Gulf Islands - Day 1 - Tsehum to Montague

At 10am this morning, after some basic theory and last minute preparations, Captain Doug, Dr. Steve, Bruce, Andrew and I left Tsehum Harbour on the Saanich Peninsula on a 5 day sail through the southern Gulf Islands. We motored out of harbour through some turbulent currents, passing a number of pacific harbour seals who seemed to be welcoming us to into their territory. I also saw a number of porpoises playing in the currents.

Our first destination was Ganges Harbour on Saltspring Island where we pulled in just to have a snack and stretch our legs. Our exit from harbour took about an hour as we took turns at the helm tacking, this time with the wind ahead of us.

From Ganges, we set sail (hitting speeds up to 7.5 knots) to Montague Harbour Marine Park on Galiano Island where we anchored and Doug, Steve and I were able to enjoy a colorful sunset on Shell Beach with some teenagers who were camping in the area. While we were watching the sunset, we realized that we were standing on a midden - an elevated piece of land that once acted as a waste disposal area for Coast Salish aboriginal pe
oples. Under our feet were millions of tiny pieces of white shell that have been there for thousands of years. There were also remnants of a village just around the peninsula from us and right in the harbour was an ancient rock carving of a raven whose feature were slowly being softened by erosion.

I tried to imagine 3,000 years of culture that had left no scars and very little evidence, except for the telltale white shell that spill onto the beach.

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