The Ferry to Haida Gwaii.
The ferry over to Haida Gwaii is perhaps the longest journey by boat I’ve ever taken. The ferry itself is comfortable and spacious, I suppose more so that it was only half full of passengers as the tourist season hasn't begun as of yet. Aside from the rows of plush chairs angled towards the ferry's windows, there are private cabins, a cafeteria, restaurant, a small theatre lounge where they play movies and of course the open decks above. Rain and wind kept me below deck for the majority of the trip. I did step out briefly to try and take a few pictures but the wind was too strong and reason suggested I was better off staying inside. After wandering around the decks for a bit (I was still amped up on caffeine from the two coffees I had in the morning) I settled into one of the seats and took a moment to relax and let the ferry take me away.
Not long after disembarking from Prince Rupert we had to contend with 2-mete tall waves for about 5 hours. At first it just made me sleepy, but after awhile the continuous rocking back and forth made it was clear to me, I’ll never be a sailor. For me, it was like trying to function normally with a hangover from a previous night of drinking too much creme based liquors. I noticed some people with sleeping bags stretched out between some of the aisle seats. Napping through most of the trip on bad weather days seems the smart thing to do.
Arriving in Haida Gwaii.
Driving off the ferry I had that "Wow, I'm actually here on Haida Gwaii!" moment. It was late evening and I needed to check into the Budgie Travelers Hostel in Port Clements so no time to soak in Skidegate, I made a bee-line north. A 45-minute drive and I arrived at the hostel. Budgie is located atop a grocery store off Bayview St. I met up with the owner Alan and his friendly dog which was all too happy to meet someone new. Being the beginning of April the hostel has yet to ramp up operations. Right now there is just one other guest besides myself.
The hostel is spacious, apparently it was at one time a small dancehall for WW2 veterans. There are about 3-4 dorm rooms, a large kitchen, a lounge with a TV, stacks of fantasy role-playing board games, a pool table, foosball table and a long stand-up bar left over from its former incarnation. The owner is friendly and down to earth, it's a very relaxed environment.
The grocery store below the hostel is the main one for Port Clements and has a great variety of goods. There's a small bakery in store as well and I could smell the baking of bread from upstairs. They even make pizza! All goods arrive fresh at the beginning of every week as I am told by one of the store employees. Prices seem reasonable so no regrets not stocking up on food in Prince Rupert.
It's windy and rainy at the moment so I don't know if I'll be doing much exploring today. I'll be sipping coffee, getting my bearings and making an itinerary for what I plan to do next. Most likely exploring Port Clements and then begin venturing out to the various trails and nearby towns. The adventure begins!