Official Blog of the Great Bear II
First class wilderness adventures and holiday cruises on the coast of British Columbia.
Monday July 12, 2021
FROM OCEAN DEBRIS TO OCEAN ART... TIARE BUOYS
Marine debris found on a shoreline during the Marine Debris Removal Initiative #MDRI. Photo Credit: Francoise GervaisAfter an introduction from a fisherman friend to the mother of artist Tiare Boyes, Eric promised to bring home buoys from the Marine Debris Removal he was heading out to take part in. As you will learn in Tiare's story and see in photos here, Eric fulfilled his promise to bring home some buoys he found, labelled with where they came from which is what Tiare shares with each piece of art she creates, using these buoys as her canvas.
This is a story about the daughter in a fishing family, who is also a scientist, a diver, and an artist, whose connection to the ocean is as strong and steady as the tides... and... a story about how she turns Ocean Debris into Ocean Art. Being a part of this epic Marine Debris Removal Initiative #MDRI, that despite the implications, gives us hope, especially when we learn about people like Tiare whose passion for the ocean, inspires not only her art, but her ongoing "dedication to actions that help keep our coastal waters healthy."
If you would like to purchase a piece of Tiare's artwork, please visit tiarebuoys.com to see what she has for sale, currently she has a waiting list for pieces as each one takes over 10 hours to complete and each original piece is painted by hand. You can contact her to get on her waiting list.
On the back of our Great Bear II, Eric and Tiare bring back a HUGE bag of floats and buoys. Photo Credit: Tiare Boyes
Sunday June 27, 2021
ON THE SLIPPERY BACK OF A DRAGON
"On the Slippery Back of a Dragon" is by talented Photographer and Chef, Cindy Lewis, who is normally creating beautiful food for our guests and crew.
In May and June, Cindy joined us to take part in the Marine Debris Removal (MDRI) project working on the very outer coast of the Great Bear Rainforest in the territories of the Kitasoo Xai'xais People of Klemtu and the Gitga'at People of Hartley Bay.
In addition to our Ocean Adventures crew, on our MV Great Bear II, crews from 4 other boat based tour companies, crews from Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu, crews from the Gitga'at in Hartley Bay and crews from Gitxaala in Kitkatla took part in the debris clean up. The tug and barge was from Heiltsuk Horizon and the helicopter is from Airspan. Fox Disposal in Port Hardy, the 7 mile landfill operated by Mt. Waddington District, and Ocean Legacy have supported the clean up by receiving and processing the debris, including that which is being recycled. A huge thank you to Heiltsuk Tribal Council (Bella Bella), Kitasoo Xai'xais (Klemtu), Gitga'at (Hartley Bay) and Gitxaala (Kitkatla) in whose territories the clean up took place. The project was supported by the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC (WTABC) and the BC Ministry of the Environment's Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund.
A total of 204 metric tonnes of marine debris was removed, over two 20-day expeditions. While the majority of crew members on other boats worked one of the two 20-day expeditions, our crew chose to work both expeditions which meant they could avoid additional COVID-19 related quarantines once the initial 14-day quarantine was completed.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will share stories and photos with you about MDRI 2021, sharing facts, figures, and what we hope this project inspires.
Here is Cindy's story, "On the Slippery Back of a Dragon" which we hope will help everyone understand that this was no walk on the "beach"!
The Marine Debris Removal project for 2021 is now completed and Cindy is back home, with bruises, bumps and bug bites healing nicely... and with the old glass float that she did find on the 2nd expedition.
A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone involved, for your commitment and hard work in often very challenging conditions. A special thank you to our crew for diligently following Work Safe BC regulations and staying safe out there on the "slippery back of a dragon", as Cindy best described.
From BC Parks, regarding nesting seabirds (and others):
"The following numbers are from the first version of the Ecological Reserve Guide published in 1993. Eight species of seabirds nest on these islands. An estimated 2000 pairs of Leach's and fork-tailed storm-petrels nest on the forest floor at scattered locations where substrates are suitable for burrowing. In excess of 7000 pairs of Cassin's auklets and 1500 of rhinoceros auklets, as well as burrow-nesters, utilize open forest and grassy slopes near shoreline. A colony of 50 pairs of tufted puffins, the only significant breeding site along the Mainland Coast, is present on grassy slopes on one of the islands. A population of about 250 pairs of glaucous-winged gulls nest on exposed headlands, while an estimated 50 pairs of black oystercatchers utilize rocky headlands and some beaches as nest sites. At least two pairs of peregrine falcons nest in trees here, the only recent occurrence of such nesting known in North America. Their usual nest sites, steep cliffs, are lacking but food in the form of seabirds is abundant, therefore the falcons have resorted to using old bald eagle nests."
Learn more about yellow listed Rhinoceros Auklets:
Learn more about Leach's Storm Petrels:
Learn about Fork Tailed Storm Petrels:
Friday, May 28, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
THRIVING TOGETHER: SALMON, BERRIES, AND PEOPLE
An enlightening and soul-touching piece from our Heiltsuk mentor and friend, ‘Cúagilákv (Jess Housty):
"The salmonberry plant has nourished and healed Indigenous communities of the Pacific Northwest coast for countless generations, but its significance goes far beyond its value as food."
‘Cúagilákv (Jess Housty) says in part:
"The stewardship pathways they" (Jess's children) "are building with salmon, salmonberries, and our other nonhuman kin open them to lessons about reciprocity and interdependence that I know will inspire patience and careful observation. From that quiet place, respect and wisdom will grow. And if there is one lesson I have carried forward, one lesson I hope to instill in my children, it's the importance of thriving together."
I promise you will see Salmonberries for much more than food and photos when you read Jess's story in full:
Sunday, January 16, 2021
"I believe the best way to begin reconnecting humanity's heart, mind and soul to nature is for us to share our individual stories."
~J. Drew Lanham
Sitting quietly in our zodiac against the bank of a river in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, breathing in the earthy, early morning air, we wait in quiet anticipation of what this morning will reveal.
As the sun begins to peek over the polished granite walls that rise thousands of feet out of this river estuary, golden grasses and gulls, are softly lit by the advancing light. The gulls warm in the sun and awaken, their cacophony breaking the quiet as they make their way to the river for breakfast.
Already at the river, the Eagles warn the approaching clouds of gulls, not to get too close to the salmon carcasses they have already claimed, undoubtedly left there by the masters of this domain. The dance begins with Gulls challenging each other and even a stoic Bald eagle, while keeping eyes on an encroaching Raven. As if to demonstrate his absolute claim, the eagle sinks his talons further into the head of a Chum salmon carcass and stands resolutely.
As the rituals continue to pervade this soul stirring river estuary, we hear the tell tale sound of large, soft paws walking on gravel and river rock. Around the corner in the river above us shuffles a very well fed, male Grizzly Bear with sleepy eyes.
Our thumping hearts are not thumping in fear, but in the excitement of what we have been gifted. With complete trust in our intentions, this big guy walks from salmon to salmon, sniffing them, gently pawing them, and then finally settling on one that is just right.
Delicacies of fatty salmon underbellies and skin are prized finds along this river. Taking a piece of skin near the salmon's head, in his teeth, and with one behemoth paw on the head of the salmon, this obviously experienced bear strips the skin of the salmon, in one piece, from head to tail. With each mouthful that he eats, the bear lifts his head and slowly savours every morsel.
After some time passes and this gentle giant has had his fill of salmon, he shakes himself, licks his lips and continues slowly down the river and out of sight, leaving us listening to the music of his large, soft paws on the gravel and river rock.
A hush remains over the zodiac as we all process what we have just witnessed, including the true nature of this huge male Grizzly Bear.
Every move this beauty made was made knowing we were there, and trusting that we would just sit peacefully, and quietly while he ate. Like his ancestors before him, this bear's intuition is finely tuned.
On this day, this bear taught 4 people, new to Grizzly Bears, and reminded two of us, that these bears are not the man-eating monsters that their killers want us to believe, but intelligent, intuitive, trusting, trustworthy bears, just being bears.
Join us... and discover how "you're connected with everything."
First class BC wilderness cruises, coastal tours and charters on the West Coast of British Columbia aboard the 54 ft. Great Bear II, out of Vancouver, BC.
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