Port McNiell to Hanson Island via Alert Bay
Our first day on the boat, we traveled East of Port McNiell to Alert
Alert Bay is a small town on Cormorant Island with a proud native
After Alert Bay we continued east into the Broughton Straight (looking
whales) and then up to Hanson Island for an overnight Anchorage.
Coming into Alert
Bay you notice two things - the Big House and the brick building
towering behind it. We laid anchor in the eastern end of the bay
took the Zodiak in. We walked up from the wharf to the U'mista Cultural Centre.
is part museum part school part community center. The highlight
the museum is the "Potlatch Collection" - artifacts that were used for
potlatches that were seized by the government in 1921 when the Potlatch
banned (in 1884). Most of the seized items were held in the
of Canada and they were returned in 1988. The collection (mostly
are arranged as they would appear in a potlatch ceremony. Very
(but not photographs allowed).
We started our walk east toward town. After some homes and a
you come to docks and the ferry terminal. Most people come to
Bay by ferry (from Port McNiell - it's $5.50 return). On the
of the ferry I noticed a large black painting (it's not BC Ferries
and at the end of the dock was a large sign welcoming people - the same
as the ferry. Pretty cool.
The town itself is old and has lots of character. The island
about 1500 permanent residents (+ the summer tourists) so Alert Bay has
number of retail outlets - grocery stores, pubs and ice cream
For the tourists there is bike rentals, a hotel and a really nice info
We continued walking east and came to the 'Namgis Burial Grounds.
'Namgis Burial Grounds, Alert
I had seen many totem poles but they rarely moved me. The totems
museums are generally in pristine condition, sterile and removed from
context. Seeing the totems in the 'Na
is Burial Grounds gave
them a sense of purpose and relayed a story about people I would never
When I got back from the trip, I did some digging and found an
by Hilary Stewart called "Looking
at Totem Poles
". A few of the poles in the 'Na
is Burial Grounds
This pole is a Memorial to Billie Moon. The pole was carved by
Seaweed and Joe Seaweed in Blunden Harbour in 1931. The top
is Thunderbird and figure below is Dzunukwa, "a female with sleepy
Pursed lips and pendulous breasts."
The pole was carved by Tony Hunt
(Jonathan's grandson) with Calvin Hunt
John Livingston and Peter Knox. The top figure is Kolus followed
Cedar Man holding a copper, beneath is Sun in Human form, also holding
copper. The bottom is the killer whale, head turned downward.
Hunt was a good friend of Mungo Martin and his totem is similar.
The pole was carved by Henry Hunt and Tony Hunt. Mungo
is one of the hero's in the Kwakiutal society - he was a prolific totem
and one of the important links that brought the traditional artistic
and knowledge out of the banned pot latch era. This totem pole
the first totem raised in Alert bay in 40 years. The top figure is
followed by Cedar Man with a talking stick. The second from
figure is Raven - caved in memory of David his son.
bottom figure is Dzunukwa, the crest of Mungo's wife.
Other poles aren't listed and unfortunately there isn't a plaque or
there to describe the poles. A Totem Poles brochure describing
figures on poles and artist is available at the Alert Bay Info Centre.
Having seen most of Alert bay, we returned to the boat and left for
next adventure. We traveled east in the Broughton straight
whales. There was a day opening for commercial salmon fishing
up so there was lots of commercial boat traffic in the straight.
passed a fishing resort (Double
) and came to our anchorage - a small bay just past double bay.
Our anchorage (unnamed as far as I can tell) had a few boats already
in the harbour. We laid anchor (the 200 ton Curve of Time needs a
firm anchorage) and set off in Kayaks to explore the area. A
kayak around the rocks and the kelp and we came back for dinner and
Next: Nigei Island
Tags: native art(8), art(7), totem pole(7), small town(6), boat(3), coast(3)
From: John Harvey Photo > Mid Coast of BC on the Curve of Time > Port McNiell to Hanson Island via Alert Bay
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Mid Coast of BC on the Curve of Time > Port McNiell to Hanson Island via Alert Bay
From: John Harvey Photo > Port McNiell to Hanson Island via Alert Bay
u dont give any details on the totem poles
Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 15:40:58
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:29:48 Edit
Copyright and Contact Information.