For those that recall the very beginning days of the Greenpeace movement, this monumental effort by Ali Howard to swim the entire length of the Skeena River had some eerie similarities. As Ms. Howard was making her final trek alongside the Port Edward shoreline on August 15, 2009, salmon were seen jumping along side her. As this video begins you can her those waiting for her arrival comment on the jumping salmon. It was the salmon, the health of the waters, specifically the Skeena River and the spawning beds that Howard was swimming to raise awareness of the threats to its security. Among the greatest concerns was the potential of Royal Dutch Shell drilling (fracking) for gas in the Sacred Headwaters (the Klappan) and Enbridge constructing the Northern gateway pipeline from the Tar sands of northern Alberta to Kitimat, BC, at Douglas Channel.
There may be some form of extra sensory perception that we need to comprehend. As the Greenpeace zodiacs attempted to get in the way of the whaling boats in the mid to late 1970's, they discovered that the whales themselves would swim around behind them anyways. The same kind of thing happened today as the salmon all came to swim with Ali Howard.
Approximately 300 people arrived to witness Howard as she swam ashore at the old North Pacific Cannery, which is now a museum. A ceremonial canoe arrived first coming from the Cassier Cannery site bringing Tsimshian dancers to greet Howard when she arrived. Crowds lined the walkways and ramp looking over Inverness Pass at the mouth of the Skeena River.
As her arms and legs hit the water propelling her to the waiting spectators salmon were seen jumping in front, behind and alongside. The speed she moved was surprisingly quick. The drums and the songs were ringing through the air as the crowds were cheering, screaming and clapping. Howard pulled herself up onto the dock and was greeted by hugs and cheers followed by a drumming procession into a main hall in the cannery building where the celebrations were held.