Something Even Better?

alberta-fire-lookout

photo – Stuart Gradon Calgary Herald

Something Even Better than working on a lighthouse?

In an email with an ex British Columbia (BC) lighthouse keeper he mentioned that he was going to work in Alberta, Canada as a Fire Tower Lookout!

What does that have to do with lighthouses?

A lot from many people’s perspective! Both jobs have the isolation and romance that a lot of people seek in a job. When I was younger I know it was always in the back of my mind.

Again the same questions pop up – Wouldn’t it be lonely? What about wild animals? What happens if you hurt yourself? These and many more questions are asked, but to the adventurous, it is part of the adventure. Anyways, take a look at the photo at the top – that is an Alberta lookout tower but not as you or I probably imagined it – sitting on the ground!

The photo is taken from a 2011 story by Calgary Herald reporterJamie Komarnicki Mystery and mountains: A look at Alberta forest fire spottersContinue reading

Doug Clement Photography

All photos copyright by Doug Clement Photography, and used with permission.

Doug is a professional artist, videographer and photographer. He is a lifetime resident of Victoria and has been capturing its beauty on film for over 30 years. – from the Facebook page

Lightning at Trial Island

Lightning at Trial Island © Doug Clement Photography

In my teenage years while attending High School and University, and before I moved onto the lighthouses, I lived in Victoria, British Columbia (BC), Canada (on southern Vancouver Island off the West Coast of BC). It was a delightful town to grow up in and had access to numerous beaches, parks and believe it or not, a few lighthouses, of which I was not interested at that time.

Just recently on Facebook I have seen some wonderful photography of the lighthouses in and around Victoria, BC by Doug Clement. He has given me permission to publish them here, I hope that in your first or next trip to Victoria, you get a chance to see these places. If not, please admire them in the photos by Doug Clement. 

The first photo above shows Trial Island Lighthouse at night with a blast of lightning. The actual light of the lighthouse is the greenish glow on the right side while the red lights are  warning  lights for aircraft mounted on the radio towers on the island (see the last photo in this story).

Here is a link to a Google Map showing the Trial Island Lighthouse, above photo (yellow point on map) and Ogden Point Breakwater light, photo below (red point on the map). Continue reading

Nootka Sea Glass

Nootka Lighthouse

When I wrote Recycling Glass as Sea Glass aka Mermaids Tears I never realized that keepers on one of the BC lighthouses, Nootka Island Lighthouse (photo above) were utilizing this free resource for jewelry.

They have a Facebook page showing some of the items for sale, some of which I am showing below. Very beautiful. My uses for the sea glass were a bit more mundane, but it is amazing what you can make with beach glass, sea glass, aka mermaid’s tears.

I also see that the keepers are also advertising their wares on Etsy – a very famous site for anything coastal.

There are lots more items than shown in the album above, so take a look at their Facebook page or the Etsy pages – very beautiful art work, and each is unique.

The designers can be contacted here:

Nootka Lightstation, 25 Huron Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8V 4V9

Phone: +1 250-726-1222
Email:  jtiglmann@hotmail.com

Nootka Lighthouse

Would you like to travel to Nootka Island to visit the keepers or pick out your own jewelry? Join the MV Uchuck III on a day tour to Nootka Sound. More information here.

The West Coast Trail

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The West Coast Trail is a 75 km (47 mi) long backpacking trail following the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the coast, part of the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacific. It is now part of Pacific Rim National Park (Parks Canada and Wikipedia) and is often rated by hiking guides as one of the world’s top hiking trails.

The West Coast Trail is open from May 1 until September 30. It is accessible to hikers outside of this period but Parks Canada does not guarantee the accessibility of services (such as search and rescue) in the off season. It was originally known as the Dominion Lifesaving Trail (sometimes misidentified as the West Coast Lifesaving Trail).-Wikipedia

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Video courtesy of Parks Canada website

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My daughter and her friend just finished hiking the West Coast Trail this Summer 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed it. (photos on Facebook) It is rough, it is challenging, but it is an adventure, and it is fun! The trail passes by two manned lighthouses (Pachena -photo above, and Carmanah – photo below) which date back to the time when the trail was Continue reading

Another Group Protecting the BC Coast

Published on 7 Aug 2013 by the Rainforest Conservation Foundation

Documentary Film about the Great Bear Rainforest Youth Paddle – www.gbryouthpaddle.org

In June 2012, a group of Quest university students travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest, through BC’s Inside Passage and arrived in the remote First Nations community of Hartley Bay. Here, we learned firsthand about the potential impacts of the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal on Gitga’at culture and traditions. Quest students, along with youth from the Hartley Bay Secondary School, joined together on a life-changing journey through the pristine waters of BC’s temperate rainforest. Together we paddled from Hartley Bay to the Gitga’at’s spring-harvest camp in Kiel. We journeyed through a portion of the proposed tanker route for the Northern Gateway project, the same area where the ferry Queen of the North sank in 2006. Durig our time in Hartley Bay, participants bared witness to the unparalleled natural abundance of the Great Bear Rainforest. This short documentary provides a platform for youth to speak out and express their perspectives of the pipeline proposal. It also celebrates land and culture, while promotes a more sustainable future.

More information: Rainforest Conservation Foundation (online) and Facebook

Mystery Lighthouse!

mystery_lighthouse

Do you see the lighthouse? Is that not an impressive view!

The photo above was in a website for a Canadian west coast (Vancouver Island, British Columbia) resort. This is the actual view from one of the rooms. I could just imagine being there myself and seeing the waves beat up against the lighthouse island as I relaxed in comfort within the resort.

I even knew what lighthouse it was, or I thought I did! Continue reading

Picture BC – a New Website

My website here is about British Columbia (BC) lighthouses and the environment surrounding them.

Just recently a good friend sent me an email to a website called Picture BC, a delightful photo and video tour of the province of British Columbia, Canada – as beautiful now as when it was created in 2008.

Picture BC - Fisgard Lighthouse

Picture BC photo

According to the site:

Picture BC is an initiative of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), an organization representing the communities participating in this website. The idea and support for Picture BC came from the Province of British Columbia.

[media url=”http://lighthousememories.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/PBC_intro_video_FINAL-1.flv” width=”400″ height=”350″]

The site contains a five (5) minute video tour of the whole of BC (above) which is very well done. If you have never been to BC, you will want to come and visit after seeing this video. If you plan on coming, this is where the lighthouses are. The video shows two or three lighthouses near the end of the clip but there are many more on the BC coast.

There are interactive maps of the regions of BC with links to most cities in the province.

There are also some beautiful photos of major tourist destinations in BC, as well as scenes which cannot be seen unless you take a helicopter or plane ride.

The website is done with Adobe Flash player so it is a bit tricky to manouever around, but have patience – it is worth it!

Enjoy!

 

 

Lighthouse History – 51 (1927-02-04 – 1927-06-29)

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 the series with this 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! So far, a lot of it appears to be obituaries.

Henry Georgeson, 91, retired keeper of Active Pass lighthouse died Feb 3. [funeral Feb 10, 12…] [Colonist, 1927-02-04, p. 4]

 

Died May 9, 1927 at V, Captain James Christensen, 86. Resident here in 1864, aged 21, born in Denmark. He worked his way out in a cargo ship from Liverpool. Here he tried shore pursuits until he joined Surprise as mate, and in that capacity in 1869 came in contact with the loss of US bark John Bright, off Hesquiat… [see earlier accounts] 
Christensen was afterwards on schooner Alert, with Captain William Spring, and continued trading on the West Coast for some years. He was a pioneer in the sealing trade. His last journey to the west coast was to take material for the erection of Cape Beale lighthouse in 1876. He was successively in command of Beaver, Pilot, tugs Alexander and Lorne, and in 1891 became pilot for Victoria and Nanaimo districts [8 years]. 
In 1868 he married Mary Linklater, and leaves son, Andrew. His other son, Captain James Christensen, succeeded him as commander of Lorne and afterwards ran other tugs out of Victoria until 1894. In that year he lost his life with all the crew of steamer Estelle, which foundered off Cape Mudge. IOOF. Pallbearers: Captains J E Butler and J Gosse, E More, J Woodriff, W McKay, R Lawson. May 11, 14 – How Captain Christensen Conquered the Doubters… Family plot, H 093b094 E 23. [Colonist, 1927-05-08*] Continue reading

Columbia III – Another Mission Boat, Another Missionary

 

On October 14, 2011 I wrote the article Thomas Crosby V – One of the “Bookboats” which described the church mission boat from the United Church of Canada. Now, a good friend Carol Jeffrey found a reference to a new mission boat, the Columbia III which worked for the Columbia Coast Mission from the Anglican Church. Below is a bit of information on this service to isolated posts on the BC coast , including lighthouses.

Western Mariner Magazine December 2006

– text from Jeanette Taylor1

While the headlines of Campbell River newspapers fumed over the millions of public dollars recently allocated for a consolidated mid-Vancouver Island hospital, a small crowd gathered at the city’s Discovery Harbour Pier for a tea celebrating the 50th anniversary of the launch of the hospital ship Columbia III. She was one of the last in a long line of
vessels operated by the Anglican Church’s Columbia Coast Mission. The Mission provided medical, non-sectarian religious and social services to remote settlements, lighthouses, logging camps and First Nations villages along BC’s inside coast from 1905 to the late 1960s.

The launch of Columbia III on October 13, 1956, took place at Star Shipyards (Mercer’s) in New Westminster, just 100 feet from where the second Columbia had been built hy the Dawes Shipyard in 1910. Robert Allan and his son Robert F. (Bob) Allan were in partnership as Vancouver naval architects when Columbia III was designed. Propulsion was a 182-hp Gardner 8L3 (still powering the vessel). Diesel generating and heating units were installed, as well as a propane sterilizer in the hospital cabin, x-ray machine, propane range and refrigerator in the galley and a Spilsbury & Tindall radio-telephone.

The coast has changed radically in the half century since the Columbia III glided down the launch-ways at Star Shipyard (Mercer’s) in New Westminster on October 13, 1956. That year a new hospital was in the offing for Campbell River and there were small hospitals established in Alert Bay and Powell River, but there were still hundreds of people living on the isolated coast between Sechelt and Seymour Inlet with little or no access to medical care or regular social contacts. No matter what the religious convictions of these people, the arrival of the Columbia was a welcome sight.

Sea Kayaking Tours in BC Canada

The Columbia Coast Mission saved hundreds of lives when its vessels hastened to logging camp accidents. The mission also provided a cherished social outlet. “It was very exciting when the Columbia came because there was very little entertainment for us,” remarked one of the attendees at the 50th anniversary tea held onboard Columbia III. In
those days the Columbia’s staff brought books, showed movies and hosted Christmas pageants, complete with a portly Santa Claus. Mothership Adventures, which offers eco and cultural tours in inside waters with the Columbia III, has had new owners since 2005, Ross Campbell and Fern Kornelsen of Sonora Island, and they welcomed the idea of the 50th celebration. The vessel’s aft double doors, designed originally to provide access for stretchers, were opened wide to a crowd which filled the saloon and aft deck to reminisce about the Columbia Coast Mission. The Campbell River stop came at the end of a 50th
anniversary voyage which originated in Port McNeill and threaded its way south with an enthusiastic group on board, all the members of which had past associations with the coastal ‘mission ships’. Along the way they revisited many homesteads, settlements and villages which had been regular stops during the Columbia’s service.Well aware of the Mission’s historic service Campbell and Kornelsen were pleased to return Columbia III to this part of the coast. But they weren’t prepared for the depth of feeling many still hold for the Mission and its ships. Wherever they tie up people have memories to share. On the recent anniversary cruise a young man asked the Columbia’s skipper to give a blast on the ship’s distinctive whistle as they passed the Alert Bay home of his 90-year-old grandmother, “for old time’s sake.” At the Whaletown wharf on Cortes Island, once frequented by the Coast Mission vessels, a small crowd gathered to watch Columbia III pull alongside. “I got a call from a neighbour,” said Jan Boas. “She said, ‘The Columbia is coming!’

This summoning call was heard frequently on this coast in days gone by. Prior to the advent of the Columbia Coast Mission in 1905 there were more than 100 isolated logging camps and settlements scattered along the coast and accidents were alarmingly common. The only hope, in the case of serious injury, was to row out into one of the main passages in an often futile search for a passing freight or passenger steamer. A lucky few
survived under these circumstances. The arrival of four dead loggers in Vancouver on a steamer galvanized the Mission’s founder, Reverend John Antle, into action. He persuaded his church to launch the first Columbia and later raised funds for four hospitals throughout the region.

By the time the Columbia III was launched in 1956, the coast was undergoing rapid change. Timber licences were being awarded almost exclusively to large companies, cutting out the smaller operators. This, and greater utilization of float planes over sea-going vessels and the establishment of highways and ferry connections between coastal centres, began to depopulate the coast. By the early 1960s only a hardy few still lived in isolation. Even the chaplains from the Mission took to the air in a Cessna floatplane, a practice which continued through the 1970s.

A gathering on the foredeck of the Columbia III, Kingcome Inlet in the 1960s. Judging by the
finery and the babe in mother’s arms and the Columbia Coast Mission chaplain to right in photo, this was probably a christening ceremony

The last sea-going chaplain with the Columbia Coast Mission, Rev Ivan Putter, arrived in 1965. He had a Decca radar installed so, while the Columbia III was by then serving as mobile aviation fuel rendezvous and a base of operation for the plane which could branch out to isolated pockets of the coast, the vessel continued to help the sick and injured and save lives when the plane was fogbound. However in 1967 the Columbia III was put up for sale. By 1982 the Mission had ceased operation.

Columbia III then passed into the hands of a string of owners and was a liveaboard in False Creek in Vancouver and in a pretty run-down condition when acquired by Bill McKechnie of Victoria in 1990. He worked with shipwright Paul Heron and several Victoria craftspeople on a well-thought-out and classy refurbishment. Original areas such as the doctor’s office and galley were reconfigured and, below decks, the chapel, chaplain’s stateroom and infirmary were converted to cabins and accommodation for 10 berthed passengers and crew members. McKechnie also started Mothership Adventures, a successful ecotourism venture which enabled Columbia Ill’s guests to explore wilderness areas of the mainland around the Broughton Archipelago and the Central Coast through a combination of cruising and kayaking.

A group of people, all with an association with the mission ships, revisited some of the old
haunts between Port McNeill and Campbell River in early October, 2006. Here they are
seated in Columbia Ill’s main saloon, the former hospital cabin. The large bright windows
and mahogany cabinetry and furnishings were part of the extensive 1990s refurbishment
overseen by owner Bill McKechnie in Victoria.

The inset photos show the wheelhouse and the engine room with the 8L3 Gardner that was in Columbia when launched 50 years ago.

Mothership Adventures and Columbia III were sold in the early 2000s to a Seattle owner who intended continuing the business in BC waters. However, he couldn’t make his way around the Canadian 60-ton master’s ticket requirement for Columbia III. Meanwhile Ross Campbell and Fern Kornelsen, who had fallen short in their attempts to buy Mothership Adventures from Bill McKechnie, continued to make it abundantly clear to the US owner that, if he wanted to sell, they would buy. They became owners in early 2005.

The Columbia III in her role as a ‘sea kayaking mothership’.

“The Columbia is always welcome wherever we pull in,” says Ross Campbell. “We feel we are custodians of a significant vessel in BC’s maritime heritage and we try to live up to her good name.”

In that spirit Campbell and his family have agreed to make the ship available for weddings and memorial services for the many people who hold the Columbia’s memory dear. And, Ross adds, “We’ll be working to give her another 50 years on the coast.”

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Here is a story from The Evening Citizen, Ottawa, Friday November 27, 1953

Vancouver (CP)-A missionary of the sea plays a vital part in the lives of 4,000 persons along the lower British Columbia coast.

From inlet to inlet, the mission ship Columbia II skippered by Capt. George A. MacDonald, a friendly 70-year-old Vancouver man, brings spiritual and physical comfort to loggers, fishermen and settlers in some 225 isolated communities.

The sturdy 100-foot diesel-driven ship plies from Stuart Island and Cape Scott at the northern tip of Vancouver island.

Veteran Chaplain

The chaplain is Canon Heber Greene, a veteran missionary, and the ship’s medical facilities are directed by Dr. J. G. Kempff.

In the tiny chapel, there have been weddings, christenings, confirmations, and funeral services.

“We handle hatches, matches and dispatches,” says a crew member.

The ship is one of four operated by the Columbia Coast mission of the Church of England in Canada.

Many mercy missions are undertaken by the 48-year-old Columbia. Last year she logged 31 emergency calls for sickness and accident cases.

“Calling the Columbia” is a frequent call over the ship’s radio-telephone, coming from the coastal districts dotting the rocky island shoreline.

One Mishap

She takes nine six-week cruises a year, and only once has she suffered a mishap. In 1948 she piled onto a reef in Warner Bay and was laid up some six weeks for repairs.

Capt. MacDonald has been with the Columbia for 17 years. With him he has engineer Bob McCree, Jack Owens as cook, and Bob Anderson, deckhand.

Off the main deck is a two-bed hospital equipped with examination table, dental chair, drugs and surgical instruments. Only minor operations are performed. Serious cases are taken to hospital at Alert Bay, the Columbia’s home port, 225 miles northwest of Vancouver.

There are recreational comforts too. There is a reading room, much used by lonely settlers, and a movie theater, where various films are shown during visits to upcoast ports.

“We feel we cover the whole life of the people,” said Canon Alan Greene, superintendent of the mission and brother of the Columbia’s chaplain.

Better Than Planes

Talk of the mission ship being replaced by an airplane gets little sympathy from mission authorities.

Storms and fogs have been battled by the Columbia on mercy missions. Under similar bad weather, a plane would be grounded.

“The plane lacks the personal touch,” added Canon Alan Greene, and his views are shared by Captain MacDonald.

The first mission boat was launched by Rev. John Antle in 1905 when Columbia Coast Mission was founded. It voyaged for man years along the coast, was replaced by the Columbia II. The old and expensive Columbia II, too, may be replaced, this time by a smaller vessel.

Of the 13,259 miles covered by the Columbia in 1952, 1, 295 miles were logged on emergency calls. She made a total of 1,047 calls, during which 807 cases were treated. Her sister ship, the John Antle, the Rendezvous, and the Veracity, travelled 6,000 and 5,383 miles, respectively. Three vessels are confined to mission work only.

Such coverage entails an annual expenditure of $75,000, most of which is incurred by the Columbia. The Community Chest of greater Vancouver bears the major part of the ship’s operating expenses, with the provincial and federal governments contributing small grants. The balance is provided through church contributions and private donations.

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FOOTNOTE:

1 Jeanette Taylor is a Quadra Island-based writer and interpreter of BC coastal history and heritage. She has worked with the BC Archives aural history division and held curatorial and programming positions with the Campbell River Museum. She is the author of River City: A History of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands (1999, Harbour) and Exploring Quadra Island: Heritage Sites
and Hiking Trails (2001, Harbour) and is writing a history of the Discovery Islands and adjacent inlets.

Mise Tales Fifteen

 

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

Some of these stories and articles are a bit late for Halloween, but better late than never, especially when lighthouses are a year-round topic!

The Fog – Best Scary Movie Starring Point Reyes Lighthouse

You may have heard of this John Carpenter film – myself, I have never seen it. I was going to write about it, but May, the author at Completely Coastal has done such a good job, I thought I would turn you over to her. Enjoy . . . [link]

A Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over an old leper colony, is the target for revenge by a killer fog containing zombie-like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths. – Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

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Lighthouse Switchback India Pale Ale (IPA)

The Province October 20, 2012

This is the first in a series of reviews on the new wave of British Columbia India Pale Ales (IPAs). This province already produces some Continue reading