6 June

Yesterday was a day of shopping and chatting so nothing much to write about.

Today we departed Gibson’s at 6am in a light wind. However the water was more exciting due to a tidal flow at the time causing beam seas. I took over the helm half-way, and it felt good to be back on the helm (I had helmed the whole journey from Prince Rupert to Bella Bella two years ago and it felt like an old friend. Being at the helm is, perhaps, where I feel the most contact with nature because I have to both ‘talk’ and ‘listen’ to the water to get the canoe and its crew safely to the destination. You also have to look after the crew and keep a watch on tiredness, morale, and teamwork. I usually work on a schedule of 30 minutes paddling then a break of some kind. Also, if anyone sees anything interesting I will stop the paddling or take a detour – I prefer to enjoy the sights rather than concentrate on a deadline for arrival.

Some 5 hours later we arrived at Sechelt (the government moved four tribes from their homeland to Sechelt) to a welcome by Chief Calvin. The protocol is for the canoe to approach the shore bow first without touching land so that the First Nations representative on the canoe can introduce us, then, when permission has been given to come ashore, the canoe is reversed out and brought in stern first as a sign of respect. Our kit was ferried to the longhouse where we would be sleeping (what an honor!) and we were fed generously, again, with soup, sandwiches, cookies, and drinks. There was then time for more shopping and fast-food joints for those who craved such things. Myself, I was getting sick of civilization with its uncaring crowds and consumeritis. Hope that tomorrow brings some wild back into my life.

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