Monthly Archives: January 2009

Winter 2008-09 Maintenance

Again, we work almost every day of the year on the Columbia III, in one manner or another. Having the boat tied in front of our house means it is easy (maybe too easy!) to keep the various projects underway.

This year we had some woodworking that needed attention. As a 50+ year old boat, it takes constant vigilance to keep her in tip-top shape. And at times, one can’t be shy. If it needs to be fixed, it has GOT to get fixed. So we dove in, so to speak, with saws and drills and removed some tired wood and rebuilt and returned the boat to perfection.

But the real pay off is in knowing the job is well done and the Columbia III is one more step on her way to her 100th birthday celebration in 2056!

The first major project of the fall was to replace two planks in the foredeck. One had a longitudinal crack that looked like it would cause trouble in the future and one had been the source of our only drip below decks and it needed attention. There must be some glamour in taking things apart, because the whole crew seemed to appear from nowhere to help drill, chisel, pry and saw.

But the old planks came out cleanly and the the surrounding wood was wonderfully sound.

We are blessed with an uncle/neighbour who has built and repaired wooden vessels his whole life on the BC coast, and he provides us with our expertise. Dennis oversaw the decking repairs and gave a “clinic” when it came time to caulk the seams with cotton and then oakum.

Project No: 253,335.02

One corner of the aft deck roof was “tired”, and needed “a little help”. There was the preliminary surgery and then the reconstructive work began. We had been preparing for this for well over a year, so we we had the clear fir and yellow cedar dry and ready for the job.

One can never have enough tools and we make thousands of trips between the shop at the head of the dock and the boat fetching just one more thing we need. The pile just seems to get bigger and bigger!

Then the rewarding work begins. The old is replaced with the new clear wood, and there is something profoundly satisfying about doing the job well, especially for an honoured gal like the Columbia III.

It feels really good when the paint starts to go back on, though it is a shame to cover all that clear yellow cedar!

Merry Christmas 2008!!!

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.

Christmas Cruises 2008

We had a few special cruises this fall and early winter.

Our first was a book launching party for our favourite historian, Jeanette Taylor. Jeanette leads a tour (or two) aboard the Columbia III each year and the combination of her expertise and personal charm, the heritage ambience of the boat and the rich history of the BC coast are extremely popular. We have had up to 70! people on the waiting list for some of Jeanette’s multi-day cruises.

As Jeanette has toured with us she has, of course, been researching her favourite area, the Discovery Islands. So it was only natural that she produce another book on this area. “Tidal Passages” was published this fall to popular acclaim, and we wanted to be part of the celebration. We provided the boat and Jeanette “treated” a boat load of guests who had been particularly helpful in her research and publication. The weather great for a local cruise and two old timers had an unexpected reunion. They hadn’t seen each other for more than 40 years!

Jeanette with her new book. Guess what! We even have a signed copy on board now!

Most of our guests had personal experiences of the Columbia III from their earlier days on the BC coast. Many families were in the logging and fishing industries when the boat still plied the local waters as a hospital/mission ship. Her name still carries a bounty of good will to this day!

Seen below here is Tavish, our son, with a wheelhouse full of guys happy to reminisce and spend some quality time on the water again.

And for the third year in a row, we ran our “Christmas Tea and Cruise” tours of the Discovery Passage area. A small donation got you on board for all the tea, coffee and homemade cookies you could eat and drink. The Campbell River Museum helped with the arrangements and they had to turn many people away. We did two tours with 22 guests each but I think we need to run more tours next year! We were especially lucky to see a group of transient killer whales right in front of Campbell River Harbour.