By mid-morning the next day, the fog had burned off thanks to a warm sunshine and we set about thoroughly exploring Cluxewe. The resort is located in the land of the Kwakiutl people, who manage and own the property. Their motto of “Relax, Reflect, Restore” felt very appropriate as the kids wandered along the beach, finding crabs, shells and eventually adding to an impressive driftwood fort.
We headed back towards the main entrance and discovered a majestic forty-foot canoe, carved and painted. Paddles and life jackets were flung over the benches, evidence of a recent excursion. What might belong in a city museum is a working piece of culture, art and tradition on the north island.
We found the welcome totem and the kids headed over to the playground as I began to take pictures and ask questions. I learned the meaning of “cluxewe”, which can be “place of refuge” and also “place of the changing river mouth”. Part of the resort is a narrow spit of land, nestled between the estuary of the Cluxewe River and Broughton Straight. Cruise ships heading to and from Alaska periodically sailed by as we watched from shore.
As we headed back to our campsite along the river bank, eagles circled overhead and dove for fish. A lone fisherman landed a pink salmon on the bank and a raven’s distinctive chuckle sounded from a nearby tree. The sun was warm on my cheeks and I tasted the salty tang of the ocean in every breath. A place of refuge indeed.