John Harvey Photo

Tanu

Go to Slide Show Smaller Images Our last watchmen site



Previous: Hot Spring Island

The lowest tide of the day was in the morning so our morning kayaks revealed an underwater wonderland.  I had this belief that Haida Gwaii is a pristine time capsule of BC from the past.  Sadly, the truth is far from it.  For example, deer were introduced between 1878 and 1925 and have been eating the under story of all of the islands ever since.  Cedar trees are common in older trees, but there are almost no saplings to be found because the deer eat them all.  Similarly, at the end of the 1800's the Sea Otters had been extirpated from Haida Gwaii and with them went the main predator for sea urchins.  The results have been catastrophic.

At the highest part of the rocks, you do see kelp - see kelp on the rocks.  Sea Eurchins don't normally come out of the ocean to feed so the intertidal area are more safe for kelp.

Oyster Catchers On Kelp Covered RocksSea Urchins Out Of Water


This high kelp area does have snail and some sea stars, but it's a hard zone to live in.



If you look under your kayak, you see Sea Urchins everywhere and the rocks are almost devoid of kelp.  Kelp here might look like a forest with habitat for small animals and sea otters.  With the kelp constantly mowed down, there is much less going on here.
 
Sea Urchin BarrensRock Scallop With Orange LipsOrange Sea Cucumbers

 


In the rocks, there is lots of life that isn't threatened by the sea urchin.  Sea stars are common and scallops can be spotted without much effort.  Abalone move around both above and below the water.

Ochre Sea Star Showing SizeRainbow StarOrange AbaloneTwo Sea Cucumbers Mouths Meeting Kelp Lace Bryozoan

We had a fantastic time on the water.  In many ways, this was actually a better spot that Burnaby Narrows.

 

The Water Dock

The Island Solitude doesn't go back to a town every week to reprovision - it stops at Moresby Camp where food and zodiak fuel is brought out, but water is actually provided by a water dock deep in Haida Gwaii.  The dock is close to a stream and a water line has been brought from a deeper pool on the island down to dock to refill boats.  The process of loading ten thousand liters of water does take an hour so we have some time to explore the dock.

Colourful Tube WormsDock Side Anemone And MusselsSea Lemon


Docks provide a unique habitat.  Depending on how the dock in anchored, generally sea stars are sea urchins can't get onto the dock so shellfish can get large.  Generally the dock rides up and down with the tides so the fouling isn't exposed to drying our hot sunlight.  This dock is near the open ocean so there is lots of nutrition in the water.  We were lucky to see lots of tube worms and a few nudibranchs.




While the boat filled up with water we went for a brief walk on shore.  After the boat was full we drove to the Tanu watchman site.  Like all sites, the watchmen try to finish with one boat before the next boat comes on shore.  Maple Leaf arrived before we did so we had a bit of time to kill.
 
Peregrine Falcon Looking Aside
Titul is close by and has cliffs on one side that are known good habitat for Peregrine Falcons.  Sure enough, we spotted two birds flying over the cliff.

Peregrine Falcon Overhead
 
The cliffs had other habitats.  We spotted Pigeon Guillemot nesting in the cliff faces and seals resting on the rocks.  Seals aren't actually that common in the Haida Gwaii (But Biggs Orca) so I was surprised to see a few on the rocks.  By comparison, every shallow rock in the Gulf Islands near Vancouver is a haul out for Harbour Seals and every time you look at the ocean you have a decent chance of seeing a seal looking back at you.

Pigeon Guillemot Getting AirbornePigeon Guillemot On Rock EdgeSeals On Rocks

Tanu

Each of the watchmen sights has their own features and moments.  Tanu has a large number of long house pits has beautiful trails. The trail wraps around the front and back of the houses, showing where gardens were kept when this village site was occupied.
 
Tanu SignTrail Lined With Shells

Corner Post Still Standing
Several of the corner posts with the huge Mortis and Tennon joints are still visible, as are a few roof truss poles. 

Corner Post
 

What is powerful here is the grave sites.  There is a mass grave on this site where the bodies of the small pox outbreak were burried.  The Haida didn't bury bodies - they would normally be kept above ground in a mortuary hose (or a mortuary pole for leaders).  Small Pox came through so quickly here that the bodies couldn't be taken care of and outsiders burried the bodies.  It's a sad story.

The more positive story is the head stone for Bill Reid.  This village site is where Bill Reid's family came from and when he died this is where he wanted his body to go.  He traveled here by Canoe and although he had a western style burial, he is at least land that is meaningful to him.  The watchmen asked us not to take photos of the grave sites.

Nettle GardenSea Urchin Test By Two Pole HouseView Over Village Site

After that sombre walk, we got back on the sailboat and headed to closer to the end of our trip.  As we drove up Cumsjewa Inlet we spotted a small Orca Pod (Male, Female and young whale) and almost at the same time spotted a bear on the beach.  It was a nice way to finish the day.

Male Orca Near ShoreOrcas With Bear On Beach



Black Bear Coming Down RocksBlack Bear On Shore

  Next: Graeme Island



Sea Urchin Barrens
Species: Strongylocentrotus franciscanus (Red Sea Urchin)
Tags: sea urchin, underwater
Orange Abalone
Species: Haliotis kamtschatkana (pinto abalone, Northern abalone, Japanese abalone)
Tags: underwater
Two Sea Cucumbers Mouths Meeting
Tags: underwater
Nettle Garden
Altitude: 26m (85 feet)
Location: Go To...
View Over Village Site
Altitude: 12m (39 feet)
Location: Go To...
Orcas With Bear On Beach
Species: Orcinus orca (killer whale, orca)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Colourful Tube Worms
Species: Metridium senile (Plumose Anemone), Serpula columbiana (Red Tubeworm, Calcareous Tube Worm)
Tags: underwater
Seals On Rocks
Species: Phoca vitulina (Harbor Seal)
Tags: marine mammal
Kelp Lace Bryozoan
Species: Membranipora membranacea (lacy crust bryozoan)
Tags: kelp
Corner Post
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Male Orca Near Shore
Species: Orcinus orca (killer whale, orca)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Dock Side Anemone And Mussels
Tags: underwater
Oyster Catchers On Kelp Covered Rocks
Species: Haematopus bachmani (Black Oystercatcher)
Trail Lined With Shells
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Ochre Sea Star Showing Size
Tags: sea star, underwater
Sea Urchins Out Of Water
Species: Strongylocentrotus franciscanus (Red Sea Urchin), Asterina miniata (Bat Star), Nereocystis luetkeana (Bull Kelp)
Sea Urchin Test By Two Pole House
Altitude: 26m (85 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sea urchin test
Sea Lemon
Species: Peltodoris nobilis (Noble Dorid, sea lemon)
Tags: underwater
Black Bear On Shore
Species: Ursus americanus (American Black Bear)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Rock Scallop With Orange Lips
Species: Crassadoma gigantea (Giant Rock Scallop)
Tags: underwater
Pigeon Guillemot Getting Airborne
Species: Cepphus columba (Pigeon guillemot)
Location: Go To...
Peregrine Falcon Looking Aside
Species: Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird in flight
Orange Sea Cucumbers
Species: Cucumaria miniata (Red Sea Cucumber)
Tags: underwater
Peregrine Falcon Overhead
Species: Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird in flight
Rainbow Star
Species: Orthasterias koehleri (Rainbow Star)
Tags: sea star, underwater
Tanu Sign
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Corner Post Still Standing
Altitude: 26m (85 feet)
Location: Go To...
Pigeon Guillemot On Rock Edge
Species: Cepphus columba (Pigeon guillemot)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Black Bear Coming Down Rocks
Species: Ursus americanus (American Black Bear)
Tags: underwater(13), sea star(2), bird in flight(2), kelp(1), sea urchin(1), sea urchin test(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Haida Gwaii > Tanu
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Haida Gwaii > Graham Island > Tanu

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Last Modified Monday, October 2nd, 2023 at 21:47:42 Edit
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