Man I've been waiting for this talk with massive amounts of anticipation. A few weeks back, tickets went on sale by the good folks at Siska for a talk by Shawna and Leon, two of the three members involved in a filmed expedition around (and through) The Queen Charlotte Islands. Held at the University of Victoria, the 280 person capacity hall was filled almost completely by so many familiar faces in the Kayaking community. To start off the night's lecture, we were first treated to an overview from a former Haida Gwaii Visitor center manager, Maureen Weddell.

Paula won a door prize

In a way, I'm really glad that her lecture went first, as it was a great primer to those not completely familiar with the geography of the archipelago. Maureen Weddell was in charge of the center during Shawna and Leon's paddle and was one of the many contacts they made on their trip. Her presentation was simple and clear: A large map sat projected behind her as she spoke mostly about what to know about the economy, people and places in the area. Her portion of the talk was fairly brief and really informative, especially concerning Skidegate, Masset and Queen Charlotte.

Shawna and leon take the stage

Following a brief door prize raffle, Shawna and Leon took to the stage and worked quickly to get their presentation started. It turns out that they took a month to do a figure 8 of Haida Gwaii and every bit of it except maybe the west coast swells has been added to my kayaking checklist at some point. They're super entertaining speakers, keeping the whole place laughing and ohhing and awing with their photographic fireworks. It sounds like they definitely did the trip properly, though - save for a few malfunctioning movie cameras.

The kayak that did the charlottes

Some of the highlights of the talk were the bit on Langara island's little fishing commerce ecosystem. The flashed a few photos of this mobile marine operation that would tow a floating hotel from Vancouver out to the northwest shore of Graham Island and quickly dispatch fishing charters and helicopters in all directions in the hunt for wild salmon shoals to fish. The nature of this operation was transient and kind of disturbing for the surrounding environment. On a cultural note, in addition to meeting famous contemporary Haida carvers and jewellers in Masset and beyond, there's another story of previous explorers of Haida Gwaii. On the south shore of Moresby island, there are a number of emergency pull outs with cabins to evade bad weather. They showed a number of photos of this area as well as some of the beaches, that just look out of this world! This talk was a perfect follow up for those who have watched the Haida Gwaii part of This is the Sea 4. I can't thank the Siska members enough enough for putting it on and letting this interesting bunch tell us a little about the area and how to plan.

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