Message In A Bottle

My title here Message in a Bottle is also the title of a 1999 American romantic drama film directed by Luis Mandoki and based on a novel with the same name by Nicholas Sparks, but in this case it refers to something completely different!

Most people think of a message in a bottle as a beachcomber’s mystery find. In this case there was no mystery, but lots of adventure! The story was posted on the MR BONE HEAD Facebook page. You never know what you will find on the beach!

From Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel & Resort

Judi and the message bottle

Judi and the message bottle – photo – Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel & Resort

So one of our owners Judi was walking on the beach this morning cleaning up the junk that washed into shore and finds a bottle with a message in it. There is also some sand and 2 one dollar bills.

Once we get it open and read the notes we find out that it is in fact NOT sand. It is the ashes of this woman’s husband of 70 years named Gordon. She writes that He loved to travel so she sent him traveling in a bottle with a note and money for someone to call home and tell her where he landed.

He started at Big Pine Key [Florida] (point A on the map below) in March of 2012 and then went to Islamerada [Florida] (point B) where someone found him. They added a note and sent him traveling again and he landed on our beach in Key Colony (point C).

Judi called the wife in Tennessee who was excited to know of Gordon’s travels! Judi added her note, we put him in a rum bottle (you know added a little fun to his trip) with the three notes. We added another dollar in case Gordon travels far and a long distance call is needed.

We will be having a memorial service or celebration of his life on our beach later today before sending him on his way again. Only our sister Judi could find a dead guy on our beach!

This is an amazing true story Continue reading

In Memorium – Elmer Cordoni (1923 – 2013)

CORDONI, Elmer Frank “Bunk” October 18, 1923 – August 31, 2013 Elmer was born in Port Arthur, Ontario and passed away in Burnaby, BC, after a lengthy stay in hospital. He was predeceased by his wife, Olga, brothers Harold (Peggy), Peter (Shirley), Tony (Doris), and sisters Elvira (Ted) and Lydia (Alvin). He is survived by his loving family, children Corinne (Richard), Steve, Raymond (Deirdre) and Catherine, grandchildren Kristi (Barron), Stacey, Ryan (Ling), Allison (Mike) and Harley, great- grandchildren Else and Grace, and brothers Dante (Margaret) and Alfred (Vi), sisters, Doris (Judd) and Josephine, as well as many nephews and nieces.

When he was 3 years old, Elmer moved with his family to Fort Langley, BC. The large family survived the Great Depression by farming and fishing. In young adulthood, he was conscripted by the army, where he was stationed in Europe. He loved to tell stories, and was christened Bunk by his army buddies when he told them the story of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Another story: he was slated to go out to the front at Dunkirk, on the next boat, and fortunately, was rescued by the declaration of armistice. By 1951 he and Catherine Marie Hinsche got married, and started their family. Elmer was a fisherman, a gillnetter, and always handy with a hammer and saw, he built his own fishing boat, the Castanet. With Marie, he built the family home in Haney. Then came the lighthouse days, from 1958 to 1967. Elmer took a posting to the isolated lightstation, Scarlett Point. In 1963, the family moved to Active Pass Lightstation on Mayne Island.

In 1967, Elmer and Marie divorced and Elmer became a single father. With his children, he moved to East Vancouver. Later, he met and married Olga, and they spent many happy years buying handyman special real estate bargains, fixing them up and making a bit of money. He took early retirement from his job of maintaining the navigational lights on the Fraser River, up to Indian Arm. Elmer and Olga built a new house in Fleetwood, Surrey, and had a summer place in Bowser, BC. Later, they sold both places and moved to Parksville, where they lived until Olga’s death.

In the later years of his retirement, Elmer moved back to Fleetwood, where he spent time with family and travelled to exotic locations with his daughter, Catherine. He came more alive when around his family, always ready with a smile and sometimes, a funny ditty or jingle. He will be sorely missed.

Thanks go to the staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital, who took care of Elmer for 9 months, and to the staff at Fellburn Care Centre, who helped him in the last days of his life. Reception to be held at Langley Golf Centre, 21550 – 44th Ave Langley, Sunday, October 27, 1:30 to 4:30.

To send condolences please visit, http://wordpress-rcordoni.rhcloud.com/dad/

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Oct. 5, 2013

To include your memories in Elmer’s memorial please click this link.

 

In Memorium – Reg Gunn (1929 – 2013)

Reg Gunn

Reg Gunn

Captain Reginald (Reg) Gunn. It is with great heartfelt sadness that we announce the passing of our loved one on April 27, 2013. Reg was born on June 22, 1929 in the County of Durham, England. He came to Canada in 1951, where he joined the Canadian Coast Guard. In 1961, he earned his Master of Home-Trade Steamship, and served at sea on the west coast of Canada. In 1974, he accepted the position of Regional Superintendent of Marine Search and Rescue, Canadian Coast Guard, at the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria, B.C. He was responsible for developing the successful ocean drift program known as CANSARP, which resulted in many lives at sea being saved. Reg retired from the Coast Guard in 1991 after 40 years of service. After retiring, he volunteered at the University of Victoria, in the ESL Study Centre for 13 years. Over the years, he befriended and mentored many students and kept in touch with them. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife Margaret, daughters Susan Nash (Mark), Mary (Brian) and son Gordon (Jerri-lyn), and grandsons Hayden Gunn and Gabriel Nash, his brother Norman, in Wales, along with family and many friends. In keeping with Reg’s wishes, no service will be held. His life will be quietly celebrated by his family. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the S.P.C.A. Biscuit Fund. Always Remembered, Always Loved. Bravo Zulu! – Published in The Times Colonist on May 4, 2013

To include your memories in Reg’s memorial please click this link.

Reg was never a lighthouse keeper but he was a friend to the lighthouse keeper’s. Please read his story about his life with the lighthouse keepers.

In Memorium – Fred Wood (1915 – 2013)

Fred Wood

Fred Wood

Frederick Henry Wood, June 19, 1915 – February 6, 2013 Fred Wood, long time resident of the Shawnigan Lake area, passed peacefully away at Cowichan District Hospital on February 6. He was 97 years of age and had only been ill a short time. Mr. Wood was born in Ottawa, son of the late Thomas Wood and Annie Winges. He came to Victoria in 1938, and married his “ever lovin” Alice (nee Cole) in 1940. Fred and Alice settled in Shawnigan Lake to raise their sons, where Fred enjoyed active involvement in the community and self employment in the logging industry for many years. In 1970 Fred joined the Canadian Coast Guard as a lighthouse keeper, where he and Alice spent a very special decade living on various light stations on the pacific coast. Fred and Alice retired to Victoria, then finally to Cobble Hill in 2001 to live out their golden years. Throughout his life, Fred was an avid gardener, his favourite crop being his tomato plants, which he grew to perfection. Fred was predeceased by his youngest son Tom in 2007. He is survived by Alice, his beloved wife of 72 years, his son Richard (Reta), daughter-in-law Susan and grandsons Dan, Chris and Steve. No service by request. A small Remembrance will be held at a later date. “Anything happen come.”- Published in Victoria Times-Colonist on March 29, 2013

To include your memories in Fred’s memorial please click this link.

F H Wood obit

F H Wood obit

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Lighthouse History – 57 (1932-05-11 – 1932-10-01)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 trolling boats remain in Tofino port due to low prices…; Luke Swan, a Sydney Inlet Indian, and his wife, had a miraculous escape from death when their trolling gasboat sank while fishing salmon 12 miles offshore. Encountering a heavy swell, the boat sprung a plank, causing the vessel to fill and sink immediately. Their only hope for safety was a dugout canoe 10 feet long, 30 inches beam, and equipped with only one paddle. They had to make shore from 12 miles out, the trip took 12 hours to make the safety of Sydney Inlet, and Mrs Swan has been confined to her bed since. Lighthouse tender Estevan, Captain H Bilton, was in Tofino recently landing supplies at Lennard Island lighthouse and local lifeboat station. From here it went to Matilda Creek and Estevan Point, for which point she has a truck and a considerable quantity of material for construction of the road from Hesquiat to Estevan. Residents of the west coast are gratified at finding Harry Hughes, chief officer of Estevan, back at his post… [Colonist, 1932-05-11, p. 7]

 

December 9, 1932, 10 – photo of lighthouse tender Estevan, Captain H R Bilton, recently in Tofino, BC, proceeding along the coast to land Xmas supplies and stores at all the lighthouses around the island. Effort will also be made to relight the gas buoy off Solander Rock. Sockeye spawning Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 56 (1931-05-09 – 1931-05-31)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 Captain Cook’s Landing presented in Pageant on Clayoquot’s Shore… ; May 12, 20 – photo of Major George Nicholson as Captain Cook…; May 9, 20 – Tofino Legion’s day of celebration… ; B Nicholson, of the Department of Marine, was in Tofino attending to the installation of a new telephone cable connecting Lennard Island lighthouse with the mainland. Visitors were entertained at tea by Mrs Jackson and Miss Gertrude Jackson, who reside at Long Beach. [Colonist, 1931-05-09, p. 17]

 

June 9, 1931, 20 – Nootka. Taking the census on the outlying points of Vancouver Island is proving to be an exceedingly interesting and exciting expedition… To say ‘called on’ is stating it mildly, according to the experience of Major George Nicholson and Jack Mathison, who have been entrusted with finding the lonely settlers, prospectors, trappers and other isolated persons dotted along the coastline… 
Owing to the rough nature of the coast, none but the staunchest of vessels would be suitable for this work, so Ottawa has chartered the fishing vessel Yankee Boy, owned and manned by Bjarne and Trygve Arnet, of Tofino, and these two men, both well known and experienced fishermen and born on the west coast… 
As an instance of the isolation of some of the settlers visited is the case of a man who lives on a pre-emption at Escalante Point, to reach whom the census enumerator has the choice of walking 15 miles along the rugged shoreline north of Estevan lighthouse and wireless station, or else chancing a hazardous landing in the ocean surf in the vicinity of Escalante Rocks, one of the worst spots on the coast, many ships having been wrecked at that point. 
Mathison, not relishing the walk each way, the Yankee Boy undertook the landing behind the reef itself. Watching for a time when the tide was suitable and the prevailing westerly wind not too strong, and with the aid of the staunch lifeboat carried along, the landing was successfully made, but not without excitement in making the beach in the big combers. A mile and half walk along the rocky coastline found the settler in a snug bay, facing the warm, sunny south, and the enumerator, to his surprise, was treated to a feast of fresh strawberries.  Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 55 (1930-03-19 – 1931-05-09)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 

gasboat Miowera, under command of Mickey, son of Major George Nicholson, of Clayoquot, accompanied by Borden Grant, of Tofino, as engineer, left Victoria at 10pm for Clayoquot, normally about a 24 hour run. The weather was fine at the time, but as the report at Gonzales warned of strong southeast winds, the 2 young navigators decided to make a through-run trip.
All went well til the early hours of the morning and the vessel was well up the coast and about opposite Cape Flattery, when Grant, who had been taking his watch at wheel, went to call his skipper, but to his dismay he was unable to waken him. Slapping his face and dashing cold water on him still was of no avail; his companion was unconscious. This was bout daybreak and finding he was unable to wake his chum he steered alone and decided to make for Bamfield, and although he himself was unfamiliar with this particular part of the coastline he succeeded in reaching that port at noon. There he found the provincial police boat lying at the float and Constables Godson and Raybone immediately rendered first aid, and with the bringing of young Nicholson out on deck he soon showed signs of reviving.
The constables then offered to run up to the hospital at Port Alberni, but the young man insisted that he would soon be all right again, and in consultation with his companion decided to proceed on up the coast. At this time it was not known or suspected what really was the matter with him. Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 54 (1929-09-01 – 1930-03-08)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 Died Sep 2, 1929 at Victoria, BC, Donald Bertram McPhee, late of Lennard Island lighthouse, where he had been keeper for some time. Born in NS. Pallbearers: G E Hartnell, A R Driver, A E, A P and R A Durmett, C Richardson. [Colonist, 1929-09-01*]

 

CGS Estevan returns from complete circuit of Vancouver Island, the purpose was to deliver Christmas boxes to the lightkeepers, supplies for the lighthouses and gas for unwatched lights… [Colonist, 1929-12-08, p. 35]

 

the isolated position of the Entrance Island lighthouse, Quatsino Sound, has caused the residents and business interests to petition government to establish radio telephone or cable telephone connection with the shore. Recently a small boat was wrecked there and the lightkeeper was stormbound for 2 days before he could get word to shore and start a search. [Colonist, 1930-02-02, p. 16]

 

Thomas Edward Hunt, assistant lighthouse keeper, William Hunt, at Scarlet Point light, Balaclava Island, accidentally drowned. He left the island in a rowboat to take to mail to people on adjacent islands. A heavy sea was running and the boat is believed to have capsized almost before he got started. No one saw the accident and he was not missed until the next day. Mar 1, 18 – was delivering medicine to Spackmans family… Body buried at Fort Rupert HBC cemetery… [Colonist, 1930-02-27, p. 10] Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 53 (1929-05-01 – 1929-05-01)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 photo of Captain Gillam, appointed skipper of Princess Norah. May 4, 1 – Captain Edward Gillam, 65, dies suddenly onboard Norah, while nearing Tofino May 3. Coming to Victoria from St George’s Bay, NF [born Dec, 1863] in 1903, he joined the old Queen City as quarterdeck man under Captain Townsend, another west coast veteran. Through successive stages, aided by a deep love for the sea and accumulated knowledge, he rose to Captain. 
When Queen City left the west coast route he transferred to the BC Coast SS Service’s Tees as commander. Later he took over command of Princess Maquinna, which was built here by the BC Marine Railway Company in 1913, constructed and equipped to meet the roughest of weather on the coast. 
From Maquinna he transferred to Princess Mary, and from that ship to the new Princess Norah on Apr 1. It was he who safely conveyed Lord and Lady Willingdon aboard the vessel on her inaugural cruise Apr 8 and 11. 
The coastal run, by its isolation from civilization, calling for prompt action in time of peril, quick decision in case of rescue of shipwrecked mariners and capacity to deal with the mixed elements of a frontier community, gave to Gillam an opportunity which has come to no other master of the BC Coast SS Service in this generation. How well he rose to the occasion is known to every resident of the Island.  Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 52 (1927-12-13 – 1929-05-19)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 Died Dec 11, 1927 at V, Frederic Argyle, 52, born Dec 25, 1871 at Rocky Point lighthouse, where his father, who came here in the Royal Engineers, under Colonel Moody, was lightkeeper for many years, son of Thomas Argyle of Englandl and, and Ellen Tufts, of Halifax, NS. Leaves widow, Mrs E R. Pallbearers: G Ball, H C Helgesen, T F Helgesen, T Foster, Herbert Parker, W Welty. Metchosin burial. [Colonist, 1927-12-13*]

 

Died Apr 17, 1928 at Victoria, BC, Ellen Josephine Forsyth, 53, wife of James T, lighthousekeeper at Race Rocks. Born in NS, resident of BC 48 years. Leaves husband, daughter, 2 sisters, 2 brothers [Guthro]. Pallbearers: N Bertucci, W H P Trowsdale, W Muir, A E Whittaker, Captain G Evans, J Talbot. [Colonist, 1928-04-19*]

 

Died Jul 4, 1928 at Saturna Island, BC, James Georgeson, 79, leaves widow, Joan, 4 daughters, 3 sons. Born Oct 20, 1849, he came to Canada from the Shetland Islands in 1887, and was keeper of the East Point lighthouse for 32 years. He was granted the Imperial long service medal. Mayne Island burial. [Colonist, 1928-07-28*]

 

Rosina, 52 [47], wife of the Daniel O’Brien, Entrance Island lighthousekeeper, drowned today in Entrance Island. She was with her husband in a rowboat, and, on attempting to make a landing, the boat upset, throwing both into the water. O’Brien reached shore safely and ran to the McConvey ranch for help. McConvey, Bennett and Griffith returned with him to the scene and took Mrs O’Brien from the water. Formerly of Victoria, born in County Down, Ireland. Also leaves son, and a sister. Pallbearers: E Burkmar, W Mills, A Morgan, G Morgan, W Fisher, R Trowsdale. [Colonist, 1928-10-13, p. 15]

 

Mar 29, 8 – Tofino lifeboat brought Mr Halkett from Ucluelet to inspect the lifesaving station and Lennard Island lighthouse… [Colonist, 1929-03-19*]

 

Died Apr 3, 1929 at Victoria, BC, Henry Herbert Smithman, 39, born in North Carolina, he leaves widow, 4 children, mother, brother, 6 sisters. He served overseas in the Great War with PLI and was lighthousekeeper at Sister’s Rock Light. New Westminster burial. [Colonist, 1929-04-04*]

 

T Guerney to relieve D McPhee at Lennard Island lighthouse for 3 weeks. Owing to the Tofino customs office being closed, Fred Towler, postmaster, has been appointed to take over minor customs duties. [Colonist, 1929-05-19, p. 8]