Meeting friends on the water
This leg of the expedition, we had our friend Catherine join us for 7 days between Bella Bella and Klemtu. Even though one could paddle this section of 33nm in a day, we took 7 days to explore the islets, skirting back down south and through some less traveled waterways.
We finally crossed paths with two other adventurous women, Lucy and Mathilde from Passage Adventures, and were lucky enough to stay in a Heiltsuk cabin, trading all of our stories and best camping spots. These two are kayaking the Inside Passage single-use plastic free and are raising awareness of marine debris. Check out their website and follow them on social media.
Another friend we made on the water was Josh, who is Stand Up Paddling all the way to Ketchikan. His mission is to complete the Race To Alaska to help bring direct awareness to the Veteran Suicide Epidemic. Check him out here.
From cabins and hammocks
We stayed in two different Heiltsuk cabins, which are mostly used for youth camps and healing retreats. The Heiltsuk have generously allowed campers to stay in the cabins. All they ask in return is to leave it in better condition than they were found in, and contribute to the wood supply. Visitors can also make a donation to the charitable youth program. We are very grateful and appreciate the the dry haven these cabins provided us. More information here. We made it our mission to find ways of how to use our hammocks in these cabins, which turned out to work really well.
Adapting to the circumstances
Weather, animals and landscapes.. Not a single day of leg 4 was like the other. In fact, within a day we faced a variety of different circumstances forcing us to adjust our plans, like entire days of rain, strong winds, sunshine and glassy calm seas. Thick fog made us wait for it to burn off before attempting a crossing of Finlayson Channel, a super rainy day turned into a rest day in a beautiful cabin and tidal rapids taught us a lot about water movements in the two hours we waited for the waterway to be passable. Nature definitely showed us how to be patient during this leg!
Can’t get enough of … wildlife!
The intertidal life along the rocky shoreline of B.C. keeps changing – we have started to see a broader variety of invertebrates. Among sea stars, urchins and anenomes we now see more sea cucumbers, turban snails, chitons and abalones attached to rocks. We came across sea otters and watched countless humpback whales traveling by. In addition, we are spotting a higher number of Lion’s Mane jellyfish, the largest known species of jellyfish. Their color ranges from dark red to white, their movements making them look very majestic in the water column. In the picturesque Jackson Passage, we observed a group of harbour seals from a distance, among them a pub supposedly calling for its mother. We watched them for a while before resuming our paddle, as we were caught in the moment.
We are currently in Klemtu, home to the Kitasoo and Xai’xais people, and are learning a tremendous amount about their culture and community values. We quickly discovered that it is important to the Kitasoo and Xai’xais people to protect and enhance their culture and heritage. They acknowledge that living in the modern world requires jobs to support their families and are hence working with fishing, forestry and eco-tourism industries to create revenue and economic development to sustain their community.