Out of Gwaii Haanas With Civilization On the Radar

In my last post we arrived, and anchored in Lagoon Bay as sunset peaked through the blanket of clouds. It was a lovely sight, and and brought us hope that the low clouds that followed us would part and allow the sun to follow us for awhile. What I neglected to mention was that we crossed out of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve/Haida Heritage Site on our way to Lagoon Bay.

Sunset peaking through at Lagoon Bay

 

By morning, although the clouds were still there, they’d lifted some… allowing us some dryer seats to sit on in the dinghy and kayak. John and Sadie loaded into Zephyr, while I hopped on my kayak… and off we went to explore the inner bay via a short narrows. We rode the short, swirling fast moving waters into what felt like a private little sanctuary and from there I cranked it up into exercise mode. (My Hobie Mirage peddle drive system really scoots in this mode. 😜)  On the way through the narrows, I zipped right past a Black-tailed deer who was right down at the waterline. For what reason I don’t know. There was no grass, and I doubt they drink the sea water or eat from the tide pools. Possibly about to swim across? I also spied two Bald Eagle in a tree above the narrows, one was sitting in a nest.

Morning clouds in Lagoon Bay

Sitka black-tailed deer

Nesting Bald Eagle

 

When I noticed the large grassy area at the end of the bay (much bigger than other back bays we’d been in), I made a bee-line for it… knowing just how much bears like those grasses. Midway through the bay, this is what I saw…  Could it be? 😳😜

See the small dark speck in the middle of the image?

 

Now I’m peddling in hyper-power… until I get within hearing distance. Then I went into my stealth mode. 😁 All the while I’m trying to wave at John who followed the opposite shoreline. I sure as heck wasn’t going to yell, and I figured he’d eventually look up and know exactly what I was doing, sitting idle along the shoreline.

This was a nice sized Black Bear who was so focused on eating he didn’t notice me. It was John and Sadie’s (our little bear-scarer, if you recall from the Grizzly story) arrival that he noticed. At that point he picked his head up and looked their way, sat on his rump and watched them while he chewed, and eventually retreated to the woods. In the mean while I had a Bald Eagle vying for my attention while I was trying to focus one the bear! (Oh the struggles… 🤣😂🤣)

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle on the hunt

Black Bear foraging on grass

Bald Eagle flies by as if trying to distract me… obviously missed his swimming prey

Black Bear sits to watch John and Sadie… not concerned enough to stop eating

 

Once the bear retreated into the woods we had to hustle back to the boat, as we had a high-tide to catch going through Louise Narrows. When you draw five-and-a-half feet, watching the tides through these islands and inlets is crucial, and we’ve seen a few boats sitting high and dry in our travels. In a fixed-keel sail boat that usually means laying on your side.  John loves the challenge of navigating the narrows, and I love the up close and personal look at the beautiful shoreline.

Departing Lagoon Bay

From my “bow watch” position… heading up Louise Narrows

Louise Narrows

Louise Narrows

Clear and shallow waters of Louise Narrows

Harbour Seal at rest on one of many rocks in the middle of Louise Narrows

 

We made it through the narrows without any problems, and traveled to Gordon Cove, where we anchored for the night. The following morning we got underway up Cumshewa Inlet with our sights set on civilization… and food, and water, and fuel. The little town of Sand Spit was our destination, and getting there meant braving the rough seas in Hecate Strait. The weather forecast had called for calm seas, but what we encountered in Hecate Strait was anything but! Add to that, we had to round a shallow shoal just off of Sand Spit, which kept us “rolling” through Hecate Strait for at least an extra hour. John probably would have been sailing, but Sadie and I were doing our best to stay seated in one place! (The choppy water shot below doesn’t even begin the depict the 6-8′ swells we rolled through!)

Cumshewa Inlet

Clouds hug the mountains around Cumshewa Inlet

Colorful rock wall and trees hug the shoreline in Cumshewa Inlet

Calm seas? I think not. Hard to tell, but we’re traveling through 6-8′ swells.

 

It felt good to put my feet on the dock when we arrived at Sand Spit marina! Little did we know that the actual town of Sand Spit was two-and-a-half miles away! Groceries and a meal “on the town” meant a long walk after a long day, but… after walking Sadie and plugging into shore power (our first in 12 days)… off we went! We arrived at the little grocery store as they were preparing to close, whipped through the place… buying provisions we were willing to carry back to the boat… and then dined in the only open restaurant in town- Dave’s Wok In. It was only so-so, but I didn’t have to cook!

If I recall, I spent most of the following day working on sketchy marina WiFi, desperately trying to catch up on my blogging amongst other things. The day after that I made my way to a nearby beach to see what treasures I might find. John teases me about my love of “shiny things”, and I remind him how lucky he is that the shiny things I’m most drawn to are free! Regardless… I’m constantly adding to our ballast with shells and rocks and things. 😜

When I arrived back at the boat I noticed a Bald Eagle sitting on the breakwater, and with camera in hand followed the docks all the way around to the the end of the dock closet to the breakwater and captured some of my favorite “Baldy” images to date. Too many to chose just a few!! I did notice that there was something strange about his eye… something I’d not noticed in any of my eagle shots before… and upon closer inspection discovered an inner-eyelid. Since I now have WiFi, of course I googled it! It’s known as a nictitating membrane, a transparent layer used to keep the eyes clean and moist, while not losing sight of their prey! Who knew!!

Bald Eagle, no doubt watching for lunch to swim by

Close up of Bald Eagle… note the inner eye lid, or nictitating membrane, halfway closed here

Bald eagle taking flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

Bald Eagle in flight

 

Soon after the eagle took flight, but after I made it back to Summer Breeze, a Juvenile Bald Eagle took his place on the breakwater. So… off I went again! On the way back down the dock I spotted a Moon Jellyfish, which I’ve enjoyed photographing… while challenged by the surface of the water.

Moon Jellyfish- dining on a bit of krill maybe?

Juvenile Bald Eagle

 

Shortly after photographing the eagles we set out for Queen Charlotte City, about an hour across and west through Skidegate Inlet. We stayed docked there for a couple days doing laundry, fueling up, dining out, and conversing with some of the few people we encountered up to this point on our Haida Gwaii adventure. We really enjoyed getting to know a few of the locals here, as well as some fellow travelers.

Eager dock dog in Sandspit

Silly Pigeon Guillemot attempting take-off

A line of Pigeon Guillemot on the breakwater in Queen Charlotte Harbour

Sunset at Queen Charlotte City

 

After two days at dock we were about to set out in search of the infamous Mosquito Pole, the only known totem pole with a mosquito carved in it. Known for their bears, eagles, ravens, beavers and whales, we couldn’t help but wonder if the mosquito added to a totem pole (which is about 300 years old, by the way), might be a bit of Haida sense of humor… captured for the ages. Getting there meant traveling through Skidegate Narrows, and some interesting waters beyond. THAT excursion, our last few days in Haida Gwaii, and a rough crossing of Hecate Strait are all up next… in my final Haida Gwaii post.

 

2 thoughts on “Out of Gwaii Haanas With Civilization On the Radar

  1. I love following your travels. The images are so beautiful. The way you tell about your adventures makes me feel like I’m there. Keep them coming.

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