Off to Haida Gwaii

We’ve been having a bit of trouble with our ham radio email, so we’ve been a bit slow on the updates. Our last post was July 4th. After 9 days of gales, smallcraft advisories, and pouring rain, the weather finally cleared and we made our way to Ketchikan, wet, cold, and ready for the sunshine. We spent the last week hanging out with my mom and brother in Ketchikan, and Rob did a few projects to get our staysail back up and running and to try to fix our leak. We’re in good shape now and we’ve made our way down to Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Though we’re a bit sad to leave Alaska behind, it is exciting to cross the border.

We’ve had a few days of sunshine and a bit more rain, but we’re hoping to head off to Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in the next couple of days. Haida Gwaii is the ancestral homeland of the Haida, and the islands are reputed to be stunning. The crossing over Hecate Strait to get there, however, is reputed to be nasty and there is another gale in the forecast for tomorrow. We’ll keep an eye on the weather and, as that gale heads south, we hope to sneak across. This will be a pretty exciting passage for us as it will be our first overnight crossing. If the wind is with us (or at least not against us), we should be able to do it in 15 hours or so. Totems, history, hot springs, and beautiful scenery await us on the other side. From there we’ll head to directly to Vancouver, so you may not hear much from us over the next couple of weeks.

Our highlights from the past couple of weeks: wild strawberry pie (I’ve been dreaming of this for at least three years, and we finally found a spot with enough berries for a pie. It was heavenly), blueberry-salmonberry pie, blueberry-salmonberry cream cheese pie, getting stung by a jellyfish (not so much a highlight as just puzzling–I didn’t think I’d be in the water long enough for a sting up here), sailing with the wind behind us (in 54 days of sailing, we’ve been nose to the wind for about 49–rediscovering sailing with the wind was pretty wonderful), a sunny crossing over Dixon Entrance into Canada.

5 thoughts on “Off to Haida Gwaii”

  1. Ham radio, sailboats, Haida Gwaii; you’re speaking my language.

    Say hi from Ryan to the Moresby Explorers zodiacs you might encounter in the Gwaii Hannas.

  2. Hi Rob and Kate,

    You might enjoy reading The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. It’s about Emily Carr, who painted the area, native culture, forest, etc. in the early 1900s, a time when it was very odd for a white woman to travel alone in this area.

    Enjoy! Katya

    1. Thanks, Katya–we will look for that book. We saw a few of her paintings around the visitors centers and museums in Queen Charlotte. Rob and I both read All That We Say Is Ours: Guujaw and the Reawakening of the Haida Nation (I may have gotten part of that title wrong) on the way over and I’d highly recommend that one. It gave a great history of the First Nations’ struggles for title to land in Canada (which raises a lot of issues and questions you’ll recognize from Alaska) and specifically focuses on the Haida and their efforts to protect Gwaii Haanas and revive their culture on Haida Gwaii. We both thought it was a thought-provoking read that made our visit more meaningful.

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