Sea Kayaking in the Queen Charlotte Islands

June 26, 1998

Dan Geiger, Associate Coordinator of the UO Outdoor Program, shared with the potluckers a unique outdoor experience: Do you hikers hanker to give your aching feet a vacation? Try an 18-day sea kayaking tour of the nature preserve that encompasses the southern third of the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia.

However, be prepared for some wicked logistics (which included dealing with the crusty captain of the halibut fishing boat that took the kayakers to their starting point and shuttled them back at the end). Eighteen-foot tides, advancing daily, play havoc with one’s normal circadian routine! A tide table booklet is essential.

The nature preserve is a pristine area (preserved only after a bitter battle with the logging interests, of course). Inches thick moss carpets the old growth forest. Fast flowing streams abound and there is no concern with giardia! Freshly harvested fish and shellfish are almost daily fare.

The Haida Indians had this Eden all to themselves and were accomplished artists. Yet they felt compelled to also be fierce warriors, raiding up and down the northwest coast a la Viking, even taking slaves! But the coming of the white man bearing the gift of smallpox put an end to that, almost wiping out the Haida (and eventually much of the forest). The few remaining Haida continue their artistic endeavors. The UO Outdoor Program initiates a wide variety of activities, extending even to international trips; however, it should be noted that the trips are not sponsored by the University or organized by the Program. The Program primarily serves as a resource center and clearing house for individuals to come together and organize activities in somewhat the same way as is done by the Obsidians.

Bep Fontana

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