Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 247/248 - Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii/Haida Gwaii - Prince Rupert

Distance travelled (by bike):  37,170

The ferry is operating!! Having spoken to people i decided to go to Haida Gwaii for a day! The ferry left Prince Rupert at 11am, but having no reservation and the last 2 ferries been cancelled i was advised to get there a few hours early. Once inside the port there is nothing to do but wait and see if they have room on the ferry for you, luckily they did. Having read about other peoples experience with the ferries bought some ratchet straps a while ago, today i was thankful i had.
BC ferries provide rope to tie the bike down, but i think without the straps i would have found my bike on its side when i returned to the vehicle deck. 
The ferry takes about 7 hours (100 miles) with grey skies and low cloud there wasn't much to see. Been the only motorcycle with stickers all over it, with a foreign plate I met loads of people who were curious about the bike and my travels.
Arriving at Haida Gwaii i drove into Queen Charlotte town and found somewhere to stay, next door was a seafood restaurant, on walking in a couple i met on the ferry asked if i would like to join them. The husband a Geologist, originally form Ethiopia, the wife a speech therapist from Canada. After the meal i was told that they had taken care of the bill, amazing generosity to someone they just met. Thank you both so much.

Setting out to conquer the Island, there is only one paved road connecting the communities on the north island, 90 mile in length. I opted to take the logging roads to the top of the island and the highway back down. The island is small, I managed to see all the sights suggested at the tourist information, visit some museums and galleries in a day, but in fairness i wasn't hanging about and i travel lot quicker than the other traffic on the unpaved sections of road.
Haida Gwaii is the territory of the Haida nation (hence name), around the island you can see some of the history, some preserved, some decaying and scattered, some new. 
Totem was the word of the day, i saw loads, they were/are used to recount legends, clan lineages and notable events
Tow Hill is at the north of the island, i was told to go and see the blow hole and drive along the beach. I arrived at high tide, i drove for about a mile along the beach then not able to go any further i turned around. A short hike through the forest brings you to the blow hole, unfortunately it wasn't blowing, bad timing!
Meandering back down the island filling the afternoon stopping at the galleries and museums along the islands arterial paved road. 
The ferry left Haida Gwaii at 11pm. With bike strapped down i found a found a seat and settled in for the night.

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