Mise Tales Thirty-Seven

 

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

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1538671_264486543725118_1632714509_n Continue reading

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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Reprint – A Sailor’s Journal

LaurierThe Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) carries lighthouse keepers and their supplies (groceries, mail, household goods, etc) usually by ship or helicopter. This story describes the inner workings of the Canadian Coast Guard light icebreaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier as told by my friend Abe Van Oeveren. I have been on several ships and they are indeed a complicated piece of machinery run by very competent men and women.

Abe’s comments to me about the story when I asked permission to reprint:

The account is based on material gathered on several trips blended together to make a story that flows end to end. To make it readable I avoided talking about too much crappy weather which keeps everybody on board the ship unable to fly up to Van, Naden or Barry, or how the ship’s crew’s collective mood changes as the 28 day typical patrol proceeds.  Continue reading

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.

Weather Observing – a Large Part of the Job

Note:- How to obtain an up-to-date weather report from a BC lighthouse

McInnes with weather instruments (lower half) - photo John Coldwell

One of the duties on most of the lighthouse stations, and especially on McInnes Island, up to 2003, was the reporting of local weather (weather visible in the immediate area of the station) to Environment Canada (EC) – earlier called the Atmospheric Environment Service (AES) – for re-broadcast to boaters, pilots and climatologists.

This became even more important after the Tropical Storm of October 1984 hit the British Columbia coastline.

Extreme Tendency November 05, 1988 - scan Glenn Borgens

Every three hours during the day, starting at around three o’clock in the morning we would collect the information on sky condition, visibilty, wind speed and direction, rain/snowfall, wet and dry bulb temperatures plus maximum and minimum temperatures, station pressure and tendency (whether pressure was rising or falling and how rapidly), and sea and swell height. This was then recorded on AES forms or in a notebook depending on the station. Not all stations reported or had the instruments for all observations. These records were forwarded to AES every month along with a Climate Summary for the month. Continue reading

Highline Operation at McInnes Island c. 2004

Aerial highline - photo Glenn Borgens

The highline (aka aerial line, or aerial) was literally the lifeline of the lighthouse in the days before helicopters. It was used and still is used to raise and lower heavy supplies to and from the lighthouse. They were not installed at all lighthouse locations – only the ones with no other access to the ocean within a reasonable distance of the station. For example Cape Scott  has a highline but also has beach access but no one would want to move supplies that distance by hand or by road so a highline was built. Some other stations with highlines are Carmanah, Pachena, Cape Beale, Quatsino, Green, Pine, and Bonilla.   Continue reading

New Threat to Lighthouses Illuminated

Reprinted with permission from Jack Knox, Times Colonist

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New threat to lighthouses illuminated

By Jack Knox, Times Colonist April 3, 2012

Imagine the fuss if the owner of a 152-year-old downtown heritage building just walked away from the structure, allowed it to crumble.

But the Race Rocks lighthouse isn’t downtown. It’s plunked in the waters off Metchosin, as out-of-sight, out-of-mind as many of the other West Coast lighthouses that Pat Carney worries about.

That’s why Saturna Island’s Carney is sounding the alarm (or perhaps the foghorn) about a rapidly approaching deadline that could determine whether lights stand or fall.

This has been an ongoing battle for the former senator and Mulroney-era cabinet minister who, even retired from politics, remains a fierce advocate for B.C.’s coastal communities. This fight goes back years and years, a reaction to Ottawa’s history of tearing down, burning down or neglecting-to-death light stations it no longer valued. Continue reading

Development of the Canadian Icebreaker

I was writing an article that contained a reference to the CCGS Camsell, a Coast Guard icebreaker, and I got to wondering how many people knew about the history of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) ice breakers. Thanks to the generosity of the CCG website I have been given permission to reproduce their material here. It is a very interesting story.

The following article is reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2012

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USQUE AD MARE
A History of the Canadian Coast Guard and Marine Services
by Thomas E. Appleton

Development of the Canadian Icebreaker

We have already noted the influence of the Prince Edward Island winter service on the building of passenger vessels able to navigate in ice, ranging from the underpowered and ineffective Northern Light of 1876 to the handsome cruising ship Earl Grey of 1909. The main business of these ships was to maintain communications. While this evolution was unfolding, the problem of flood control on the St. Lawrence demanded attention. From earliest times ice floating down had formed an annual dam between Montreal and Quebec, causing flooding as it built up and further damage to ships when it gave way. In an attempt to control this process by keeping the ice on the move, a requirement now arose for ships whose primary role was to break ice rather than to maintain communications. As a secondary role, which Canadian icebreakers must have to provide an economic year round usage, there was plenty of work to be done in support of aids to navigation.

CCGS N.B. McLean working in the St. Lawrence.

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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

Coast Guard Auxiliary’s New Rescue Boat is Big Improvement Over Last One

With many thanks to the Prince Rupert Northern View website, I have the following article to reprint for your information. More volunteers helping the Coast Guard. Pretty cool rescue boat too!

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary  is a nonprofit organisation and a registered charity made up of volunteer resources throughout Canada. The CCGA has been in existence since 1978 and provides assistance to the Coast Guard and the National Defense with search and rescue and safe boating programs.

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Coast Guard Auxiliary’s new rescue boat is big improvement over last one

The Coast Guard Auxiliary's new rescue boat the Orme G. Stuart cost over half a million dollars, all of it fundraised - photo Alan S. Hale

By Alan S. Hale – The Northern View
Published: January 21, 2012 1:00 PM 
Updated: January 22, 2012 11:28 AM Continue reading