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.
The Columbia III, in her Christmas finery, at home for the winter.
And a little snow never keeps a REAL kayak guide by the woodstove! Here the Mothership staff try to outdo themselves in death-defying hurtling descents of a local snow-covered logging road.
Something new for us this year and yes, we love new things! The World Wildlife Fund called us up and requested we join their WWF Earth Flotilla. So we spent the week with 2 other vessels, 30 highschool students and several group leaders and coordinators touring the Gulf Island on a rigourous schedule. The students were chosen after submitting a written synopsis of their interest and commitment to making a positive change in the health of the earth herself. The students were a wonderful and heartening collection of energy, bright ideas and commitment. They were able, amougst many other things, to visit a sustainable forestry operation, an organic farm, meet with marine biologists and even a private talk with painter, Robert Bateman. Each night we anchored or moored in a different bay and the students gathered to reflect on the days events.
The schedule was intense and brisk but the whole project went flawlessly due in large part to coordinator, Jeff Gibbs and Carolyn Dawe’s organization.
There is potential for another Earth Flotilla next year and we are already looking forward to the event and meeting more inspiring students.