Mid-October and on…
We expend quite a bit of energy getting the Columbia III ready for winter. We remove all the bedding and mattresses. We remove all the books. We strip her bare to avoid any mildewing problems and we thoroughly clean her. We remove anything we can off the roof to be placed in storage such as the life jacket box and storage lockers. All the kayaks are put in storage over the winter. We empty the stern storage area (the lazarette) so there is good air flow to keep the stern dry and sound. There are several circulation fans placed throughout the vessel to keep her warm and dry for the winter.
And we headed back into the office to finalize our 2007 season and send out our material to past guests and inquiries.
Note the Columbia III out our kitchen window.
Here’s a picture of our most honoured guest of the year, Dolly. After a lifetime of traveling this coast in her 55’ fero-cement sail boat, at 91 years of age, Dolly was happy to revisit her old haunts from aboard the Columbia III. Spry and good-humoured she hadn’t lost her mariner’s eye… or ear. “I like the sound of your engine,” she declared on the first day! Dolly was happiest standing in the wheelhouse keeping an eye on everything. “You let me know if I am in your way,” she stated. To which I jokingly replied, “Oh, you’ll know when you’re in my way because I’ll just pick you up and toss you over board!” To which she chuckled, “That would probably be a good idea.”
Dolly, our most experienced sailor at 91.
An old and very remote tombstone, only Jeanette would know about, dated 1892 near Toba Inlet.
The BC coast is truly a small community and word seemed to spread that the Columbia III was turning 50 in October. Phyllis Hicks of the Anglican Women’s Auxiliary in Campbell River called and asked if we would host a tea party to commemorate the event. She reassured us that she would mobilize her forces and that all we needed to supply was the boat, the tea and coffee. They would supply the “snacks”. . . . and did they ever! Each participant came bearing sweet offerings and the salon table was soon laden in a grand array of treats. Jeanette wrote us a great newspaper article after joining us, note-book in hand, during the tea. One story that I heard didn’t make it into Jeanette’s notes . . . it’s a story that Rev. Trefor Williams (who traveled on the Columbia III in the late 1950’s and drove the 100 miles from Nanaimo to join us) told of one of his first journeys on the boat.
Just to the east of our home is a tidal rapids called “Surge Narrows” and the current can run to 11 knots there. Well, Trefor was traveling with a new skipper on the boat in 1958 and they were a bit uncertain how to determine slack water in the “Surge”. I gather from Trefor that is was quite exciting as they were sucked sideways through the narrow gap at maximum ebb, narrowly missing the boat-wrecking Tusko Rock that sits mid channel…
Trefor Williams signs the Columbia III guest log during the tea party
Phyllis Hicks, the tea party commander!