This really was a very busy winter for us with the construction of the boatshed, and then we launched straight into our spring maintenance without a single day’s pause. With the boat protected from the foul April weather we had the time to give the entire exterior of the mothership a complete tune-up. But there were other aspects to our small family business occurring simultaneously. Fern was busy experimenting with new recipes (our family’s favourite time of year!), creating new menus and ordering thousands of pounds of food. A great “coming together” occurs as the food supplies, wine, mechanical spares, engine oil pails and ship’s stores are purchased, transported and stowed on the Columbia III. From the latest copy of the Canadian Hydrographic Survey’s “2011 List of Lights” to a custom made brass cookbook holder for the galley, from upgraded VHF radios and antennas to better towels for the guests, from 2 pallets of organic flour and baking supplies to new folding teak deck chairs . . . the season inexorably approaches and comes together. “What do you do in the off season, Ross?” guests often ask. And the answer is simple. We all get ready for our next season of exploring this wonderful coast and meeting new friends. The summer is the best part of the year and our reward. We leave home in 3 days for our 41/2 month season.
As you all know, we offer the Columbia III for tours for a very nominal fee at Christmas time. We cruise the local BC waters, well lit with Christmas lights, for a few hours and serve tea, coffee and home made cookies. One passenger was Tom Kruesel of the local Lutheran Church. So about a month ago Pastor Tom called and asked if we would take his congregation out for a similar cruise before our summer season commenced. We had to take the mothership to Campbell River for our annual Transport Canada safety inspection so the time was perfect. This time Pastor Tom supplied the cookies and we the boat and the weather was perfect.
Even when the mothership has 25 people on board there are still quiet moments to reflect: warm sun, light breeze, salt air, snowy mountains and just a tiny bit of peace.
From December 1st onwards, we worked at getting the boat shed built. Virtually everyday we welded or nailed or measuered trying to get the building up in time for the spring painting of the Columbia III. We finally got the masts off, the roof fabric on and the ship slipped under cover. Phew! And the VERY NEXT DAY, as planned last fall, Steve arrived on his sailboat to begin the annual refit.
“Wow! The shed looks great! How long has the boat been under cover?”
“Oh, about 12 hours.”
We got done exactly on schedule though perhaps with a few more grey hairs.
Below are a few painting shots. It was very busy and I didn’t seem to take that many photos. I had thought that it would be a sunny spring after the boat was under cover, but no, we had 3-4 people sanding and painting the boat from early April into May and it rained every day but 3! The shed was awesome. Since we had the masts off we stripped them and this year we painted literally every inch of the exterior of the Columbia III from the top of the mast to the bottom of the keel. And boy does she look good now.
We had the masts off for hinging and overhaul but that left a lot of wires hanging from the rafters. Speakers, running lights, floodlights and airlines for the horn. It looked pretty chaotic for a while. Note the new mast hinge in place. We welded these up and shipped them to Vancouver to be hot-dipped galvanized.
Our son, Tavish, at work.
Family friend, ace kayak guide and blossoming bright work specialist, Steve Schellenberg