“Beautiful soak” at new Hotspring Island pools

Ten toes up, way up.

Visitors to Gwaii Haanas who dipped into the new soaking pools built on Hotspring Island early this year are leaving enthusiastic reviews, calling them “a beautiful soak.”

Three new rock-wall pools were built from January to March to capture water from a newly discovered hotspring — one of several that have appeared on the island since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake closed or slowed sources for the original pools back in 2012.

“Ever since the quake, it’s definitely been a subject of curiosity for people,” said Anna Maria Husband, who leads visitor services for Gwaii Haanas.

Hotspring Island, or Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay, has at least 26 hotsprings that range from 32 to 77 C.

Their source is unclear, but it’s thought the mineral-rich water includes rainfall from nearby Lyell Island.

The rain likely sinks through rock faults and fissures into a warm-water reservoir between the two islands that is three or four kilometres underground.

Husband said it was a lucky thing that the one that feeds the hottest of the three new pools emerged on the slope just behind where the Hotspring Island bathhouse used to be.

As part of the $118,000 construction of the new pools, the bathhouse was relocated next to the existing changing area and new cedar boardwalks laid down to connect them all, a move that meant minimal impact to the area.

While that spring was quite hot when it was first discovered, about 54 C, Husband said it has cooled slightly since.

“We don’t understand the dynamics of any of the new pools yet, because they are new and we haven’t gone through a full season,” she said.

“It’s been a tremendous learning opportunity for us.”

A geological study looking at how the hotsprings have shifted since the earthquake is due later this year.

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