Monthly Archives: March 2012

A new crew member: a GRANDSON!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know this is supposed to be a business blog, you know, catchy corporate stuff that would entice new guests to join us, but really, this IS a family business and our oldest daughter, Miray and her husband, Luke, were the primary reason we bought the COLUMBIA III and Mothership Adventures. They have been our full-time lead-kayak guides and part time Skipper and Office Manager, and they have been our primary face to our guests. Hundreds of travellers have joined Miray and Luke over the last 7 years and I know many guests will be happy to hear their wonderful news. On March 3rd, 2012, Fern and I became grandparents for the first time. And Miray and the new family member are well! Thankfully.

I am sure every grandparent thinks their little gaffer is the cutest, but really, this guy is beautiful.

And when the the happy, new family made it home . . .

Grandma, Fern.

Auntie Farlyn and Uncle Tavish . .. .




2012 Annual Haul-out for the Columbia III

The years seem to fly past. And the years in groups for 4 seem to fly past as well. Every 4 years Transport Canada requires all passenger carrying vessels to undergo an extra thorough underwater inspection. The rudder comes off, the drive shaft is removed to inspect the bearing surfaces and the area where the stuffing gland wears, the through-hull fittings are dissambled for inspection and the anchor rodes are flaked for inspection too. In preparation for this event I vacuumed all the bilges of the boat (Really! Vacuumed. This is the COLUMBIA III,you know). I lifted all the engine room floor boards and washed and rinsed the floor boards and the bilge and then I oiled the remaining bilges so all was ship-shape for the TC Inspector.

This year we pulled the mothership out of her shed, and she certainly looked drier and shinier and happier for the protection. It usually takes a day and a half to travel to the Nanaimo Shipyard where the familiar crews are waiting for us. This is a big, industrial yard more use to large ferries and military contracts so the Columbia III seems a pristine gem in a field of rough . . .  These guys aren’t use to taking their shoes off to enter an engine room!

So out the COLUMBIA III III came and she still looked great but she could always look better after a good cleaning.

As this year was our big 4 year Transport Canada inspection, the propeller came off . . . .

and the rudder came off . . .

here is the cutlass bearing and the drive shaft without the propeller . . .

and the drive shaft was pulled for inspection . . .

and here is the stern bearing without the shaft. It was measured for wear and found to be within “new” specifications.Columbia III cutlass bearing 2012

and the anchour chain was flaked out and inspected.

Whilst the crews were working below the water-line I took the opportunity to work on other tasks around the boat. Maintenance in the engine room . . .

Here is a hero shot of me in my favorite location . . . . the engine room work bench . . .  ok, ok, the wheel house on a beautiful summer evening is a close second! And yes, you will allow me to think it’s a “hero” shot . .  really it is just a grease monkey in the bilges.

After a few days at the propeller shop to get prettied up, the propeller goes back on

and gets tightened (hopefully not sooner) for the next 4 years.

I love this shot. I was using the time I was in the shipyard to get to some tedious tasks. One was to update the inventory for the ship’s stores: filters, spare parts, supplies etc . .  including all the spare hoses, belts, fittings, soaps, cleaners, toilet seats (really) and a lot more. But we ARE a small family business and the cell phone rang when I was deep in the stern storage area (lazarette) bundled in lots of warm work clothes, and someone wanted to talk about a tour and then decided to book a spot . . . so I ripped a lid off the nearest cardboard box, and  used my feltpen to take the details . . . not quite the “office” the guest might have imagined I was answering from . . .  but few find fault with the service or the boat come summer!

And finally, one  last artistic shot before the boat returns to the water after 7 days on the marine railway carriage.

And I finally got home to our office and lots of catch up!!