Artists for an Oil Free Coast, 2012

One of the pleasures of running a small business is flexibility. Here is an example from last Fall.

We often run artist’s painting workshops and we were scheduled to run a tour with Mark Hobson in the Great Bear Rainforest in late June. But when Mark was visiting us for a musical event in the Fall, he proposed the idea of trying to launch a book of local artists who felt strong opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. Mark had, in the past, been a major participant in creating the very successful book “Carmanah: Artistic Visions of an Ancient Rainforest” which greatly raised the profile and eventual protection of these giant spruce trees.

So the idea was born, Art for an Oil Free Coast, but Mark needed a platform for the artists. . . .

“Well, Mark, if you forfeit your six day tour, we will donate the Columbia III for the project during that time period, as all our other dates are already booked with guests.”

We called a few participants whom had already signed on for Mark’s workshop and explained the situation and they gracefully withdrew. Thus the project evolved around the dates of Mark’s original tour with us. Soon, with huge effort and commitment from Mark, the project grew.  Rain Coast Conservation Foundation joined the team to assist in fundraising and organization and soon other Great Bear operators were offering space for artisans at their lodges, institutes and vessels.

On the first day of the actual expedition, over 30 artists met in Bella Bella and had sandwiches aboard the Columbia III and Raincoast Conservation’s research vessel, Achiever. (shown alongside below). Brian Falconer was skippering the Achiever.

Here’s Mark Hobson co-ordinating, visiting, thanking and organizing the first day.

And as we left harbour the artists set right to work, capturing their unique impressions of the vast wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest.

David McEown painting from the aft deck of the COLUMBIA III

David McEown blog


We travelled together for  5 nights: fjords, granite cliffs, lower wind-swept outer islands. Bears and lupins. Here, David McEown works.



As a small family business, we often don’t have the cash to “donate” to worthy causes, but we can offer the COLUMBIA III, our time, a great boat, a dash of wine, and unparalleled access to wonderful places.The finished book will be touring Canada this fall. Check the website for book orders and a schedule of book launches

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