Monthly Archives: November 2012

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

Broughton Archipelago Kayaking ’12

Ok,Ok, I am a terrible blogger! I think of cool shots or cool items to include but then there are dishes to do, heads that need scrubbing, orcas that need viewing, sunsets that need to be toasted with a glass of wine, new friends to become aquainted with, and the occasional guest that needs a decaf before bed. Whales, mountains, stunning scenery, navigating a classic wooden heritage vessel safely through rocks, storms and tranquil channels . . .  when is a “guy” supposed to fit in blogging??!! Here are a few summer shots. Check out the real photo gallery for the good shots our kids have taken.

A mid summer wheel house crew shot. “What is going on!? Why are my crew sitting still? They should be polishing brass, or cleaning windows, or waiting on our guests, hand and foot. Get to work!!”

Here are a few “shiny boat bits” photos. Even half way through the summer the boat looks pretty good, even to my discerning (picky) eye.




We do see quite a bit of marine life during the course of the summer and the dolphins and porpoises often play in the bow wave. Everyone gets so excited and I seem to end up with quite a lot of bum shots taken from my wheel house window.







Here are a few ‘behind the scenes”of the galley. We prepare 3 meals a day for 14 guests for 5 months of the year. Beautiful, healthy, delicious food . . .  and just the occasional dish and pot needs scrubbing.


Our summers are full to brimming of little stories and some big. This guest, Jeff, joined us with his buddy from Australia. Due to serious medical issues Jeff had to wait a year to finally join us, but he was SO! appreciative when he did. Every moment, every sun rise, every wonderful meal and orca siting were cause for deep appreciation. Everyone on the tour, crew and fellow guests alike, were touched by the enthusiasm. There is nothing like a brush with death to remind us all to appreciate our blessings.

“Trim! Where are we?”

“Canada, mate!”

“Trim, What are we doing?”

“Kayaking with orcas, mate!”


There’s our son-in-law, Luke. I must admint I was hoping he’d lose his balance!

Now it’s not very often that I put in an advertizing pitch for another ecotourism company, but how can I resist!! There is our son, Tavish, now skippering a beautiful 90′ schooner that also runs eco tours (non-kayaking) on the this coast. They run a great program and hire only the highest quality staff! The BC coast is a very small place when it comes down to the boating community. We all try to take good care of each other. As the saying has it,”What goes around, comes around.”

I love this shot. This is the chart table in the wheel house. The big telephoto lenses are out, the transient and resident orca identification books are out. Obviously, there are orca about and the guides are trying to figure out who is who in the KW world ( killer whales for us cool folk). The ship’s log book is still there. The ship’s business still proceeds.


Here’s a fun story. This guest, Ellen joined one of our tours. Fern and Ellen had been mountaineering companions back in their varsity days . . . a long time ago. As often happens over the course of week, the conversation roams about, and Ellen asked me how I met Fern.

“That was a long time ago. I was on a ski mountaineering trip with a buddy”

“Oh, what was your friend’s name?”

“Gosh, it hardly matters, I haven’t heard from him in 35+ years . . .”

“No, really. I know a lot of people in the mountaineering world . . . tell me his name.”

” Grant M—-.”

“What!!, Grant is my best friend and I will be staying with him when I pass through Vancouver when I get off the Mothership!!!”

So Grant and I reestablished contact. It was like the years hadn’t even gone by. It was fun to see him again.

And that is what the mothership is like. Many lives coming together and weaving new, and reweaving old connections with friends.


Boomer Jerritt Photography Workshop, Broughton Archipelago 2012

Boomer has joined us several years running and his enthusiasm remains a strong component of his workshops.  He knows what he’s doing, he knows how to convey it to guests and he knows how to have fun. What more could you ask for? Well, how about great food, accommodation, service and location?

Gosh, going back to school to learn is an arduous task!




Bird life . . .

water falls  . . .

and waterfalls . . .

and wildlife . . .

and great locations . . .

and  great instruction, on the spot! . . .

Thanks Boomer for another great workshop!