Light at the End of the World

Light at the End of the World
Three Months on Cape St. James, 1941

by Hallvard Dahlie (orig from Raincoast 18, 1998) with notes from Jim Derham-Reid (last keeper on Cape St. James before automation)

Image1A strange interlude in my brief seafaring life took place in the fall of 1941, when I signed on as assistant lighthouse keeper at Cape St. James, a light perched on top of a three-hundred-foot rock at the very southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands. I had quit school earlier that year, at the age of sixteen, and found a job on the CGS Alberni, a lighthouse tender operating out of Prince Rupert. But when she had to go into dry dock at the beginning of September for a new wartime grey paint job and a bit of refurbishing, I chose to take a stint out at the lighthouse rather than scrape barnacles and paint for three months. Continue reading

Mise Tales Thirty-Seven

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

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Mise Tales Thirty-Six

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

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Here is a great video taken on board the Coast Guard ship CCGS Sir Wilfred Laurier as it services the mountain-top radio sites using the onboard helicopter. Great shots of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwai) and the old lighthouse and radio station at Cape St. James.

It is titled on Youtube as the “Big Red Restaurant“!

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LEGO Does It Again!

As most of you know I love lighthouses and I have a special attraction for LEGO lighthouses (link1) (link2).

10241_prodWell, as you can see by the photo at the left, this is not a lighthouse, but it is a marine vessel which could very well sail past a lighthouse, and it is the largest ship in the world (right now!) – the record-breaking Maersk ‘Triple-E.’

Built from over 1,500 bricks, the model recreates the real vessel in amazing detail.

Features include rotating gold-colored propeller blades, brick-built twin 8-cylinder engines, viewing window into the engine compartment, adjustable rudders, detachable lifeboats, removable containers, rotating crane arms and a special ‘good luck’ coin.

It includes rare medium azur, dark red, sand blue and sand green colored elements.

Play with the model on carpeted surfaces or mount the model on the display stand

Building instructions also include interesting facts about the real ship.

The model includes 1,516 bricks

The ship (mounted on stand) measures over 8” (21cm) high, 25” (65cm) long and 3” (9cm) wide – more Continue reading

World’s Ugliest Ship

I know this website is about lighthouses, but I do not plan these things! After posting the story on FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform) doing oceanographic research I was alerted to this story on the World’s Ugliest Ship which also does research of sorts. It is too interesting to ignore. Hey, it’s also red and white like the Canadian Coast Guard ships!

ramformtitanPGS   Image   Digital JournalA seismic vessel, the Ramform Titan, has sometimes been dubbed “the world’s ugliest ship” as it has a 70 meter wide stern, making it one of the widest boats in the world. It is owned by Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS). – more

Launch of the Ramform Titan from the Mitsubishi shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan (below):

 

 

Of Ice and Men

Following along with yesterday’s story about travel on a CCGS ice breaker, and with the permission of the author, Pamela Coulston, I am reprinting her article here about life on Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers servicing the north and the lighthouses. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Of Ice and Men

Surprisingly, everyone made it to dinner, they also made it to breakfast and lunch. The

Photo courtesy of Gerald Rohatensky

Coast Guard icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier was taking a whipping from the weather in the middle of the Bering Sea. But not a meal was missed.

While the two cooks dished up three squares, the seas served up a storm that included winds gusting to 90 knots and 10-metre waves that broke over the bow, drenching the bridge four storeys above.

The captain ordered all loose items secured and all outer decks off-limits – any one of these larger waves could wash a person overboard to their death in near freezing waters. Continue reading

The Vanlene and I

I received the following email the other day promoting an article on a friend’s website: 

The freighter Vanlene ran up on the rocks on Austin Island in the Broken Group islands on March 14, 1972. She was carrying 300 Dodge Colt automobiles while enroute to Vancouver BC from Japan. The crew was rescued and taken to Port Alberni. How she ended up on the rocks is still a matter of conjecture but it appears that the Master simply did not know where he was at the time of impact (he thought he was off of the coast of Washington) and his navigational aids were inoperable. See the article at Nauticapedia


View Larger Map Continue reading

Supplies for Cape Scott Lighthouse 1975

CCGS Sir James Douglas - photo F&O Canada

 In 1975 we (myself, my wife Karen and our two young children, our dog, cats, and all our furnishings) were on our way clockwise around Vancouver Island from Quatsino lighthouse to Pachena Point on board the CCGS Sir James Douglas with acting Captain Tom Hull. This was a grocery run so the trip was already pre-planned and we were just passengers. 

The seas were not high but as we rounded Cape Scott, the northern-most tip of Vancouver Island, we began to roll in the southwest swell. As we motored around into quieter waters on the inside of Vancouver Island, we were still being tossed around by occasional large ocean swells.  Continue reading

Groceries at Green Island c.1975

Cloo-Stung - photo Barry Duggan

The Cloo-Stung was a catamaran of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) used for delivery of personnel and supplies to Prince Rupert area lighthouses in protected waters. The groceries were delivered to the Coast Guard base in Prince Rupert from the local stores. These were then packed in slings (large canvas or net circles with ropes attached to allow them to be attached to a hook) and loaded onto the Cloo-Stung. Continue reading

Lighthouse Photos by Cyril R. Littlebury c. 1922-1932

Photos of British Columbia lighthouses by Cyril R. Littlebury in the years 1922 to 1932 with thanks to Dudley R. Booth for permission to publish – please visit Dudley’s new website at Historic Photos. There are many more photos there besides lighthouses.

When Dudley Booth developed some old negatives his father gave him he found a treasure trove of scenes from 1920s and 1930s Vancouver. 

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