This is Deadman island,its in Tofino’s harbour. The Natives would take their dead there and put them up in the trees. (Which was not a bad idea if they died of something contagious!) They believed it was Evil spirits that killed their loved ones and so wanted the evil spirits to be elsewhere!
They would put them in small Bentwood boxes. Many times the limbs would have to be broken to fit into these beautifully hand crafted wooden boxes.
The crescent moon adds a nice touch.
These two small islands are between Tofino & the native village,Opitsat. When someone passed away from the village the body was taken to these islands & placed up in the tree limbs.Not sure how long? They must of come back to get them after awhile or the island would have many bones laying around on the ground?
People who had status would be placed in a hand crafted wooden box. The wood was steamed & bent,thus making what was called “Bentwood” boxes. Because these boxes were small the poor departed soul would have to have all their limbs broken to fit into the box.Than the box was hung from the tree.
There may of been a good reason to place their dead here.If someone died of a disease they didn’t want it to spread & so placed them far away from the village on these islands.
There is a unwritten rule around here…..no whites are allowed to set foot upon either of these two islands.Romeo & Juliette had their nest in the northern island for many years! So I have studied them from afar & never walked on the island.
There is a dug out canoe (maybe 8 foot long or so?) on the southern island.It was placed there after a baby drowned very close to this spot.The mother/baby & father were travelling by boat at night without running lights.Someone else from the village was coming the other way doing the same thing.They didn’t see each other & collided.The baby was thrown into the water & did not survive.
Many years later (one month ago,July 2018) the father of that baby drowned in a local boating accident.Three people drowned in that accident.All three were lost to the ocean but his body surfaced & was found 10 days ago.The two others remain lost as of this writing.
They are now together…
Deadman island is in the middle of the harbour. I shot this from Tofino looking north. You can just see Romeo.
Romeo is perched on the top right hand side.
This is Romeo & Juliette’s island. There actually are two small islands. The nest is on the one to the north.
If you look closely,you can see Romeo perched on top of Deadman Island watching the fishing boat go by on it’s way to the Native village,Opitsat.
The old nest use to be on the island on the right. The new nest is on the left.