July 25th

July 25, 2010

A first glimpse of the Haida Gwaii.

Last I heard from the kayakers, they were crouched in the corner of the kayak outfitter’s gear shop transferring funds, repackaging pastas and peanuts, and making their last calls to their families.  The stuttering picture that Skype was transmitting to me caught Lauren grimacing with an exaggerated expression of anxiety and Fiona counting cans of beans, reminding me that for all the glamour that one dreams can surround an “expedition,” the preparation for any lengthy backcountry excursion is always more business than fun.  Lauren looked at me very seriously and explained, “We really aren’t in the Bubble anymore,”  (the Bubble, of course, being the buffer that protects liberal arts college students from the facts of life in the “real” world).

A former professor of ours once described the experience of graduating from college as being kicked out of paradise, and, indeed, as these Eves make their transition from that “paradise” to the next, we have found ourselves experiencing the pain of that kick in a variety of different ways.

Still, we have found ourselves bound and determined to hold onto the naiveté that has gotten us this far in the hopes that it amounts to something with just enough gravity to hold us down.  And, indeed, our collaborative efforts won us the funds to do exactly what we want to be doing, and our organization (if at times a bit…round-about) got Tara, Fiona, and Lauren up to Haida Gwaii and onto its coastal waters.

It is July 25th, which means the kayakers are winding down their fifth day on the water.  They put in on the 21st, and finally reached the border of Gwaii Haanas on the 23rd.  They have gotten glimpses of Hecate Straight through the window of Laskeek Bay and they may have seen whales in those forbidden waters.   On the 23rd, they camped with Glady’s, the watch woman elder that stays at the historical sight where they are bedded down.  “Watchmen” are basically Haida campground hosts who are responsible for educating visitors and watching over historically significant sights.  Glady’s not only serves to remind Tara, Fiona and Lauren that they are in environmentally protected country, but that they are in Haida country.  Where her feet meet the ground is where the deep human history of the islands meets the land that has given birth to their traditions.

Tara, Lauren and Fiona are determined to take their time traveling down the coast, so they will spend today in the hot springs in the hopes of spotting “enormous” bears, as Fiona put it.  Maybe they’re singing or bickering, maybe Lauren is trying to figure out how to adjust the ISO on her new camera while Tara explores the potential of her tiny HD camcorder on loan from National Geographic.  Either way, the cans have been counted, the funds transferred, and hopefully Lauren has stopped grimacing.  They have begun.  Whatever this thing we have dreamt up is, it is underway.

by Julia DeWitt

Pre-departure Pre-post

July 7, 2010

We are busy gathering dry bags, mustering our courage, and wrapping up our first round of adventures.  Tara is returning from Italy, Lauren is three weeks into her month stay in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, Fiona is off of the Washington coast leading sea kayaking trips, and Julia is surfing in California.  We will begin regularly posting here on July 20th, so please do check back in then.  In the mean time, feel free to peruse the pages that we do have up and running.  We thank you much for visiting our blog.