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

A Trip by Workboat from Carmanah Point c. 1970s – Part 1

Workboat over the side CCGS Camsell - photo John Coldwell

– by Reg Gunn (First Mate on the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir James Douglas)

To see what life was like in the workboats that delivered our groceries and took us off for holidays, check out Reg Gunn’s article Life in the Canadian Coast Guard below.

I was talking with Reg Gunn and he told me “I remember when it was first published I received favourable comments from other Coast Guarders who also had enjoyed working the workboats on the west coast.” 

His story follows.


Life in the Canadian Coast Guard

This story was originally three pages long (sorry Reg, I had to split it into two parts – WordPress restrictions) – JC). Continue reading

A Trip by Workboat from Carmanah Point c. 1970s – Part 2

Part 1 is available here.

It was a big one with a lot of energy. To slow down would have put us at risk of being carried forward up the shore. The stern went violently up and I felt my weight double. As I looked down the length of the boat, it was easy to see we were not in a very good position. I noted the crew were getting the pike poles ready for what ever came next. I thought to myself, this day has not improved. I knew the next thing would be the stern would go down just a fast and I would be floating in air. 

At the top I kicked in the throttle and braced with all my strength as we went down. The stern met the next swell and we shipped considerable water but not enough to kill the engine. I opened the throttle again and backed up and over the next swell. On the back of the next one I did a full powered one eighty degrees turn to get us clear. I slowed and moved over to the lee of the aerial anchor rock. We could assess our situation here and get ready to go out through the gap. 

       I looked at our passengers. They were soaked. I said, “Are you all right there?” Mrs. Pearce said, Apart from being a bit wet, we are fine. Thought you were going to put us back ashore again their Reg. I was glad when you changed your mind!”  Continue reading