Jen and I were both excited to bring our son Kiel up to the Great Bear Rainforest to show him where his name came from and to immerse him into the culture that would guide him throughout his life. We made the long road trip from Squamish to Prince Rupert where I picked up my new Bridgeview fishing boat.
We stopped first to see Roy Vickers in Hazelton at his beautiful home on the Skeena River and we were so happy to see an old friend there as well Karmen Smith, who was helping Roy get ready for the Kispiox Rodeo. Roy gave a signed copy of his brand new book, Cloudwalker, to Kiel. Kiel was so excited about the book which brought a smile to Roy’s face. I have been reading to Kiel since before he was born and anytime I pull out a book he vibrates in excitement. This is an awesome book on the origins of the Sacred Headwaters of Northern British Columbia. Thanks Roy!!
In the last couple of years I have really wanted to get a boat to support my sup expeditions up here and I must say Kiel inspired me to pull the trigger. This boat will also allow me to take more people into the Great Bear to experience this incredible area. If your interested in coming to the Great Bear with your friends or family for fishing, wildlife viewing, photo shoots or general exploration contact us for our daily rates or custom packages.
With a fully loaded boat we made our way down the Douglas Channel from Kitimat to Hartley Bay. We battled against a solid inflow but made it down to Hartley Bay safe and sound. The sense of freedom you have in owning your own boat and being able to take your family with you is a pretty good feeling. Aside from a really unfortunate incident when we arrived in Hartley Bay is was great to be back to see my family and friends.
The following day we made our way down to Kiel. Kiel is a traditional Gitga’at fishing village and traditional food harvesting camp where the people of Hartley Bay have gone for centuries to harvest halibut, salmon, abalone, seaweed and all kinds of food from the ocean. It is places like these that we must protect from the threat of oil tankers. This village also represents the name of our son and we were honoured to give Kiel this name which has some much meaning. Boy or girl our first child was going to be named Kiel.
We spent the weekend in Kiel enjoying camp life, fishing and seeing close friends. Kiel had a chance to see halibut and seaweed being brought into the camp and processed. He seemed to enjoy the boat but on more than one occasion we began to give him the nickname, Screamin Eagle for his loud shrieks of displeasure or hunger. We brought with us a couple of Boardworks inflatables including the 10’6″ Badfish MCIT and our new Shubu Raven. The inflatables are just so amazing for travel and the exploration and trips we are doing in the Great Bear Rainforest. Jen was excited to explore Sea Lion rock on the Badfish which provided a stable platform for picture taking.
It felt really good to be back in Great Bear Rainforest, we saw a number of Humpback Whales and there was a couple of Transient Killer Whales in the area but we never got a chance to see them. We also had dinner with Hermann Meunter, the whale researcher who lives on Gil Island. Last year Standup4Greatbear donated money towards the purchase of a new hydrophone to help the lab monitor Humpback and Killer Whale calls in the area.
We made our way back to Hartley Bay and spent the next few days up there fishing and exploring on the new boat. Jen managed to land our first beautiful Chinook salmon on the boat after missing a big one that peeled off a bunch of line never to been seen.
We were also incredibly fortunate to see two young Grizzly Bears feeding on sedge grass in Malsey Bay right around the corner from Hartley Bay. I showed Gitga’at Bear Guide Marven Robinson the shots and he was surprised as he nor anyone else had seen Grizzly’s in this little river so close to the village. The Screamin Eagle managed to scare them into the bush but it was an incredible sighting right from the boat.
I ended up having to deal with some health issues so we had to cut the trip short and make our way back to Vancouver. Big thanks to Cam and Eva Hill and Lynne and Ernie Hill for all the support and care.
I am excited to get back up there at the end of July for some fishing and Norm Hann Expeditions will be back up for two more sup trips at the end of August and early september. If you interested in visiting the area contact us for rates.