So this is the first winter for the Columbia III to be under cover in her 56 years of life on the coast. Here we are in sleet and snow and rain and the mothership is snug in her home. I was worried about winter storms and so when we first got home we had a barge drop 5 more 2 ton anchors and we connected them up with 600′ of 2 inch thick rope and another 1 1/2″ steel pin into the shoreline granite to hold everything in place. 8 new 1″ braided nylon lines hold the boat securely in her berth. If a storm hits, I need to be able to sleep at night.
And the office never sleeps . . . we send out our 2012 schedule to past guests and to people who have inquired but not yet joined us . . . friends we have yet to meet . . . Here Miray is thinking, ” Let’s see, 500 little sticky labels on 500 envelopes with 500 pieces of paper to go inside and 500 stamps to stick on . . . .
We are a really small, family run business and we all wear a wide variety of “hats” running this business. From Transport Canada permits to scrubbing the bilge in the engine room, from talking to travel agents in Australia to trying to find a coffee maker that will fit in our galley there are innumerable tasks we take on. A few tasks exceed our skill set and these are mainly legal, accounting services and, you guessed it, computers. Even in our little outfit we have our share of computational issues. (You all know what I am talking about: an upgraded operating system that won’t recognize our 3 printers . . . you know the kid of fun I mean!) From the very start of Mothership Adventures, our good family friend and conveniently COMPUTER GURU, Dave has kept our machines and website sailing smoothly. Dave is not afraid of late night emergency phone calls and even the annual house call. With 2 office computers, 2 ship’s computers, and personal computers, our living room looked more like a laptop display area. Here Dave is untangling our binary rat’s nests.
Thank you, Dave, for all the tireless, hard work. We couldn’t survive without you.
This year the Campbell River Museum chose to celebrate their annual staff party on the Columbia III. As we were bringing the boat to town for our Christmas Tea Cruises anyhow, it seemed a perfect fit. Lights, holly, homemade egg nog and “action”!
Fern had to come out of winter retirement and “chef” the galley for the group.
This was our “6th annual Christmas Tea and Cruise”. And as usual, after the “word” got out, we had the 88 spots (4 tours over two days) filled and a huge waiting list. When the announcement hit the local newspaper, our phone literally rang non-stop. As I tried to answer one call, the phone was beeping as other calls came in and and the answering messages were stacking up. I gather the locals like coming on the Columbia III! Luckily we had good weather as you can see.
If you are unfamiliar with our tea cruises, we put lots of Christmas lights on the boat, inside and out. I hung holly sprigs around inside and hung as many candy canes as possible about the ship. Then I baked a zillion Christmas cookies in all kinds of shapes and sizes and filled the salon with tea and coffee and opened the doors for locals to have a two hour harbour cruise in Discovery Passage. Because of our Transport Canada certification we can’t take more than 22 guests at a time so we ask people to book ahead. The tours fill very quickly!
You have to look closely to see the candy cane cookies. This year was a bit different. Fern was away visiting her father and the task of making about 10 million Christmas cookies fell on my broad shoulders. So when I gave the introduction and safety briefing for each tour I mentioned that I would accept no complaints if the cookies were a bit over done on the edges or if my 2-toned hand-shaped candy cane cookies were a little lumpy and funny looking. “Too bad!” I declared . . . It certainly seemed like a great technique for eliciting compliments for my baking!
Now that’s sensible attire for a Christmas Cruise!
This fellow’s father use to own the Columbia III in the ’70s and he had many good memories of being on the ship as a boy. He was thrilled to see the “old girl” being so well taken care of.
It might be only a 2 hour cruise, but Fern still seems to earn hugs at the dockside after we secured the lines back in harbour.