Getting ready for the summer season is no easy task but with the helping hands of so many wonderful people in the North Island community we’ve had a very successful start up to the 2014 season out at Robson Bight!
Firstly, Ernest, Alexander and Marie set-up the Cliff aka Eagle Eye. This includes many grueling trips up and down the steep trail with heavy gear, batteries and solar panels. But once you’re at the top with the brilliant view you forget all about the journey up!
Secondly, Leah Robinson and Marie towed the warden dock from Growler cove (where it winters) to Boat Bay. It started out as a very wet and windy day but turned out to be a stunning day in Boat Bay. This task includes towing, anchoring and setting up the pulley system so the wardens can access the Warden #1 easily.
Thirdly is camp set up…the more hands for this the better! Harry Alfred, Kim Peterson, Benji Rufus, Ernest Alfred and Marie loaded up the ‘Namgis landing craft in Alert bay and headed out to Boat Bay to catch the high tide. We unloaded the boatload of gear and with so many helping hands we got many things fixed up in camp including solar panels, stairs, the roof, etc. We were rewarded for our hard work with a passing of the A36 brothers, a humpback whale and a few minke whales!
Lastly, was staff training and the pre-season meeting. We have new and old staff this year: Marie Fournier as coordinator of the Warden program, Ernest Alfred as cultural interpreter, Albert Michaud and Stewart Butler as Wardens, Leah Thorpe and Megan Baker as Straitwatch representatives and so far we have Courtnay Wilson as our first volunteer for the summer. We spend one day learning about Cetus, local marine mammals, the BWW guidelines and the Namgis First Nation. Thank you to the Cook Shack and U’mista Cultural Centre for your hospitality! The second day of training involved on the water boat handling skills, vessel set-up and maintenance, safety, boat approaches and distance training as well as reviewing the BWW guidelines in action as we had a minke whale in the area of our vessel training! Then we all attended the annual pre-season meeting in Telegragh Cove at the Whale Interpretive Centre hosted by NIMMSA. This includes a meet and greet (and dinner) with all the local whale watch operators, eco tour groups (such as kayaks), First nations, marine mammal researchers, other NGOs, DFO and other interested parties. After dinner there are a few presentations/updates about what will be going on in the area this season…always a fun and informative evening!
The next day we headed to camp and had a wonderful welcoming dinner of BBQ sockeye salmon or T’lubukw cooked by the fire. Delicious! Canada Day was a great first day on the water. We are all happy to be here and very excited for the upcoming season!