Friday, 14 July 2017

Alert Bay: Possibly the friendliest town on the BC coast

We didn't plan to spend three nights at the docks at Alert Bay, but there's lots to see and the people are all very, very friendly. It started right off with a very friendly and helpful wharfinger here at the Public Docks (Thanks Steve!). Then, walking the streets, everyone makes a point of saying "Hi", waving etc. We thought Sointula was friendly, but Alert Bay takes a large step further.

The Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation people have been especially welcoming. We've already been to the U'mista Cultural Centre two times on two previous visits (absolutely a "not-to-missed" visit). This time we decided to take in the T'sasala dance performance in the 'Namgis Big House. Normally, visitors do not get to visit the Big House, but they get to do so for the dance performance. The T'sasala group is made up of  Kwakwaka'wakw kids from the very young to teenagers. The performance was both enthralling and educational, and we visitors were made to feel very very welcome. Definitely time well spent and all of us enjoyed it very much. Overall, Alert Bay is probably one of the best places to experience and learn about local First Nation culture and history, and to meet and interact with locals.

T'sasala dance group (Copyright; no commercial use allowed)

T'sasala dance group (Copyright; no commercial use allowed)

We also did a very nice (and not difficult) hike while at Alert Bay: (i) Alert Bay Ecological Gardens (also known as "Gator Gardens), (ii) John Anderson Big Tree Loop, and then (iii) the Gwakawe (North Side) Trail to the Big House. The swamp in the ecological gardens was probably the highlight; the views toward Malcolm Island on the North Side trail were also nice (though not as dramatic as those on the Bere Point trail on Malcolm Island).

The boardwalk in Gator Gardens (Alert Bay Ecological Garden)
 There are many beautiful totem poles around Alert Bay. Some very old and some very new. And always in your face are the antics of the many eagles and huge (and very vocal ravens) around Alert Bay.

All said, Alert Bay is a great place to visit.*

*For boaters: Steve the harbour manager does his best to accommodate visiting boats. IF docks are full, he will arrange rafting, usually to a local's boat who is away and/or not moving. We found the docks to be comfortable and interesting. Note also, there is fairly decent anchoring in the bay between the public docks and the U'mista Centre.  We've found the local grocery store to be not too bad for provisioning (No, not as good as Port Mac). There is a BC Liquor Store and a Vancity Credit Union in the village. There is also a gas station in town (no fuel dock).

1 comment:

  1. Amazing pictures!! Glad you felt welcome within the Alert Bay communities! Warm hugs