Dr. Rudy sends Jen and Jacob on unique information-gathering missions: Jen to observe sea otters and Jacob to snorkel in a sea kelp forest. Both are surprised to learn the integral role that these creatures and rich marine ecology played in shaping ancient coastal migration. Then with archaeologist Elroy White as their guide, the team gets to witness the power of Heiltsuk nuyems—oral stories passed down through the generations to Elroy about his territory, while visiting a traditional Big House, exploring an underground Potlatch site and finding stunning rock art and carvings!
Wild Sea Lions on the Central Coast
Namu – A Ghost Town
“There is so much cover that the kelp actually creates its own ecosystem.”
– Jacob Pratt
Sea Otter Ecosystem
The ecology of the Kelp Forest hinges on the sea otter. A vast and complex web forms when the sea otter controls the ravenous appetite of sea urchins, who love to eat kelp. Left to thrive, the kelp flourishes and an underwater forest explodes with countless marine life. The sea otter’s importance is matched only by its cuteness.
Framing Coastal Life
The traditional Heiltsuk Big House was the centre of the potlach, a focus for learning, living and sharing among Coastal Nations. Constructed with wooded pegs and without nails, the Big House embodies the majesty of the Pacific Rainforest with its massive cedar logs, powerful imagery and towering totems.
“It’s hard to put into words what you feel when you are sitting in such a historical place.”
– Jenifer Brousseau
The Drum Log
Entering the Big house, the dimly lit, smoky interior and the noisy din of crowds center on the Drum Log where the Elders sit. This is where the music and stories begin. This is where teaching and traditional knowledge spring from. This is where the Potlatch is focused, the ceremony connecting territories and Nations sharing the riches of the Pacific Coast under the towering rainforest canopy overlooking the sea.