January morning in the sun Haida Gwaii

Well, it’s definitely a blue sea sky day today. After days and days under the “pot lid”, the fog has lifted, the skies have cleared and it’s glorious. The air is about 9 degrees C  (48 F) Balmy! The sky is a brilliant blazing blue and the birds’ songs have a lilting rise that sounds like spring.

Skidegate Inlet looking west.

Skidegate Inlet looking west.

This morning there is barely a breeze from the north, and the tides are running from a high of 6.8 metres (22.3  ft) at 11 this morning, to a low of 0.8 metres (2.6 ft)  at supper time. The moon is on the wane. The air pressure is at 1021 hPa. We are under a High. Nice!

It has been a surprisingly mild winter this year: very little cold weather and very few storms. Not much drama so far. If it should all take a dump and turn for the worse now we are all going to be shocked – me, my neighbours, the sprouting tulips, and the chirruping sparrows!

Therefor, I went out for a walk. It’s the same short walk along the same path that I have been doing for some 20 years.

I walk along the side of Haida Gwaii’s only highway where it curves around and through Skidegate Landing where the “big” ferry and the “little” ferry dock.

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Skidegate Landing looking east.

The “little” ferry is the Kwuna passenger and vehicle ferry that makes the 20-minute run across Skidegate Inlet between Graham Island in the north, and Moresby Island to the south. The “big” ferry is the vessel that makes the 6- to 7-hour voyage across Hecate Strait from Prince Rupert, either the “Northern Adventure” or the “Northern Expedition.” The ferries, of course, are vital transportation links to the Canadian mainland and proposed cut-backs in their schedules by BC Ferries are hot topics in Island communities.

The comings and goings of the ferries and their traffic mark the hours in the passing day where I live. Coming up to the hour I hear the ferry pulling in to the wharf and as the hour passes, the ferry heads back toward Alliford Bay on the other side of the Inlet.

Over the years, I have come to judge quarter-to the hour, or quarter-after by how far the ferry is across the passage. For my need to keep time, this is generally sufficient.

Past the ferry landing,  I meander either down to the beach or out to the The Point to take in The View. It’s always the same view, of course. But it changes everyday. And as has been usual for the past couple of months, this large group of sea lions are lolling around just off The Point.

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Sea lions in Skidegate Inlet – photo C. Davies

I cannot imagine how much food there must be in these waters. The Point is known as a high energy zone and this large group represents a lot of tonnage feeding in a relatively small area. They cruise back and forth along the coast all packed up together alongside each other, huffing and puffing away. They have been here for weeks and weeks. They were in this same spot for a long time last year too.
I often hear them at night – coughing, snorting, sneezing, barking and haaruuum-phing. The Sea Lion Chorus.

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The sea lion chorus. – photo C. Davies

There are other signs of spring too – here are the snow drops down under the Old Oak Tree.

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Snowdrops (Galanthus) in the morning sun, Jan. 28, 2014 -photo C. Davies

Apparently in Great Britain (and in Canada too, I imagine) there are a group of people called galanthophiles, who, about this time of year, become more than a little unhinged about … snowdrops. There are snowdrop galas, and snowdrop parties, snowdrop prizes, snowdrop sales and even snowdrop thefts. The frenzy must be something like the tulip craze in the Netherlands in times gone by.

In today’s Telegraph, Val Bourne reports:
“Virescent snowdrops (ie green-tinged), are the current must-haves and ‘Green Tear’ (a fantastic snowdrop discovered by Gert-Jan van der Kolk near Zutphen in The Netherlands) is the Holy Grail because most can’t get it. One bulbhas already fetched £300 on eBay and last year another single bulb went for £360.”

Who-leeee. Who knew? I don’t think I’ll be trying that one at home.

And for those still heavy laden with ice and snow beneath the Arctic blast here are the very beautiful harbingers of hope for the spring.

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About blue sea sky

By Cynthia Jones Davies, writer researcher who lives on Haida Gwaii.
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2 Responses to January morning in the sun Haida Gwaii

  1. John says:

    Did you receive a hit from San Francisco this time? Maybe another one from Myanmar? Great post, made me laugh. Off on the great jaunt across the Pacific… J

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