Category Archives: General

Save the Heart of Quadra Parks

There are two small marine parks on Quadra Island near our home but they have been separated for years by a parcel of private land owned by a logging company. The local community has been wanting to preserve this entire area to no avail. Finally, the logging company said enough. If the community didn’t raise the cash SOON! the trees were getting cut. So a movement began and somehow in all the fundraising, the idea was spawned that if a person donated $1000.00 they would join the “Thousand Dollar Club” an honour that included a free one day tour of the area aboard . . .  you guessed it, the COLUMBIA III. The idea worked so well, people were calling and asking how they could sign up for  their “free tour” on the COLUMBIA III.

Thus, shortly after we finally got home from our summer season we were back  out with 44 guests for two days running seeing the sights, including the hopefully soon to be protected Octopus Islands/Waiatt Bay corridor to Small Inlet Marine Park. There was even a short TV news piece on the tours

The indefatigable Jeanette Taylor helped to organize the 44 donors for the park purchase and all we had to do was show up at the right time at the right place and start serving tea and coffee. Now that is something I know how to do!

I labeled this as “skipper  in training” but a good skipper has to learn how to be at home working in the galley sink. Here, grandson Theo, is already learning the fine art of galley duty whilst catering to the local philanthropist group

Coastal kids

Ok, ok, they are now in their twenties and even close to 30 years old AND Miray has started a family AND I am now a grandfather, but they are still “kids” right. Anyhow, as I have been going over some of the summer photos I came across a few of the “kids” and thought I would toss some in here.

Our kids, Tavish, Farlyn and Miray, have grown up on this coast and their connection to it keeps evolving and expanding. Collectively they have worked as crew for Raincoast Conservation, Pacific Wild, and Alexandra Morton and at any one time someone is doing something to assist in a conservation effort on the coast. This summer, Miray and our new grandson, Theo, flew up to spend time in the Great Bear. Simultaneously, Tavish had a week off from Mothership Adventures and spent the time helping Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild set up some remote hydrophones for listening to whales in the Great Bear area around Bella Bella. And, just for good measure, Farlyn and her partner, Jody, where staying with Ian and Karen, as they were in the area doing research for Alexandra Morton . It became a sibling reunion, ( as if a family this close really needs a reunion!) in the Great Bear.

Ian, Miray and Theo

Farlyn and Jody doing ground truthing with wild salmon

Farlyn takes careful notes.


Last spring, Tavish, Farlyn and Jody sailed Ian’s new 47′ sailboat (“Habitat”) from Costa Rica to Hawaii to British Columbia as a ‘delivery” for Ian. Here, skipper Tavish plays with nephew, Theo on the Habitat in the Great Bear.

Jody and wild Pacific Salmon are never far apart!!

Ian was installing a network of remote hydrophones in the Great Bear and these are powered by solar panels. The project provided lots of opportunity for travel and exploration.

Tavish has a commercial dive ticket and  is always really willing to have an excuse to dive. Working for Pacific Wild is Tavish time off from the Columbia III.

Family friend, Max, helps with the solar panel installation.

Its a long ways for the sailboat, Habitat, to sail from Costa Rica to Ian’s back yard!!

Tavish climbed a tree to get this great shot of some spawning wild Pacific Salmon. These are THE KEYSTONE species for this coast. And the cause of great concern and effort to protect.


Artists for an Oil Free Coast, 2012

One of the pleasures of running a small business is flexibility. Here is an example from last Fall.

We often run artist’s painting workshops and we were scheduled to run a tour with Mark Hobson in the Great Bear Rainforest in late June. But when Mark was visiting us for a musical event in the Fall, he proposed the idea of trying to launch a book of local artists who felt strong opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. Mark had, in the past, been a major participant in creating the very successful book “Carmanah: Artistic Visions of an Ancient Rainforest” which greatly raised the profile and eventual protection of these giant spruce trees.

So the idea was born, Art for an Oil Free Coast, but Mark needed a platform for the artists. . . .

“Well, Mark, if you forfeit your six day tour, we will donate the Columbia III for the project during that time period, as all our other dates are already booked with guests.”

We called a few participants whom had already signed on for Mark’s workshop and explained the situation and they gracefully withdrew. Thus the project evolved around the dates of Mark’s original tour with us. Soon, with huge effort and commitment from Mark, the project grew.  Rain Coast Conservation Foundation joined the team to assist in fundraising and organization and soon other Great Bear operators were offering space for artisans at their lodges, institutes and vessels.

On the first day of the actual expedition, over 30 artists met in Bella Bella and had sandwiches aboard the Columbia III and Raincoast Conservation’s research vessel, Achiever. (shown alongside below). Brian Falconer was skippering the Achiever.

Here’s Mark Hobson co-ordinating, visiting, thanking and organizing the first day.

And as we left harbour the artists set right to work, capturing their unique impressions of the vast wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest.

David McEown painting from the aft deck of the COLUMBIA III

David McEown blog


We travelled together for  5 nights: fjords, granite cliffs, lower wind-swept outer islands. Bears and lupins. Here, David McEown works.



As a small family business, we often don’t have the cash to “donate” to worthy causes, but we can offer the COLUMBIA III, our time, a great boat, a dash of wine, and unparalleled access to wonderful places.The finished book will be touring Canada this fall. Check the website for book orders and a schedule of book launches