braesail near the site’s gravelly dinghy access beach,

Coming ashore at the site of the village on Tanu Island. The sign on the tree provides a diagram of the locations of the Longhouses in the village. The moss creeping up from the shore is covering the fallen beams and poles.

and enjoyed meeting the Watchman (a young Haida woman) and her uncle. We viewed and learned about the remains of several Longhouses that were part of the old village, their poles and log beams, and the large dug-out areas that formed the houses’ interiors. We waked slowly among the moss-enshrouded remains with our guide, and visited the cabin in which the site’s Watchmen stay during the summer tourist season.

On Thursday afternoon, we motored to the grassy site of the village of K’uuna Llnagaay (Skedans), and were guided around it by the Watchmen, a Haida woman and her husband. We learned about the history of the village (abandoned as the population succumbed to smallpox), the arrangement and construction of the Longhouses, and the remains of the ancient, intricately carved poles (some decorated the fronts of the Haida homes, some served as memorials to the deceased, and at the tops of others, the remains of the dead were interred), all of which the forest is slowly reclaiming.

The rings on the leaning pole indicate the number of potlatches the owner gave during his life (the more feasts given, the higher the status of the giver.)
A slowly decaying pole is being embraced by a tree to which it has given birth, and which is now encircling it. Notice the thick grass everywhere in these photos.

Our guides invited us into their delightful cabin, with its outstanding views over the sea in two directions, and we very much enjoyed visiting with them!

How Thurston Harbor appeared on Friday morning as we began a pleasant 7.5-hour motoring trip to the village of Queen Charlotte at the southern end of Graham Island.

We returned to Thurston Harbour at the end of a chilly, cloudy, thought-provoking Thursday and again enjoyed its peaceful hospitality. We didn’t see foraging raccoons at the margins of the bay on this occasion, as we had on previous mornings, but sunlight flooded the harbor and bade us farewell as we concluded the Moresby Island portion of our time in Haida Gwaii.

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