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A tourist on Haida Gwaii

Something about Haida Gwaii has called me back ever since the first time I ever visited.

It may have been due to the fact that the first time I visited I drank from St Mary's Spring. At that time it had running water and it was said that if you drank from the spring you were certain to visit again. Now some 25 years later the spring has dried up, and it is said, if you make a wish you will be sure to return.

I have been to Haida Gwaii 5 other times and I still feel the draw. I truly love it here, its so natural, so full of the sweet and not so sweet sounds of birds, if you listen closely you can hear the wings of the eagles flapping on take off and landing. There is miles of beach, mostly rocky but some with amazingly walkable sand. When I go for a walk I keep my flip flops (for those of a certain age: be careful not to call them thongs)on until I am finished with the rocks and then go barefoot in the sand for as far as I can, listening to the waves as they make there way in to splash against the shore Lhamo's favourite place is the beach.

This visit is not quite the same as all the others; Canadian society has finally started to recognize the wrongs done to the first nations people and are making small steps toward reconciliation. Aside from the name change from Queen Charlotte Islands, one of those steps, on Haida Gwaii, to rename the communities with their Haida names and the road signage has both English and Haida on them. The progressive CoOp grocery has the isle signs in Haida at the front of the store and English on the reverse side facing the back of the store. Those are just a few differences Ive noticed on this visit to the Islands.

Living in Plan B for this vacation I have made use of the garbage bins labelled for Tourist use only; and enjoyed finding quiet spaces to park and enjoy solitude and play. Travelling with this ShihTzu involves a lot of play. The roadside rest areas have pit toilets but all are immaculately maintained and most always well stocked with T Paper and Hand Sanitizer. As a side note I noticed the same on Vancouver Island rest areas too.

I have been very fortunate to spend a whole month here and I have many thanks to my friend Cacelia

(we worked together at the Tswassen Postal Terminal over 40 years ago)who allowed me to plug into her electricity while I visited the area.

Cacelia has owned a Bed and Breakfast in Tlell, BC for about 30 years and comes highly recommended for those looking for a place to stay while visiting Haida Gwaii. Cacelia and I have had a good time catching up and spending time together. She also has a dog, Luna, who is part ShihTzu and part terrier. It took about a week but the two dogs tolorate each other now and sometimes enjoy a quick play.

Ive met many other tourists during my time here, many were cycling the island. It brought back memories of a trip that my ex-husband and I cycled the islands. Truly a marvellous way to tour. You experience the sights and sounds and smells as you ride; an experience that only happens in the open air. And although I no longer cycle, I recommend it to everyone.

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