Thursday, August 5, 2010

A friend of Adele’s eldest returned yesterday to Vancouver from Sandspit on Moresby Island. To get there, one takes a twenty-minute ferry from Skidegate, followed by a 10 km drive to the airport, also the centre of town.

Because I was curious about this former Cold War military site, I asked if I could tag along.

Unlike many B.C. Ferries passages, where the islands are dotted with houses, I did not see a single settlement. Usually there is a house or two -- and if not a house, then a pier leading up to one. Not so on this trip. Nothing but water, rocks, trees and sky.

From Alliford Bay we are thrust into a gauntlet of poplar and fir. A couple turns later and we are hit with a lightning quick picture of the beach. Although Adele admires my curiosity, I can tell she is worried I am wasting my time.

With a single km to go the spit is visible. To our right, the forty-odd houses, parts shops and fishing lodges leading up to it.

By the time we pass tile maker Sid Dickens’s cedar Lego Xanadu, I can see the homes of airport employees, built in the 40's style. But something else catches my eye: a giant steel salmon at the water’s edge.

The sculpture, I later find out from the maquette at the airport, is called “The Spirit of Sandspit”. However, there is nothing of the formline in this representation, nor anywhere else in town. Judging from “The Spirit of Sandspit”, you might think the Haida never existed.

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