Port McNeil, Vancouver Island

While I have lived on Vancouver Island for most of my life, (other than that 1st 18 years of nomadic life in a military family, touching down in most provinces.) I have never spent time on the north end of the Island, other than driving up for a couple of whale watching day trips at Robson Bight’s Telegraph Cove over the years.

Tomorrow, we are heading with our RV for three days to Port Mcneil.

We will be staying at the first nations campground of Cluxewe Resort where the Cluxewe River meets the Broughton Straight. We plan to bird and wildlife watch, try our hand at fly fishing, hike and explore the area.

In the land of the Kwakiutl people. “Cluxewe” has two different, but related, meanings: “place of the changing river mouth” and “place of refuge.” 

This morning we awoke to heavy fog, we can hear the geese and also a foghorn from the lighthouse across the water. The lighthouse is the Pulteney Point Lighthouse, built in 1943 on Malcom Island. It marks the separation of Broughton and Queen Charlotte Straights. Kwakiutl legend tells that their ancestors watched the island rise up out of the water and that someday it would return to its watery grave. For this reason, while the Kwakiutl used the cedar from the island for masks and totem poles they never inhabited it. The Finns had no such qualms and settled the village of Sointula on the island. Hopefully when the fog lifts we will get a good look at it. In the meantime we experience the mist and fog of the North island rainforest.

Estuary on a foggy morning
Lichen

Calli waiting for the day to begin

This afternoon the fog lifted and the blue sky appeared for a brief time. Note to self, always bring a camera when walking, we missed capturing a juvenile eagle perched on driftwood on the beach with its wings spread out to dry after fishing in the ocean. Peter went back with said camera but the young eagle was now in a tree, he got a photo but not what we would have had. Lots of walking and exploring of the grounds.

So far no promised sunshine today, but the grey sky is perfect for photos, such a beautiful place for a morning beach walk.

This afternoon we drove about a half hour towards Port Alice to the Marble River provincial park. The theme was definitely trees of the rainforest. Some parts of the park were blocked off because of a wind storm that swept through in November 2020. So many fallen trees, some roots and all and others snapped off halfway up the trunk. I can imagine the noise of these mighty trees cracking and thundering down to the ground!

We will be heading home today, a few days of being immersed in the waters and forests of the North Island has been a great reset. We would like to explore further, a trip to Alert Bay and Sointula for the future.

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