Sunday, 5 February 2012

Haida Gwaii 2011 (Queen Charlotte Islands)

The Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) is one of my favourite places to go.  I seriously love that place.  When I go there (I've been there 4 times now), I let out a sigh of relief when we pull of that ferry, and get the feeling in your heart like you are arriving home.

So I thought I would share some of my journal, memories, and some pictures from my trip there this summer.  

Last summer it was decided that my Mother in law, 2 Sister in laws, Brother in law nieces, nephew and my daughters and I would all go on a camping trip to the Haida Gwaii.  In all there were 10 of us.  We would travel in 2 vehicles and camp in tents, bringing as much of our own food with us as we could.  Buying groceries there is a little more expensive then here on the mainland.  Another good thing to do, is try and store most of your stuff in totes.  There is quite a bit of rain there (after all it is a temperate rain forest!) and this way you can keep your stuff dry.

Come along with us on a trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world!

July 6th, 2011

Yesterday we left Terrace.  8:30am saw us leaving the Tempo Gas Station.  Titus, Vickie, Emily and Michael travelled in their vehicle and Judy, Carrie and Savannah, as well as Madeleine, Alisha and I travelled in Judy's van together.

We made a stop at the 7-11 when we arrived in Prince Rupert and we loaded up on all sorts of candy for the Ferry Ride.  (What better way to keep kids entertained for a long trip?)

We had the pleasure of sailing on the Northern Adventure.  It left dock around 1pm.  The kids thought it was like the Titanic except smaller.  There was a play room, restaurant, seating area and 3 outside decks, which really impressed the kids.  The ferry played the movie "Eagle Eye".

Boarding the Northern Adventure (note: The vehicle ahead was not ours.  We tented)

Whooohooo!  We're moving!  Let the holiday begin!

We all decided to go to the restaurant and have French Fries.  I wanted the kids to have the experience of eating on a ferry while sailing.  We ordered 4 large fries and 6 small fries, which really seemed to get the servers in a tizzy.  It was quite strange because they suddenly got really picky (didn't do this for costumers before us).  They got out their scales, and yes, measured by weight each of our proportions onto our plates.  Ha ha ha!  They graciously gave us 1/2 an ounce extra on one of the plates!  Hee hee!

Up on top of the Ferry was a very large area where you could walk around and enjoy the view.

The kids loved this big open area.  Here are all the kids.  Michael, Alisha, Madeleine, Emily and Savannah.

Of course, us adults enjoyed the views and fresh air too.  Carrie, Judy, Vickie and Titus.

And so, we said good bye to land for a while and headed into open ocean.

 We were very lucky, and had a very smooth sailing, with hardly a ripple to rock the boat.

We sailed into Skidegate at 7:30pm.  After some discussion on what to do from there, we thought we would head to Sandspit, but found out that the smaller ferry didn't leave until 9:30pm and that would be late for us to be setting up camp after a long day travelling with all the kiddies.  So we decided to camp in Queen Charlotte City.  

Oh what a glorious city Queen Charlotte City is!  (For those of you who don't know, Queen Charlotte City is actually a very small place.)  Anyways, we headed out on a camp ground finding mission.  Seeing some camp ground marked direction signs, we followed them up to some persons yard, where there were about 2 tiny areas and another little area with a tarp and a camp fire ring set up.  There were 2 dogs tied up in the yard barking their heads off, and it was right across from a skate board park and an old boat was in the front yard.  You can just imagine how we were laughing at the look on Titus's face when he pulled up behind us!  We did a very fast exit of that place and decided to continue down the road, as I remembered that there was indeed a better camp ground somewhere.

We found a small camp ground right by the cemetery near the ocean.

Our Camp at Queen Charlotte City.

We dined on a wonderful supper of sandwiches.  After that, Titus took the kids to the waters edge and us ladies, took a stroll to the cemetery.

There where some really old, neat graves.  The oldest were in the 1800's.  Many of the graves weren't marked by merely depressions sunk in the ground so you had to watch were you walked.  Also some wooden crosses marking spots.  There were lots of graves fro the year 1942.  Many were within month, weeks and days within each other.  All those graves had tombstones of the same size and shape.  I think perhaps they were war graves.  It must have been a sad hard time for such a small community.

The Cemetery

Not a bad Camp Ground over all.  I think it was neat that it was by the grave yard.  There was drinking water there, too.  The out houses were a little..... um shall we say, "rough'.  ha ha ha.  Actually scarier then the cemetery.

One of the Outhouses.  The other ones were 'slightly' better.  

July 7th

We awoke to the sound of birds this morning.  They sounded so pretty.  After a French Vanilla Cappichino prepared by Vickie and a breakfast of cereal and strawberries, we did a little packing up and headed to the waters edge.  The kids really enjoyed this.  There was a big Tarzan swing that they played on.  The tide was nice and low, so there was lots of things to look at.  The kids were impressed by the tiny crabs.  The also found shells and jelly fish on shore.  Clams were squirting.

Holding tiny little crabs.  Such cute little things!

Oval Jelly Fish.  What a neat experience for kids to get to touch these kinds of things.  Of course they let it go back into the water.

The Tarzan Swing!

An abandoned old Sail Boat.  We all thought it was neat to look at.

Another boat that has seen better days...

One of the neat things this morning is we saw a HUGE red centipedes, and a nice big black and yellow millipede. It was pretty with black and yellow.  Pretty cool with all it's tiny feet.  The kids let it crawl on them.  Vick didn't want it near her!

Nothing wrong with playing with a little Millipede while eating breakfast!

We caught the smaller ferry across to Sandspit, where disaster struck.  Yes, I'm ashamed to say we got lost.  Only we (ok, ok, mostly my fault!) would get lost in Sandspit.  Probably the first in it's history.  We (I) though we were supposed to drive past he airport to go out to Gray Bay.  After a few minutes we asked directions and we were sent in the right direction.

Before we left for Gray Bay, we pillaged Jasin's burn pile at his mill for some dry cedar to start fires.  (Jasin is an old friend of my husbands from when my husband used to work there.)

The drive to Gray Bay was beautiful.  The many shades of green were so intense and beautiful that at times it almost takes your breath away.  There was a beautiful creek that goes along the road it looked so pretty with the mossy green trees and ferns hanging over it.  I love it here so much.  I always feel to be incredibly lucky to be here.

A doe and fawn on the road on the way to Gray Bay.

We've had both sun and rain today.  The campsite we found is pretty much right on the beach.  We can hear the sounds of the waves from it.  It's only 37 steps to the Ocean.  It's a free camp site, and ours has not one, not two, but three, yes, three out houses, and a big covered picnic area.  It's very nice.

The Covered Picnic Area

The tenting area

The path to the ocean!  A whole 37 steps away!

Gray Bay, from the beach right in front of our camp.

Looking down the bay, towards Captain Morgans Log.

Looking up the Beach.

Showing off some shells.

The beach has all sorts of goodies on it!

A pretty pink piece of shell.

Pink Seaweed.

We went for a walk after we set up and had supper.  The kids found lots of shells and rocks.  Alisha's excited because the will be here allllll day tomorrow to fill their buckets.  Michael is very excited to try fishing.

The sunset was pretty.  The tide was going down so we could walk out to one of the Islands and watch it go down.  Also on the island were two birds.  They were a dark blackish colour and they had bright reddish long beaks and bright red-orange eyes.  They were very sneaky and hard to get a picture of because they were the same colour as the rocks.  They kept ducking down and hiding.  Really neat.  I wish I had my bird book.

A quiet evening in the bay.  

Going out to one of the islands at low tide to watch the sunset.

Waiting for sunset on the island.

We watched as the sun sinks lower.

And finally, the sun sinks behind the tree's in the bay.

We all retired at 10:30.

July 8th

Awoke this morning at around 5:30 to watch the sun rise, but either it was too cloudy or I got up to late.  The sky just had a tinge of pick to the clouds, which quickly disappeared.  However I did see the sneaky shy birds.  The tide was still low, so I went out to the Islands and tried to take a few pictures of them.

The sneaky birds!

I enjoy watching the shore birds so much.

I sat for a while and watched the tide come in.  Judy joined me for coffee on the beach.  It was such a nice morning.

We watched the birds looking for bugs in the rocks.

When the tide went back out, we went to check out the tidal pools on one of the Islands.  The kids seemed to love climbing over the rocks and finding all the tiny fish and especially the crabs.  One pool had some sea anemone.

We spent lots of time on these Islands.

Sea Anemone

The tide went out a long way and the kids all rolled up their pant legs and went in the water.  It was funny seeing them try and race out ahead of the waves.

Trying to race the waves in!

Isn't it funny how cold water doesn't seem to slow down kids?

Trying to catch clams

We all went for a walk down the road, but lots and lots of trees blew across the road, so we ended up going along the beach.  We went along until the first point of rocks comes out, and I got side tracked a bit when we found fossil imprints in the rocks.  They were really neat.  The kids did great on the walk, although Alisha said she was really tired.

On the way down the beach we stopped of at a camp space that Rob and I always camp at when we go to Gray Bay.  Unfortunately, it's in accessible by Road now because of all the tree's that blew down.

A pretty creek.  Lots of tannin in the water.

Now, here is an interesting bone that I found.  Not quite sure what it was, but I suspect it is a whale bone.  It was very thick and heavy.  

And turned the other way.  If I had to guess, I would say, perhaps it could be part of the bone structure that goes into a flipper?

Fossils at low tide.  The kids and I had fun looking for more.

We found all sorts on neat shaped ones.  Sea worms and round ball ones.

Judy made an awesome pot of spaghetti.  Vicky and I opened too many cans of sauce and it was a big, big pot.  Titus, volunteered to dishes thinking it was only Styrofoam plates.  So us girls made sure to eat all the spaghetti sauce and noodles.  So then, poor, poor Titus had to wash the pots.  That made all the extended stomach's worth it.  Ha ha ha!  Then to top off dinner, the nice lady that is camped next to us brought us some crab patties.  They were soooo good!

Waiting for Spaghetti 

After dinner, we went back to the beach with our chairs, so the kids could play.  

Madeleine and Titus stacked Rocks.

The kids made nests out of washed up seaweed.

We loaded Alisha up with pop and chips to take a picture to show him when we got home.  Then we all had a laugh about it!

Vickie and I pulled a stealth photo shoot on a huge bald eagle who was sitting on Captain Morgans log (named for a picture I took of my husband on another trip standing on the end of the log like a Captain Morgan commercial.) We were so, so sneaky and in awe of his beauty and magesticness as he sat there.... until, he pooed.  And then we were in awe of, well, just how much an eagle can hold.  Good thing we weren't standing under him.

Part of the tricky part was sneaking away with out having the kids tagging along to scare it off.

The sky is quite over cast, so I suspect we won't have a sunset.

July 9th

This morning I got up at 5 am, and came out to the beach to watch the sun rise.  The sky was quite over cast, but you could see a strip of colour on the horizon.  After a few minutes, Judy got up and we just sat out here.  The sun emerged between the ocean and the cloud cover.  A great orange ball.  It was really pretty.  Judy and a I took a stroll down the beach, and when we got back everyone else was just getting up.

The sun comes, the birth of a new day.

This is my favorite time of day...

The shore was beautiful and quiet.

Pretty Seaweed

After Breakfast, we went for quite a long walk all the way to the rock bluff where wee seen a really pretty doe.  She stood and allowed us to take pictures of her from a close distance.  Titus and Emily climbed up the rocks and I stayed at the bottom with Madeleine and Michael.  By the time we got back, the tide was really, really low.

A beautiful long log, that had steps cut in it.

Same log.  It just kept on going!

We found quite a few Moon Shells.  We also found lots of clam shells with holes in them.  These holes are made by the Moon Snail as it hunts down and eats the clams.

I think she was watching us, as hard as we were watching her.

After lunch, most people went to have a nap.  But the clouds finally cleared enough that the sky is a pretty blue and I went to explore the islands again, which you could walk to.  There are some small tidal pools, and in them are crabs, small fish, barnacles, seaweed stuff, hermit crabs and some sort of weird oval urchin thing and barnacles .  I found a couple small anemones, but there were full of sand.  Strangely enough, I was unable to find even one starfish even though the tide is really, really low.

The rocks and water were so pretty.

Lots of barnacles on these rocks.  You don't want to fall on them.

A pretty shell...

A hermit crab.  They sure are feisty little things, scuttling around the tidal pools.

A rock face covered with beautiful sea live.

The girls have been having fun walking in the water with no shoes on.  

What a beautiful day!  I can't believe everyone is napping (except Titus, who is fishing off an island.)  I don't want to miss a minute of the day, even if I am just sitting here on the beach (in the sun).  

Titus tried to dig for clams, but the only clam we got was all dried out.  Vickie liked it, I think.

Trying to dig for clams.

Vickie looking smug with a dried clam.

There is a creek at the far end of the beach but the water is very smelly like sulphur.  Madeleine and Michael had fun walking and looking for fish in it.  Vickie made us all nice shell necklaces that say Haida Gwaii 2011.  

Titus took the kids to look in the tidal pools while us ladies made supper.  

We had an awesome dinner of veggies and sausage.  I though I would be sneaky and do the dishes.  I grabbed the broiler pan by the fire pit.  Well, let me tell you!  That pan was HOT!  So I went and stuck it in a bucket of water because I burned my hand.  

So, then I wanted to see the damage and on the way out of the shelter, Carrie harpooned me with a marshmellow stick.  Lucky for me my big lip and tooth deflected the killing blow.  

Then I'm sitting there looking at my sore hand, contemplating my brush with death and my most loving neice, Emily, says "Aunty, let me give you a hug!"  Well I was so happy to have some sympathy, but didn't she surprise me!  As she slipped one arm around me for a hug, she stuck her other wet finger in my ear, giving me a wet willy!  Yes, I am feeling sooooo loved!

What is camping without roasting marshmallows?

To finish off a wonderful last day at Gray Bay, a beautiful sunset.

July 10, 2011

A really pretty sunrise this morning even though it's pretty over cast.  I came down to the beach at 5 am in time to see it.  While I was down at he beach I got to see a raccoon going along the waters edge.  Then it went down onto the Islands.  The tide is out very far this morning.

I'm so glad I got up early to catch it.

This is one of my favourite times of the day.  The beach is quiet.  I love sitting there watching the sun come up, listening to the sound of the waves coming in, and the odd call of a birds.  These moments are good for the soul.  
By the time I took this video, the sunrise was pretty much over.

One last group shot before we say goodbye to Gray Bay.

Gray Bay, a wonderful place full of discovery and adventure.  I can't wait to go back.

 We packed up and left and went to Sandspt.  Judy, Carrie and I went to the Super Value.  Somehow, we lost Vickie and Titus.

The view across the street from the Super Value, Sandspit

Aboard the Kwuna, a small ferry that runs between Moresby Island and Graham Island.  It's a fairly quick crossing.

Looking out the window on the crossing.  We also were very entertained by small ducks that were flying along side the ferry, landing, falling behind then flying on ahead of us again.

Once we found each other, we went to get a little more wood from Jasin's Mill.

Then caught the 12:30 ferry to Skidegate.  We planned on fueling up at Queen Charlotte City, but the gas station was closed today.  Luckily we managed to ful up near Skidegate.  They did that while Carrie and I waited at Balance Rock with the kids.  They all sat under the rock.  The Rock is huge and is balanced seemingly on a small point at the bottom.

Balance Rock and the kids

Sitting under the rock.  This angle gives a nice view on how well the rock is balanced.

There were many big boulders at Balance Rock.  A very interesting place.

Tlell is such a pretty place to drive through.  I love it there.

We went to check out the "free" camp ground we were told about at North Beach.  The drive in was really, really pretty with all the moss hanging off the trees.  The camp ground that we did find their cost $20 per night, and was really dirty and had some small spots.  Apparently, Titus was protesting when he seen it!  So we ended up coming to camp at Agate Beach.  It's only a step onto the beach from our tents.  It's a little cool, and windy, bu the stunning sunset made up for it.  Absolutely beautiful.  Even the kids thought it was beautiful.  Alisha missed it because she went to bed.

Evening at Agate Beach.  

Throwing Rocks into the incoming waves waiting for sunset.  What could be better?

Watching the sunset...

There is something about a beautiful sunset that just takes your breath away.

A quick video of the sunset.  It just doesn't do it justice though.

July 11th

Happy Birthday Rob!!!

Today, Judy and I got up bright and early, around 5 am.  The tide was low, so we went for an agate hunt walk.  There was a tiny bit of rain int he night.  It's so cold you can see your breath.  Brrrrr!  The wind is blowing pretty good too.  We didn't see much of a sun rise this morning either.  Just the faintest tint in the sky.   The morning was cool and windy, by afternoon, the sun came out.

Banana Slugs, seem so giant!

We went for a walk to see the Blow Hole.  The kids were all very impressed.  The waves came from under the rock and pushed through the hole an whooooosh!, water was spaying up into the sky!  I think we all got splashed!  (And that was at low tide!)  The rocks had really neat formations with holes and worn away spots.  Pretty neat.  Some of us even found agates up there.

The kids stood fairly close to the blow hole.  You could here this breathing sound of the waves pushing water up through the rock, then Wooooosh!  It shoots up into the air!

Once it spouted higher then we expected, and we all got sprayed!

It was so neat to watch!

Very interesting rock formations there.

Of course the kids thought these rocks were fun!

Tow Hill

After that we went to the top of tow hill.  Wow!  What a view!  It was a hazy day, but still, you could see down North Beach at the first platform and at the second you could see Agate Beach and beyond.  Also, we could see Alaska from up there.  Michael was really impressed with that!  The walk to the Blow Hole and Tow Hill was really nice because not only was the forest beautiful with big trees, moss and ferns, it was all board walk and steps all the way!

Walking through huge trees.

The climb up to the top of Tow Hill, is a steep one, but is is all a nice board walk, with steps.

The first look out is a wonderful view of North Beach.  North Beach stretches for miles!

North Beach just seems to go on and on.  There were people out catching crabs with nets.  Next time we have to make sure to bring a fishing net.

We stop for a quick break.  Some people are really pooped out!

The view of Agate Beach is at the end of the trail.  What a view!  We sang Happy Birthday to Rob from up here!

A beautiful view, if I must say so, myself.... I love it!

In the foggy distance, you could faintly see Alaska!

The waves were very big on Agate Beach.  It was very noisy.  You could barely hear each other over the howl of the wind.  Wow!  Now I know just what sea spray is!  It was blowing all over the lense of my camera, and everything was damp with it.

I took a walk down the beach towards the base of tow hill.

There is just something about watching waves come in...

You could hear the Blow Hole from Agate beach, the waves were pounding it so hard.

The Crashing waves were beautiful in their power.

Waves and mist blowing in the air.  I now know the meaning of sea mist.

The kids spent more time throwing rocks into the incoming waves.

Notice how windy it was?  The sea grass was laid out instead of standing up.  I still loved every minute of it.

Sunset.  It's always so pretty to see it reflected off the water.

July 12th

When we got up this morning the wind was still howling.  It was crazy.  During the night it felt like the tent was going to lift off and sail away.  Some of the tent pegs came out and a tarp was just about blown away.  I was up early and walked to the base of Tow Hill.

I seen a Otter come out of the pounding surf.  It ran back and forth on the beach calling, and a moment latter, another Otter came up out of the waves and onto the beach where they ran around making noise, before they both headed back into the water and disappeared.  I don't know how they didn't get hurt in the big waves.  I tried to call Judy and let her know, but she was looking the wrong direction, and the wind and waves were so loud she couldn't hear me yelling.  Of course this was one of the few times I left my camera behind.  When I came back, we decided that going to a different camp ground was a good idea. 

The sea grass that was blowing was thrashing wildly when we pulled away.  It was a challenge folding tarps and tents,(This was inserted by Vickie) and dealing with miserable people!  Everyone ws cold and cranky!  Everyone but Vickie.  She ws the ray of sunshine on that cold windy day.(End of Vickie's insert).  Vicky was the only happy one because she couldn't smell her self.  Yes.  The only thing about camping here is the lack of showers.

Goodbye, Agate Beach!  

I try and capture a second of the wind that morning.

Then we went to Hidden Island campground, where they have showers and laundry.  $20/night per tent (for hydro I think) from here we can drive to the beaches.  The sun came out after all this afternoon.  We went for a quick drive around Masset and then went to the veach out near the bird sanctuary.  It's a nice beach with sand and rocks.  We did a little agate hunting.  Carrie found a huge one!

Hello, Blue Skies, Sand and Rocks!

A wonderful beach for kids and adults alike!

Glorious, soft warm sand, so inviting.

Oh, look!  Loose gravel, I wonder what that has in store for us?

The kids found a live Sea Urchin.  You can imagine the excitement when they found it.  It was still alive and you could see the quills moving.  After they all gently touched it, they let it go in the waves. Pretty neat.

How cool is that?  A living sea urchin!

Michael gingerly holds it.

Madeleine with a tiny dried crab.

I drop to my knee's as something catches my eye!

Sweet Mother of Pearl!  It can't possibly be!?

We all relax after a wonderful day on the beach.

July 13th.

(Vickie)  Today we looked for Agates.  I never found as many as yesterday, but the sun was not out so the lighting was different.  I enjoy looking for them.  We tried to drive on the beach but hit a soft spot and got stuck.  Thankfully someone came and helped.  I'm thankful it hasn't rained yet.  Tomorrow we are getting up early to go to look for Agates at low tide.  That Jen, Titus and I.  Wish us luck!

(Carrie) Hey!  I'm coming too!  Don't forget about your big sister.  Should be good.  Hope we hind some nice big ones.

We went for a nice walk down the beach near the cemetery to do some beach combing.  Well first we tried to drive down the beach, but almost got stuck in some loose pea gravel. It was a "little" stressful.  Lucky for us a guy was going by on his three wheeler and stopped to help.  He suggested to let some of the air out of the tires so they were down to 20lb pressure to get out.  We did this.  It worked well and we were able to get out of there.  We all had a great beach comb except for poor Titus, who stayed behind on the beach with the kids who found the beach combing boring.

Agate, agate, shining bright.  When I find you, it feels so right!

Agate, agate glistening wet, I hope to find more of you yet!

Agates of amber, white or red!  I can't get you out of my head!

Agates rough, smooth or round.  There's more of you, to be found!

Agates in my pocket, agates in my hand!  Oh look!  There's one in the sand!

July 14th

This morning, Carrie woke us up bright and early (5:20) to go agate hunting at the Bird Sanctuary.  We snuck away and Judy is staying with the kids.  The Tide was out really low and you could see boulders way out there.  After we came back and had lunch.

We went out to North Beach, but it was misting off and on.  So the decision was made to leave.  Before we left, I made the kids Kelp horns, by cutting the ends off of the Bull Kelp.  They seemed to like them, except for Alisha, who was grossed out.  Madeleine was really good at blowing it.

It was a little wet on the beach.

Miles of sand and driftwood.

Walking the beach.

Beautiful Drift wood I would have loved to drag home.

A good place to curl up.

Bull Kelp Horns!

Madeleine blowing her little heart out!

Man, can she ever blow that thing!

Moon Jelly.  The kids were trying to save them.

Red Jellies, were off limits for the kids to touch.  I believe they sting.

We walked to the blow hole again. But the tide was too high, so it did not blow.

The walk in to the Blow Hole is gorgeous!  It starts off as a trail through the woods by the creek.

And then turns into a wonderful board walk.

Even kids can do it with ease!

You can see the creek through the trees. 

Looking through the mist where the creek meets the ocean.

At the end of the path, you pass under and through some trees.  It was like tunnels under them.

Pictures on the big rock

After that we headed to Agate Beach and spent about an hour looking for Agates.  Judy Stayed with the kids in the little shelter building.  The wind had died down and there was only a little breeze blowing.  To bad it wasn't like that when we stayed there.  Carrie got wet feet, and almost caught fire getting dried out!  

July 15th

Today was a wonderful last day on the beautiful Haida Gwaii.  We left The Hidden Island Campground in Masset this morning around 10:45ish, and took a drive around old Masset to look at totem poles.  There were some nice ones, but they asked people not to photograph them unless permission was given.  However, we couldn't resist taking a picture of a Bald Eagle siting on top of a totem pole with a eagle on top of it.

An Eagle on an Eagle.

There were some nice benches.

Above the drive way of an in-home restaurant.

After Masset, we went to check out the community of Port Clemence.  It's a pretty little place and looks well kept.  The camp ground there also didn't look too bad.  I noticed it had a water tap and outhouses.  It also had a covered picnic area and was close to the ocean.  

We stopped and looked at the camp site, Misty Meadows.  That looked like a nice place to stay too.  The beach was only a couple minute walk from the sites.  The beach was really pretty with grass growing at hte upper edges of it.  It's hard to say, what the beach coming would be like because the tide was quite high.  Vickie and Carrie found some really nice Agates.  I think everyone has really been enjoying looking for them.  I'm surprised at the sheer number we have found.  In days to come, I bet everyone will be looking for them in strange places.  It's addictive.

Misty Meadows.  

Cabins back from the beach.

The Beach

Next we rolled into Tlell.  I really love Tlell.  We pulled off the highway.  Off to the side near the Ocean, someone had made a swing set.  The kids had a lot of fun playing there.  We made some sandwiches for lunch there.  And then decided to look and see if there were any Agates.  

Along the ocean at Tlell.

Fun on the tire swings!

A drift wood fort that the kids built.

Well, Vickie and I went to go down when we could see Carrie coming up the beach with really wet feet and carrying something big and clear.  We couldn't believe it!!!!  We thought she had already found a monster agate and got wet feet getting it.  Well, it turned out to be a salmon jar and she had gotten wet washing it out.  

A few minutes later, (I was walking ahead) I turned around to see Vickie up to her shins in water. (After she had been warning the kids NOT to get wet, here she is getting wet!)  She had seen (or so she says) a really big Agate, and didn't want it to roll away on her, but as I watched, an even bigger wave cam in and she had to turn around and try and outrun the incoming wave.  Well the frantic flailing of her galloping feet, just sprayed water up the backs of her legs, and the Agate got away.

Vickie sees a big agate.  Look at her focus on the spot!

At this point, you can see her questioning her decision to stick with it.

Abort mission!  Abort mission!

Titus found a nice coloured one.

A quick stop at St Marie Springs, where they say if you drink the water, you will always come back.  However, my husband says, don't drink the water, in case it has been peed in.  

Next we went to the museum in Skidagate.  It was pretty neat looking at all of the artifacts.  There are some beautiful carvings.  They had stuffed animals and birds. There was one of the birds I was trying to take a picture of at gray bay with the bright orange beak.  It's called an Oyster Catcher.  They eat shell fish.  

In the area where you can take pictures they had an open crate with this old painted carving in it. 

The big carved canoes were really nice.  I find it amazing how they do that.

These canoes were huge.

Titus has had experience in helping to traditionally carve this type of canoe.  The workmanship of them is beautiful.

We went to the Co-op, and picked up some sandwich making goods.  Then headed to Balance Rock again to eat.  The kids climbed around there some more and looked at tidal pools.

Alisha holding up the rock.

Getting pictures with The Welcome Woman, with her fire making sticks.

At last, we headed to the Ferry Terminal to head for home.  They gave us a bit of trouble over the lack of ID for Madeleine, but because they let us sign a waver in Prince Rupert, they reluctantly let us have another one to go home.  Ahhhh well, we must have her ID next time for sure.

We traveled home on the over night ferry, and brought our sleeping things with us onto the ferry.  Being tough, we slept in the seats and on the floor of the ferry on the trip back.  The trip back was very smooth sailing.

What a wonderful trip.  I'll forever have these memories made with a wonderful group of people.  

Every time I look through the pictures, or look at the agates we found I think back and smile.  I can hardly wait to go again.

Rough Agates, before polishing.

Polished Agates.  So beautiful to look at and touch.  Each one different from the last.

An Eye Agate.  I was surprised to find it after it was polished.

A while ago, I put together a bunch of  pictures that I had taken from some of my previous trips, as well as this trip.  I put the pictures with music for a little slide show.

Enjoy!  And thank you so much for taking the time to travel along with us.


  1. wow that is amazing, I think I just went with you to the Haida Gwai, my feet even feel a bit wet!
    what a great story you have chronicled..

  2. It was a wonderful trip. And a lot of fun to make this post. The time before when I went, I kept a short journal on my Ipod that I am going to type out and post as well, as soon as I find the time.

    It's my favourite place to go. There is something magical there.