Alaska 2008

Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

30 June 2008

General Information

Local Map

Photographs and Commentary
Click on pictures to enlarge

The best laid plans of mice, men or Susie sometime go astray. And astray they went. Queen Charlotte Adventures, the tour operator that we had booked a trip with, cancelled the trip we scheduled for today because they didn't have enough people to go. We asked them to call us a let us know if we can do the tour on Tuesday and never heard back from them. Since they proved to be so unreliable, we went to the Queen Charlotte Islands Visitors Center, a few hundred yards from the hotel and asked what they would recommend. Maureen, the manager, suggested that we take a flight to Ninstints, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the south end of the Archipelago. We would be flown to a nearby island on a float plane and would take a Zodiac boat to Ninstints. We agreed to to do this trip which would mean splitting the charter with another couple. This afternoon we went back to the Visitors Center and Maureen advised us that she had not heard back from the air charter company. She called and was advised that they will get back to us. One way or the other we will get a tour, either to Ninstints or Skedans, our original destination. So now we are waiting to hear from either Maureen or the air charter company.

Since we had the day to ourselves, we decided to drive north a bit to the town of Tlell. This town has a number of galleries exhibiting and selling Haida crafts. We only visited one of them. They had some beautiful cedar and argillite carvings. Argillite is a mineral that is very rare and this particular argillite can only be found on the Queen Charlotte Islands. They were quite expensive and I breathed a sigh of relief when Susie walked out empty handed. I don't think my ordeal is over yet.

This afternoon we went to the Haida Heritage Center. This is a new museum that is partially completed and is supposed to house a lot Haida artifacts and crafts from current and past artisans. The museum is officially scheduled to open in August and it does not look like the timeline will be met. Nonetheless, this was an interesting place to visit and we had a great guide to walk us through some of it.

All in all, an interesting day.

Bear carved out of a tree trunk at a parking area for one of the local beaches

This beach was easily a mile long and these were the only swimmers. Of course, it should be noted that the air temperature was around 62 degrees.


We have been trying to photograph some of the large wildlife during our trip and thought it would be appropriate to show some of the smaller wildlife. This bee was photographed near the beach shown above.

Two eagles

Eagles seem to be as common here as pigeons are in New York. Every time I look out from our balcony I see them flying around. This afternoon I saw these two sitting on a tree not far from the hotel. The difference between the two of them is that one on the left is an immature bird and has not developed the characteristic white head feathers.

Bearskin Bay

A view of Bearskin Bay on which Queen Charlotte City is located.

Sailboat on Bearskin Bay

A sailboat on Bearskin Bay. This photograph was shot through an arch created by a driftwood log.

Log Barge

A log barge loading timber on Bearskin Bay. The logs are floated to the barge and the cranes load them on the barge. The logging industry is one of the economic mainstays of the islands but it is in decline.

Haida Heritage Center, Skidegate

Skidgatge 1880s

Skidegate, circa 1880, before smallpox decimated the population. The Heritage Center is located on the site of the town.


Canoes in the carving shed

Totem in carving shed

A totem pole in the process of being carved in the carving shed


Right, a live raven sitting on top of the eagle on one of the poles. The two major clans are the Eagle and Raven and it looks like the raven is trying to "upstage" the eagle.

Raven on eagle


Totem Totem
Totem Totem
Totem Totem
These totem poles were carved by contemporary Haida carvers and erected in 2001. . Unlike traditional poles they do not represent a single family but contain multiple crests that represent the six villages of the Southern Haidas.
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