On June 1, members of the C3 expedition departed Toronto on a 67 meter Canadian-flagged research icebreaker to travel and explore the length of Canada’s three coastlines. On October 22, the ship will stop near Gambier Island. A number of delegates from the ship will make their way by zodiac over to Camp Fircom where they will connect with locals, including Bowen Islanders Bob Turner and Pauline Le Bel, and learn about Howe Sound.
Project founder Geoff Green says the ship arrived in BC waters on September 29.
“We stopped near the mouth of the Naas River then travelled up the river by zodiac to meet with members of the Nisga’a First Nation,” says Green. “Along the way down the coast, we’ve met so many researchers, including whale researchers. In Alert Bay, we were treated to the opportunity to watch a feeding frenzy of orcas, humpbacks and sea lions.”
Green says scientific research is a big part of the journey and scientific ambassadors have been invited to join the voyage along the way.
“We’ve also had youth ambassadors, first nations, disabled people, newcomers to Canada, and so many other people join us,” says Green. “We call these guests the eyes and ears of Canada, and they might as well be the tastebuds too - food is such an important part of culture, we figured we should invite chefs along to highlight local cuisines as well.”
One unusual treat members of the expedition had the opportunity to try was eulachon oil, sourced in Bella Bella, and added to a soup by chef Jamie Kennedy.
Warren Barr, raised on Bowen Island and currently head-chef at the Wikaninish Inn in Tofino, will be the guest chef on the upcoming leg of the C3 journey.
Green says the trip has been filled with awe and emotion, and news the news of Canadian musician and icon Gord Downie’s passing on Wednesday hit many members of the expedition hard.
“I knew him personally as did many others here,” says Green. “And spiritually, he has been on this voyage with us since the beginning. There is a room on the ship called the Gord Downie and Charlie Wenjack Legacy Room dedicated to conversations about reconciliation. When we found out Gord died, a number of us went in there and shared stories. Musician Sarah Harmer, who is on-board, played a song for Gord. It was incredibly moving.”
After its stop in Howe Sound, the C3 Icebreaker will continue on towards its final destination in Victoria.