I have been neglectful in journaling my adventures, but in my defence, there haven't been many lately. A cool and late spring and a bunch of running around meant there hasn’t been much riding going on outside of up and down the Sunshine Coast and you’ve already seen that!
There were some travels, though, if not by motorbike. The most notable was my work trip into Harley Bay. Hartley Bay is a remote community in northern BC only accessible by boat or float plane. All supplies are brought in on the bi-weekly ferry and if you forgot something....too bad. My mind was boggled by the guy who backed an ATV with a utility trailer on it down the steep ramp to the ferry dock. That guy is my hero.
I flew into Prince Rupert on a Wednesday and on Thursday, took the beautiful 4-hour ferry ride to Hartley Bay where I was informed I would be “stuck” until Monday when the boat would leave again. Woe is me! Stuck in this beautiful land of the Gitga’at! The remainder of Thursday and Friday was spent working at the school. Then the weekend to explore the community and trails surrounding it. Hang onto your sandwich - the ravens are the size of chickens! The community was friendly and open and I thoroughly enjoyed my interactions. My hosts fed me well and the nights were so quiet, I couldn’t help but sleep soundly. The cat accepted me without question and purred loudly on my bed whenever I left my door open.
The Gitga’at Nation has a lot going on! Collaborations with industry, conservation and education projects work to ensure the ongoing health of the community and preservation of culture. I participated in their community collaboration evening to learn about these projects and the goals of the community. It was informative and engaging. Their website and newsletters can tell you better than I and these can be found at: https://www.gitgaatnation.ca/
The Hartley Bay community showed their spirit and humanitarian nature when the Queen of the North sank off the coast of Hartley Bay in March of 2006. Without hesitation, the residents boarded their boats in the middle of the night to rescue survivors of the sinking vessel. Despite the tiny community, survivors were fed and housed until they could be transported out. The devastation on the marine life and its impact on the community due to the ferry's fuel leaked into the ocean is still felt today.
Hartley Bay’s “road” is a network of wooden boardwalks that connect the community. These are wide enough to accommodate the only forms of transportation - golf carts, side-by-sides, ATVs and your feet! You can tell where the gathering is by the number of golf carts out front. I stayed at the Hill’s place, which is a guesthouse with several rooms. This is one of a couple of guesthouses that accommodate people coming in and out of the community for research, work, and leisure. Tourism includes fishing, hiking and boat tours. The guesthouse is a great place to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life and I met so many interesting folk.
The homes in Hartley Bay are on raised platforms and connected by the network of boardwalks all over the community. Residents get in and out of the community by the aforementioned ferry or by personal boat.
I learned about local plants and their uses and some of the traditional practices of the Gitga’at. One of these is the spring excursion for an entire month to a neighbouring island where seaweed and cockles are gathered, and halibut is harvested. The school students go in groups to participate in these activities. It sounded amazing and peaceful and I internally lamented that I would miss it.
My weekend was spent walking the community and the trails, sitting by the water contemplating life or nothing at all, and letting nature bring its internal peace. I am looking forward to going back in September!