Thursday, November 20, 2014

#tbt 2012 Haida Gwaii - A year later

Sunset in Sandspit, BC

It’s been almost a year since our amazing journey to Haida Gwaii.  A year ago all I could think about was finally getting a chance to see the pristine wilderness Haida Gwaii is known for.  The beaches are spectacular and the sea life abundant.  It is rich in culture and history plus has one of the most rugged coastlines around.  Never did I expect a year later all this would be threatened.  There is a huge possibility the waters, land, and sea life that make up the “Islands of the People” (the Haida name for Haida Gwaii) could be destroyed if the proposed Enbridge pipeline becomes reality.  That threat is an oil spill but I do not wish to debate the pipeline. 

There is another threat to Haida Gwaii.  This time it is the debris from the Japan Tsunami that is washing up on the shores of Haida Gwaii.  Joel was watching the CBC National when a story about the debris was aired.  CBC - Tsunami debris in B.C.  From the other room he yelled for me to come quick and we both sat in silence as images familiar to us were shown completely different from the way we had saw them.   I have stood on the beaches the news journalist was standing on.  I have heard the wind blow and waves crash just as they are in the footage.  Only way to describe it is powerful and beautiful.  A year ago there were no signs of such debris.  

North Beach with Tow Hill in background
North beach from top of Tow Hill.
The terrain along East Beach (where the debris is hitting) is not going to make it easy for clean up crews to access.  The waters are dangerous at the best of times so not sure if boats can aid in the clean up.  There are no roads to East Beach and the footage clearly shows the risk when one does drive on the beaches of Haida Gwaii.  (which is common on North Beach to Rose Spit to East Beach for some reason.  I thought it was odd.)  If the east side of Haida Gwaii is hard to access then what will happen to the west side?  By the end of the news story I felt helpless and sad.  

The Pesuta Shipwreck on East Beach
East Beach at the tail end of a wind storm

The people of Haida Gwaii are strong and determined.  I have no doubt they will come up with a plan and bring the beaches back to the way they once were.  It will not be easy and the volume of debris coming is indescribable.  We are fortunate to have travelled to Haida Gwaii.  It really is an amazing place.  Highlight of our trip was hiking along the Tlell River towards the Pesuta shipwreck, visiting Skedans, and backpacking North Beach.  Ok, that was 3 highlights.  If you love outdoor adventure you will love Haida Gwaii.  We do!

The Tlell River is breathtaking, even in these conditions.

Morseby Explores getting us to Skedans.
Totems at Skedans.


  1. Thanks for posting. I lived in Haida Gwaii 12 years ago and I have just made it back to the west coast for the first time since then right now!
    I am unable to make it back to my heart home this journey but I would love to hear about any on the beaten path recommendations you may have. it is such an amazing part of this country (which I have trapsed across a time or two, carving out my own path along the way)

    Thank you again for the photos. it has been a long time since I stood on north beach where my cabin was, but a simple photo brings me back swiftly.

    Wishing you wonder filled adventures with your sweet ones.


    1. Glad I could bring back such wonderful memories for you. Haida Gwaii is a special place and we are thankful to have had wonderful adventures there.