Our first ‘real’ blog post from the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest!
Perhaps you are expecting tales of bears, wolves, or salmon. Well, after three days of fieldwork, we have not yet seen any charismatic wildlife (except a nice spike buck in velvet). And we have heard that locals have been catching some salmon, but we have not done so ourselves. So, instead tonight I write about another special part of our work. And that is working with some amazing team members.Doug Brown Jr. (aka ‘Wolf Man’, his long term tag for his love for wolves) was born and raised in Bella Bella and out on the water with his family. A fisherman and food hunter to be sure. A mariner. A weather watcher. A professional grizzly bear guide. Someone who moves well through the bush.
What really makes Doug stand out is his love of, and keen observation of, nature. He is a fanatic birder and naturalist. Knows his marine mammals, fishes, intertidal animals, and much, much more. And in the last few years, he has developed into a expert photographer, becoming Raincoast’s official resident photographer.
Doug also caretakes our field research station over the winter. He is the kind of guy you can trust with big things. Keeping our dock safe during wicked outflow winds. Winterizing our precious boats. And picking us up from BC ferries at 2 o’clock in the morning the other day, with open arms and a smile on his face.
That was only four days (daze) ago, and since then Doug has piloted one of our boats over 2,00 nautical miles. He has mentored our new team members. Pounded in dozens of staples setting up our bear hair-snaring stations. Diligently recording data. And all with a smile on his face and a very humble demeanor. Kyle – one of our NSERC students and newest team member – just told me, ‘Doug is ridiculously nice’. I agree. It was a nice reminder to honour him.
And honour him we did tonight. Its his birthday. We feasted on crabs (which his local knowledge and crab pot secured for us). We raised our glass and toasted him over dinner.
And just before dinner, his ocean honoured him too. While we were preparing dinner, two transient killer whales buzzed by our field station. He grabbed his new camera and got some incredible photos. I’ll share them with you here next post.
Happy Birthday, Doug.