We are currently in Ketchikan, AK, (May
27) where I can finally catch up
on our cruising emails. I will be sending
several while we are here and we
hope that you continue to enjoy them.
This is a picture story of a First Nation's community
in British Columbia called Hartley Bay. In
2006, when the BC Ferry "The Queen of
the North" hit a rock in the middle of
the night and sank at nearby Gil Island
in Wright Sound - with about a hundred
people on board - it was this community
that responded to the call for help.
The following website has a short overview
of the community and of the rescue efforts
(with links to other sites for more on that
This is Bob Hill who is the Chief Councilor
of the Gitk'a'ata Tribe of about 200 people
who make up the Hartley Bay community.
remains mystified by people making
such a big thing over the help the community
gave in the sinking episode. Their attitude
was: "Of course! You always help whenever
needed. It is the way of a sea-faring
He was kind enough to tour us around the village
and the community center building.
This is really a longhouse enclosed in
a modern building that functions as a
is also the place where many of the passengers
from the ferry were brought after the sinking.
The sinking took about an hour because the
boat was hung up on a rock for a period of
time. That detail allowed the evacuation
and rescue and saved many lives. Bob
is very proud of his community, especially
his young people who apparently sounded the
first alarm (after midnight).
The inside of the building has decorated walls...
also has a fire pit that can actually
be used (very cautiously) for special ceremonies.
says that in the near future the community
will gather the elders and listen to what he
calls a "historical
was an interesting term for what I would
still call "oral history." The
community does not want to lose its traditions,
so they will try to capture and write down
the knowledge as it is spoken. The sense
of respect for elders is very strong here.
Here is a monument to a very special elder,
erected as a tribute to all elders for
passing on the culture of the tribe. The picture
on the right allows you to see the inscription
honoring Ambrose Robinson. It says: "Teach
us to number our days that we may apply our
wisdom." Psalm 90
The community is receiving some nice attention
from the BC Ferry because of their help with
the rescue effort and is now able
to upgrade some of its dock ramps and
create a playground. Here is the new ramp
ready to be put in place.
here's another thing about Hartley Bay that
is unique in BC. Boardwalks.
boardwalks really took me by surprise.
Here is the school.
just how unique the boardwalks are. This is
the only boardwalk community in British Columbia.
Alaska has several such communities (Elfin
Cove and Pelican come to mind), but this is
certainly the only one I've ever seen in BC.
approaching Hartley Bay from
the water, this marina looks a bit iffy
because the actual harbor is so hidden behind
the breakwater at the right. For boats our
size, we need to know that there is space
for us behind the breakwater.
cruised in far enough to look down the fairway
next to the breakwater and could see there
would normally be lots of room for us. However,
the large barge with the new ramp was clogging
things up pretty badly and we couldn't see
past it. We decided to go to Coghlan Anchorage
and anchor and come back for a visit in the
dinghy. I'm really glad we did.
is what is hidden from view. Two very large
bays for side ties.
time we'll come all the way in and dock. Perhaps
by our next visit they will have not only the
ramp in place, but also their planned new marina
with grocery store and laundry and showers
will be in progress. For
now, just a nice dock and a walk through
the community is worth a stop here.
M/V Royal Sounder