I woke up to the sound of wolves howling. It was eight in the morning and my dad and grandfather were preparing the skiff. It was a cold November morning, colder than then rest. It was gloomy, and would rain on and off, but for now it was holding out.
This was our third day digging clams on the beach of Ts'iqwi, or Restoration Bay (the Burke channel on the central coast).
My family is from Bella Coola, and I am Nuxalk, which is the First Nations group who have occupied the Bella Coola valley for thousands of years.
We loaded all of our equipment into the skiff, then put the boat into the water. My dad started rowing to shore while me and my grandfather sat and observed the morning air.
I remember looking over the side and the water being so clear. It was the clearest I have ever seen the ocean. The colors were so vivid; the orange crabs, the blue rocks covered with seaweed and alga, a variety of blue and red jelly fish in the morning light glowing throughout the bay.
I remember standing on the beach with my shovel in one hand, and my toes so cold from standing in my gum boots from playing in puddles of sea water. Even now, the 16-year-old me still remembers eight-year-old me being completely comfortable and happy with my surroundings.
Message to Canadians: For the generations that come after me, I hope they can experience the beauty the Pacific Ocean has to offer as I have and will continue in the years to follow.