Spirit of the Coast
News and information
"Spirit of the Coast' is about awareness, education, culture, environment and most of all bringing attention to our beautiful BC Coastline and to share with Canadians what an amazing place we have, it is not a protest, but about educating all that have never seen it.
"A film will be made of the entire journey and hopefully be aired on Discovery and Knowledge Networks when completed."
Chris G. Cooper
News and Updates
Just found your site. What you are doing has got to have an impact. I hope that I can paddle there one day. If we all fight this together, something has got to give. Sorry for your bad luck. I really know how you feel. I have not been able to paddle since March because of a ripped muscle in my arm. I hope that your recovery is quick, so you can get back in the boat.
Thanks again for everyone's effort.
Bonnechere Industrial Inc.
I note from your website that your incredible journey around the UK is complete and you are off to further adventures a little South of us!!!
I hope that your time back in UK was good, I don't know where the time has gone, it only seems like yesterday that I took that call and met up with you here at the station to offer what help I could. I'm afraid, in the end, I wasn't a great deal of help to you but through your amazing endeavours you have made it, well done.
When I was reading your website I noted that you originated from Yorkshire and visited my home town of Scarborough often back in the day, I had forgotten that. Anyway I send my best wishes for your future trip and I am sure you have inspired many UK folk with your adventurous outlook.
Brian Taylor from her Majesty Marine Coastguard Agency
November 16th 2014
Spirit of the Coast canoe journey was completed August 15th and the canoe Chief of the River was picked up in Prince Rupert and brought home here in Pitt Meadows, Spirit of the Coast will continue next year in July 2015 to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island and also to Sointula on Malcolm Island, continuing to raise awareness , education, culture and environment which is our Mission Statement, I believe that this year was a good test on all who joined me and to be aware of the dangers that we were confronted with, it was a very serious endeavor as the ocean environment is very beautiful but has many challenges.
Chief of the River canoe will be sold next year to help finance another project and refurbishing Spirit Dancer 2 a 37ft Montreal Canoe a canoe that provides great stability and speed, Una Ann Moyer will be painting this canoe ( check our website ) under artists, it will be painted in a west coast theme with black base background and red and white design, it will represent all First Nations clans of our beautiful BC coastline, this canoe will be blessed and renamed by the Xeni-gwetin Nation in the Chilcotins next year.
This next year we will be presenting numerous presentations through out BC and overseas about this years journey with the highlights from it. My hope is to continue highlighting the BC Coast, the threats against it and what is in store for its future, the presentations will cover many areas of my history of paddling the coast since 1970.
Again as always I thank all who participated, the sponsors and First Nations communities along the way.
Chris G. Cooper
Operations and Project Manager
August 25th 2014
To all our Team mates, followers and sponsors this seasons event ' Spirit of the Coast 'is now completed. The canoe Chief of the River is now home after picking it up in Prince Rupert after team 5 arrived August 13th, a very long drive home I must say, my knee is now better but will I will require surgery to the Hernia which I acquired during the journey near Bella Bella, I would also like to thank CFNR Radio for announcing the canoe arrival in Prince Rupert and also to our support vessel owner Don Jonasson from Anacortes, Washington State.
I will post more photos for all to see as there are many more to come, there may be more stories coming as Brian Sheen from Cornwall UK is getting in touch with BBC and Green Peace to raise more awareness to our commitment to our threatened coastline, our message is getting out and our hope is to have Canadians and people from around the world understand what is at risk.
I would also like to thank all First Nations that took care of our crews throughout the journey, this was really appreciated by all the teams and paddlers.
Stay tuned for more, it has been an amazing experience for many of us!
Best wishes to all participants and followers.
Chris G. Cooper
Operations and Project Manager
August 5th 2014
Just a brief update that the team has departed from Klemtu after an amazing welcoming on behalf of the First Nations community and many thanks to all who made them so welcome, over the next while we shall hopefully post more information about the journey with written reports and photographs to follow.
Looking forward to rejoining the team after recouping from two injuries,it has been an amazing journey overall for many of us, more to come over the next few weeks.
Spirit of the Coast will be remembered by thousands of people from around the world.
Best regards to all our followers that have encouraged to keep going and the Spirit is always strong.Chris G. Cooper Operations and Project Manager
A brief overview of the journey will follow soon, Chief of the River canoe has departed today from Bella Bella and heading out Seaforth Channel for the community of Klemtu near Swindle Island, our crew is small but keen as there are new recruits from Cornwall UK, Washington State USA and British Columbia, the crew is strong and should arrive in Klemtu in 2 to 3 days which is 43 Nautical Miles from Bella Bella.
It is difficult for me to be here when I really want to be with the crew but I will return to Hartley Bay and join them there, I will have had 3 weeks of recovery time so my hope is at least be a paddler while Eric Grummisch will be the skipper of that crew till the end of the journey, Eric and I have paddled together for many years and met Dragon boat racing in 1986 and we both represented team Canada in Hong Kong 1989 on behalf of Lotus Eaters Dragonboat team with 22 others and two great sponsors.
It is about 200 N Miles to Prince Rupert from Bella Bella and hopefully we should all arrive there August 17th or 18th a week earlier than expected, the route which follows Mathieson Channel, Jackson Passage, Finlayson Channel then to Klemtu, this should not present any difficulties as most of this area is in protected waters.
From Klemtu north the route follows the inside passage up the eastside of Princess Royal Island where hopefully the crew will find Spirit Bear, on several occasions while I have traveled these waters I have not seen Spirit Bear so hopefully the crew will, the crew will travel to Butedale an old fish cannery and onto Mackay Reach and into Wright Sound where BC Ferries lost Queen of the North off Gil Island.
Hartley Bay is just off Douglas Channel and this is the spot where myself and two others will rejoin the team for the final week ( August 10th )to Prince Rupert.
I will do my best to post information and images when I can and where there may be internet coverage.
So cheers for now, Chris G. Cooper
Hello everyone, just to inform everyone that I have had to return to our home base as I have injured myself in the field, had to go for a complete examination at Ridge Meadows hospital as I have really hurt my knee, so the doctor suggested 7 to 10 days recovery I think it may be longer as long as 3 weeks, I have suggested to the team traveling to Klemtu and Hartley Bay that I will rejoin in HB August 10th This is my hope right now.
So I really hope that I am able to join up then, it has been very difficult to leave the team behind, but they are in really good hands with Don Jonasson and Eric Grummisch who has a huge amount of experience with the canoe they are traveling in.
I also apologize for the delay in updates and pictures, there have been complications with remoteness in particular.
Hopefully over the next week we shall have many new images to provide the followers.
If you have any questions feel free to send me an email or phone call.
The group will depart Bella Bella July 29th for Klemtu, then off to Hartley Bay for August 10th 2014
Best wishes to all, Chris G. Cooper
It has been 4 weeks since our last update, unfortunately there was no coverage from Gilford Island to Bella Bella a distance of 175 nautical miles, we have had many hardships with weather and tides, to be expected for such a journey, we have traveled through the following areas since my last report, Echo Bay, Insect Island, Joe Cove, Robinson Island, Shelter Bay, Slingsby Channel, Burnett Bay, Fury Island. Koeye, Namu, Lama Passage and Bella Bella where we are waiting for the last crew to join us.
The most dangerous section of this journey was Slingsby Narrows near Burnett Bay where westerly winds and ebb tides can build seas into 40 ft waves, we were caught out on this on the day that we were heading for Burnett Bay and had to turn around and return to our previous camp in Slingsby as weather and wind did not allow us to travel to Burnett, it is a story in itself that will be shared at presentations this next winter.
Our Shetland folk Jim and Fiona arrived as planned and off we went to Fury Island from Burnett Bay, it took us some considerable time to get to Bella Bella, but just made it for the festivities ( Qatuwas ) pronounced Gotuwas, an amazing festival of gathering tribes as far away as south Oregon State and as far north as Alaska, our group loved the Culture and all the songs shared and the amazing dances, there were as many as 40 canoes ours being in last!! Some wonderful canoes of all shapes and sizes representing so many tribes / nations.
Our group was welcomed into the community, a traditional welcoming, Brandon dressed in full regalia, regalia that his Auntie made for him for this very special occasion, we were very relieved to have made the festival feeling very sad for many that did not make it due to very poor weather conditions.
I will attempt to provide more images when I have time, in another note, we built a beautiful cabin at Burnett Bay 10ft by 8ft, it is an emergency shelter for travelers that are mostly arriving by Kayak, Canoe and row boat.
One more thing to add is that a Rower of 70 years of age has gone missing somewhere near Bella Bella, no more news about this yet. I saw a rower traveling south near Fury Island a week ago, I am going to get in touch with the coastguard to report this.
My best wishes to all who are following our progress, Chris G. Cooper Operations and Project Manager
Wind, Wind and more Wind not behind us but in our faces, have been very difficult conditions but we are at our destination Sliammon, fantastic to be here 2 days late but we are here now, we will rest up and continue on Friday 13th north to Gilford Island in the Broughton Archipelago, the team have very high spirits and are tired but will be fine soon, Rory will depart today and will return I am sure!!
Going back a few days some of the challenges have been, big water on the Fraser River near New Westminster, wakes from Tugs that threatened us, rounding Point Atkinson West Vancouver in a 4ft beam sea ( on the side of the Canoe ), Big winds at Hutt Island 25 + knots 5hr wait to get across Collingwood Channel to Gibsons, Challenging sea conditions at Welcome Passage near South Thormandy Island and all the way to Pender Harbour, Canoe surfing the waves between Francis Peninsula and Pender Harbour, had to take the inside route of Nelson Island up Agamemnon Channel and around the top of Nelson Island to Saltery Bay, Flat Sea conditions from Saltery Bay to Powell River, Westerly cross winds ( Beam Sea ) from Powell River to Sliammon arrive here yesterday at 6:00pm.
The hostings with the Beamish family in Gibsons was great and to see our friends, Chief Calvin Cragen and his people gave a wonderful traditional welcoming of the Sechelt Nation in Trail Bay, Marilyn Watson arranged our accommodation in Halfmoon Bay, thankyou to that community for hosting us, Harbour Master David in Pender harbour helped us with our overnight stay in Madiera Park.
Last night we had a fantastic welcoming on behalf of the Sliammon FN Our dear friends Murray and Nancy Mitchell sent out a traditonal welcoming by sending a hosting canoe prior to our arrival on the shores of Sliammon, there were at least 60 people to welcome us, drumming and songs were shared which is very customary for thousands of years when a canoe arrives in their traditional territory.
A dinner was prepared for us on behalf of the members of the community, many thanks were shared for this and Murray, Nancy and Drew shared a Feast song which was memorizing, it reminded me when Barbara and I witnessed the Cook Islanders which performed for us in New Zealand 40 years ago.
So today is a show and tell all about the gear and equipment, it must be checked as we have very limited space in Chief of the River, so fine tuning is the rule here, Don Jonasson and the sailboat Petrel is carrying our 28 days food which is in 6 plastic boxes weighing in at 200 pounds plus!!
I hope and trust you will like the information provided on our website, we will update today with new pictures.
PLEASE BE UNDERSTANDING THAT WE CANNOT ALWAYS COMMUNICATE AS CONNECTIONS WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD WILL BE DIFFICULT ALONG OUR COAST.
Best wishes to all our followers Chris Cooper.
When I have the opportunity to update the website I will do my best, there will be new images coming soon with this brief write up, our website has attracted many more people with great interest, visits per day have increased from 100 a day to 4000!! Truly amazing!
Our send off was truly memorable, fantastic gathering and a wonderful group of people attended the Cultural experience at Kwantlen FN with at least 200 people there with a huge drum group both Male and Female, our departure soon arrived and we were off at 1:30pm to Lelem restaurant and then departed to Katzie FN, and onto Kwiquitlam June 1st, on June 2nd a welcoming at New Westminster Quay by many Native People from many nations, we then proceeded to travel to Musqueam FN, what a day it has been. We have travelled 70 kms down the Fraser River without incident.
On June 4th we were really challenged, although we had an early send off at 7:00 am by Squamish Nation Rick Harry ( xwa lack tun ) our journey with in 1 hr 20 minutes to Point Atkinson, the headland there was very tricky as the winds were up and provide us with a beam sea of force 3 /4, so somewhat challenging right off the mark!!
Once we made Snug Cove on Bowen Island we had an hours break and continued to Huff Island where the seas became Gale Force 6/7, so it blocked our passage and kept us ashore for 5 hrs, at 7:30 we made a break for it ( Gibson’s ) and towed Chief of the River the rest of the way, arriving at dusk 9:00 pm.
We were hosted that evening by Bill and Heather Beamish and all turned in very tired at 10:30 pm, Don and Dan are moored in the Gibson Harbour.
Updates will occur when we have the opportunity when we are ashore and have Internet coverage.
Best regards Chris G. Cooper
Operations and Project Manager
Special sendoff for Spirit of the Coast paddlers
Spirit of the Coast canoeists given ‘traditional’ send-off - See more at: http://www.mrtimes.com/news/spirit-of-the-coast-canoeists-given-traditional-send-off-1.1102816#sthash.Mdh92kSG.dpuf
Hello everyone, just a short note to all that will follow us, we depart in 18hrs!!
The long awaited journey about to unfold, we hope to depart around 1:30 pm tomorrow from the Kwantlen Nation, there will a great sendoff and cultural experience for many people, on our first day we will depart for the Fraser River and be heading for Katzie Nation then onto Kwiquitlem Nation just upstream of the Port Mann bridge based on the Coquitlam River.
We have made some changes based on safety on the river and will not launch the sailboat that belongs to Don Jonasson, the sailboat will be launched on June 3rd at Ambleside Beach boat launch and will overnight there on anchor with Chief of the River, on June 4th will be heading for Gibson’s on the Sunshine Coast, from there we will be on the mainland coast and heading for Lund stopping at Gibson’s. Sechelt, Smugglers Cove, Pender Harbor, Lang Bay, Powell River, Sliammon and Lund. Arriving sometime around the 10th June depending on water and weather conditions.
So although I am need of a good rest, this will come soon when I am back into the mode of adventure travel!!
We will do our best to communicate when we can, we would like to thank all our Sponsors, and many others including of course Chief Marilyn Gabriel, Brandon Gabriel and the business development group of the Kwantlen Nation.
My best regards to all,
Chris G. Cooper
Operations and Project Manager.
Today the Spirit of the Coast Canoe Journey launched its official emblem to the world. Kwantlen Nation artist and designer Brandon Gabriel collaborated with Chris Cooper and Barbara Cooper, owner/operators of Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys (www.spiritdancercanoejourneys.ca), Associated Labels in Coquitlam, the Kwantlen Nation, Brand Marketing Solutions, Jelly Marketing, and the Seyem' Kwantlen Business Group to make the artwork and vision for the canoe journey from Fort Langley come to fruition.
We are 15 days from Departure from the Fraser River to the Alaska border by Canoe, we have 5 teams in total and will be updating the website as often as we can, we will be out of range in terms of connecting with the outside world once we have left Gilford Island and hopefully make contact again at Bella Bella so from June 23rd to July 19th.
If we get lucky and we find someone out there connected to the outer world you will hear from us!! We do carry SPOT, and we do have Cellular Telephone and VHF Marine Radio.
Sponsors are still coming in and we meet with them next Tuesday so we shall update all the new Sponsors prior to our Departure June 1st.
There will be a very big sendoff on that special day I am told at least 200+ Many canoes will join us at the launch.
Don’s sailboat will also have our website along the side of his vessel with some listed sponsors so it should be quite visible from shore.
This is an International Event with paddlers/ pullers coming from the following areas: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, USA, Shetland UK, Orkney UK, Devon UK and Cornwall UK, so we are well represented and hopefully we shall capture the hearts of Canadian people and highlight our coast through Film and Video.
Chris Cooper, Operations and Project Manager
"A small piece of plywood that washed up in Haida Gwaii shows the potentially massive reach of an oil spill in the Salish Sea, say environmental groups studying the risks associated with Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline." The Globe and Mail, read more here.
Dimensions: 24" x48"
Artistic collaboration with Roxanne Marie Charles, Cody Lecoy, and Brandon Gabriel.
This art piece was one of three panels for an upcoming art exhibition at the South Surrey Arts Center in White Rock BC. In collaboration with artists Roxanne Charles and Cody Lecoy. The show runs from May 7th to June 30th 2014.
The art piece was inspired by and in direct response to the recent proposal by the Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline project.
As an artist and citizen of the world I am concerned that such a scenario would have deep and huge ecological impacts on the way of life for marine and coastal life if such a disaster like an oil spill might cause.
So the pastoral image of a family playing along our shorelines is an image that we cherish, but is under direct threat by such actions by oil industry and government collusion.
The mask dancers from the northern coastal First Nations tribal groups that are in the sky line represent First Nations opposition to such projects but are also symbolic of cleansing the earth of greedy and antidemocratic processes that are currently underway in the province of British Columbia.
Hello all, just a brief update in regards to the summers canoe journey, Ron Currie and I finished installing the Spray Deck on Chief of the River yesterday, it looks fantastic and very functional set up for 6 paddlers and compartments for all gear to be stowed away amidships, there is also a bungee system on the top of the deck to stow away paddles and light day bags.
Chief of the River goes to Delta Kayaks next week Thursday April 17th to be outfitted with outriggers ( Kayaks ) to provide extra stability to the canoe, they will be incredibly useful.
Sea trials tests will start in early May to ensure all equipment is working well.
On Tuesday this week Barbara and I met with Brandon, Chief Marilyn and the business development group to discuss the journey Spirit of the Coast, Jelly Marketing was also there to help with a number of things including a press release for the journey slated for departure June 1st from the Cultural Centre at Kwantlen First Nation,it was a very good meeting with a lot of enthusiasm, there will be a very big sendoff that day. I will also post the different First Nations stops along the way to Prince Rupert and beyond to the Alaska border just 25 NM north of PR.
Please find below the different stops and territories.
In terms of the route for this canoe journey and selected First Nations stops along the way, this is the rough Itinerary and subject to weather conditions throughout the canoe journey.
June 1st 2014 Depart Kwantlen to Katzie for a brief stopover and continue to Kwikwetlem Over night here.
June 2nd 2014 Depart Kwikwetlem for New Westminster to meet Musqueam First nation and continue for arrival and over night at Musqueam
June 05th 2014 Arrival at the shishalh First Nation Sechelt First nation Over night here
June 09th 2014 Arrival at Tla’amin First Nation Sliammon Over night and rest 2 days June 09 to 10th
June 10th 2014 Depart from Sliammon to Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis Health Bay Gilford Island Arrival June 21st/ 22nd 2014
June 23rd 2014 Depart Health bay for Heiltsuk Bella Bella ( Tribal Journeys ) Arrival July 18th 2014 Bella bella is hosting Tribal Journeys from July 13th to 19th 2014
August 01 2014 Depart from Bella Bella to Klemtu Kitasoo/Xaixais Territory Arrival time August 03rd 2014
August 05 2014 Depart from Klemtu for Hartley Bay Gitga’at First Nation via the Outside coast then to Douglas Channel Arrival Hartley Bay August 15th
August 17 2014 Depart Hartley Bay August 17th arrival Prince Rupert August 25th, if there is sufficent time and energy we hope to make it to Port Simpson near the Alaska border
*** Just a short note that there are large gaps in the itinerary for filming purposes, my very best wishes to you all Chris G. Cooper
A comprehensive look at the Enbridge Pipeline issue:
Here's a story run by the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times:
"A Pitt Meadows canoeist announces he’s making a three-month journey to Alaska to spotlight what’s at stake along the B.C. Coast..."
Just to keep everyone informed, I thought I would let you know that our local newspaper The Times will run updates and stories traveling up the coast of British Columbia, we will be posting the route and information for interested readers on the website, there will be Marine charts posted as well, so you can follow our route and updates on the website when possible.
We are in the excitement stage now as we have less than 4 months away from departure June 1st, the spray deck is complete and we are getting ready to install it on the canoe ‘ Chief of the River’
Don Jonasson is bringing his 22ft Catalina sailboat to help with filming and documenting the journey throughout the trip, this will be incredibly helpful, Don spent 3 months with me in 2009 documenting our journey around the Scottish coast as well as Orkney, then in 2011 Shetland.
Stay tuned for more updates. Chris.
While travelling the coastline of the UK it became apparent that I was missing something very special; so last year, 2013, I felt very strongly about bringing more attention to our BC Coastline. Over the past few years there have been many examples and attempts to make big changes that could destroy the ecosystem that is still very much intact and in particular the thought of moving Oil from Alberta to Asia by pipeline to Kitimat then out to the open sea via Douglas Channel and Hartley Bay.
I have travelled the entire BC Coast by Canoe many many times, we have some of the most amazing biodiversity, so many species of life that this year it is time to make a stand and bring awareness to our most treasured coastline so that Canadians need to know what is at stake, the British Columbia coast is one of the most threatened coastlines in the world and having said that it is also the jewel of Canada.
This year’s journey will help identify the features our coast has to offer; and by filming this with videographer Don Jonasson we hope that this will have a very large impact on all of us, we will also be uploading images as we travel visiting many communities along the way. The journey will start June 1st from Kwantlen First nation and finish at the BC Alaska border on August the 25th, 2014.
December 27 2013
December 17 2013
Chief of the River
(Native name: 'Hiyakaw e te Sta Luxw')
The Chief of the River will undertake the journey to the Alaska border. The journey will start June 1st from Kwantlen First nation and finish at the BC Alaska border on August the 25th, 2014.
December 07 2013