Monthly Archives: December 2009

Great Bear Rainforest 09

And off the to BC Great Bear Rainforest we went again. Rounding Cape Caution is like pushing through an invisible gate to an entirely different world. Bigger spaces, less boats and people, more wildlife and the peace that wilderness allows. In no particular order, a random smatter of shots that caught my eye:

The land of waterfalls

An editor from Canoe & Kayak magazine with his photographer playing around


Stealing a quiet moment together

A rare residual snow patch that the summer can’t seem to melt

Birthdays are just one more excuse to celebrate

A young biologist joined us and she just LOVES FISH!

The rainforest has many non-raining days!

Humpback whales are very numerous here

Anton and Sarena finally get their teaching schedule to cooperate and allow them to join us again, this time in the GB.



Crew shots: with a family like this of course I love my line of work!


Another tough end to a grueling day on the water . . . NOT!


And the guides tell me they had “such a hard day” on the water when they get back to the boat at the end of the paddling day!




Hey, I thought I learned in kindergarten that star fish have FIVE legs.


Fern met a young biologist from eastern Canada at a biosphere reserve in Mexico and slippered her onto a trip in the Great Bear. I think Juliette is saying, “Thank-you”!

And the BEAR in Great Bear Rainforest





Two of our kids, Lead Guide/cook/Office Manager, Miray. Skipper/Assistant guide/cook, Tavish.

We were very fortunate to have Ian McAllister back on the boat for a few trips with some of his supporters


Desolation Sound & Broughton Archipelago 09

Oh my gosh! I am getting behind on this blog!! The summer is so busy for us and the trips quickly blend together in my mind. There are so many get wildlife shots, so many laughing paddlers and stunning sunsets and then I am faced with SO MANY photos to choose from . . . . ahh the digital revolution . . . . So here is a very random smattering of shots to give you just the barest idea of our summer. If the event was big and special but I neglected to include it then chock it up to Skipper failure!

We were very lucky to start our season with Alan Wylie leading an artist’s workshop. But my funniest memory of this tour was when we introduced Alan to our workshop where all the maintenance for our homestead and the Columbia III takes place. He had enjoyed the scenery of Desolation Sound and the wildlife and painted happily for several days but he REALLY loved all the tools and random collection of projects and supplies hanging from the rafters. He promised me a copy of the final painting.

Then we had Boomer Jerritt along again with his dynamic teaching style. The final, all student, slideshow was very impressive, especially the creativity expressed in the self-portraits of the students.

Jeanette Taylor joined us again this year on our perennially popular history tours. Besides wearing the mantel of “Resident Historian” Jeanette also found time to publish another book on the history of Quadra Island.

Ok, Ok, I was napping. As Skipper, I really just lay about ALL the time and usually I try to “mill about smartly” to keep the rest of the crew from getting mad at me, but just this ONE TIME, I was caught in the act . . .

Mark Hobson joined us as well this year but we were able to show Mark around the Broughton Archipelago were he had never been before, (surprisingly, considering how well Mark knows this coast)


The mothership seems a great place to regroup and focus on the important things in life!

Somehow, almost every tour, the scrabble tiles come out and we introduce or reintroduce the willing to “Speed Scrabble” . . . many a game proceeds long into the dark. When I get up in the middle of the night on my anchor patrol I often find the players still hard at it!

I was happy to have a good personal friend join us for the repositioning trip to the BC Great Bear Rainforest. Bill is ALWAYS in the the best mood, happy and appreciative for his blessings

Feeding 14 people everyday for the summer is a huge task and much of the work goes along when the guests are off the boat paddling. Here is just a little glimpse at the nerve center of the boat

And a visit to a wonderful new and promising village.

Here is a great little story. A repeat guest from England came with us to the Broughton Archipelago. He proudly showed us his new and “purchased-just-for-this-tour”, fancy and BIG, telephoto lens for his camera. “What I REALLY want to see is an eagle catching a fish!!” he exclaimed hopefully. And we of course said, ” Well, that is something we certainly see but not that often and certainly very rarely in just the right circumstances to catch on film”. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the very first afternoon on the water in the kayaks a bald-headed eagle swooped down right in front of fellow’s kayak and snagged a fish. But to make the whole event absolutely picture perfect, the fish was too large to fly away with so the eagle swam to shore and tried twice to take off before if finally made a successful lift off. All this gave the fellow lots of time to get many great shots. I wonder what he wants to see next?!

On a different note: A certain guest, to remain anonymous, has joined us several times and has a personal connection to Columbia III. This year he brought his whole family to join us for the week AND he brought a small gift to say “thank-you” in advance. Here is a model he had commissioned of the Columbia III for us!

White sided dolphins: they are absolutely the surest fired way to put a smile on every face!

Oh, oh! Another great shot of a beautiful boat and a group of wonderful paddlers. Fancy that!

These four friends from Britain have joined us two years running.


The Broughton Archipelago and the Johnstone Strait were very, very generous with their Orca sightings again this year!!!

Spring Painting 2009

The spring of ’09 turned out to be an excellent one for ship maintenance. The weather turned warm and dry and it held, week after week and we were able to get the Columbia III into the best looking shape that we have ever seen her! We started early with every item we could remove from the boat to sand and paint in our workshop.



Both exterior teak doors on the wheelhouse had suffered some damage during the last season. The doors are very solid (and heavy) and the wind had caught them and swung them too violently against the stops which caused some cracking around the hinge area. So we removed the doors early in the winter, sanded them to bare wood and stored them in our house to dry and stabilize. (read “bump into in our bedroom”!!) I then routed out the damaged wood and inset two new layers of teak. 10 coats of varnish were applied to refinish the doors.


Detail for inset repair.

We did alot of painting and touching up inside the boat as well. We repainted one head, the main stairwell to the lower deck, vents in the salon and installed more built-in ventilation fans to keep our “girl” dry and sweet smelling.

Anther item on the winter list was the replacement of the protective rubber on the kayak swim grid. The rubber had cracked on the tight radius and it just bugged me! It’s funny how all these things always SOUND so simple but by the time we got the old one cut off and the new one installed we had a whole new appreciation for the crew that installed the original bumper.

After all the work earlier in the winter rebuilding the corner of the aft deck roof we took the opportunity to remove all the mahogony strips off the aft deckhead, sand and paint the deckhead, strip, stain, and revarnish the strips and replace with new brass screws . . . it looked pretty darn sharp when we were done!

Then we were into the regular hand-sand and paint routine, but the weather held so well that we sanded the WHOLE OUTSIDE OF THE COLUMBIA III and filled and primed every blemish and then repainted her all!


Then we took the boat down for the annual haul-out in Nanaimo for inspection and copper painting. Unfortunately, our camera containing our shots from the spring work and the haul-out dropped over board
after the shipyard ( oopsey!!) and we lost a lot of GREAT shots of painting and sanding . . . isn’t that an oxymoron?

Just as we were finishing the painting for the year and the boat was looking her best EVER, the weather turned wet. Thankfully we were done. But I was still “down on the boat working” and I heard a sound resembling a gun shot. But no, it was a humpback whale breaching in the channel off our dock! We raced out in the skiff for a better look and the whale continued breaching over 25 more times! It was like a missile launch stuck on repeat, repeat, repeat! But we got a few photos that honesty WERE NOT PHOTOSHOPPED!