You Just Thought Moving Was a Pain!

#1 McInnes Island - photo Rob Desmanche

#2 McInnes Island - photo Mike Mitchell

Let’s face it, nobody likes moving. All the packing, loading, carrying, lifting, unpacking. There’s probably nothing more unpleasant to go through, even when you’re moving to a better place and looking forward to moving in.

#3 Loading under the highline

#4 Bonnet slings

But try compounding that with the almost insurmountable obstacle of living on an island. Not just any island, but a remote island with no ship docking facilities, and no aircraft facilities beyond a helicopter pad. That’s

#5 Work crew helping

#6 Work crew place snotters on the crates

exactly what a

friend of mine was doing here. Glenn is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard, and was at the time the principal lighthouse keeper at McInnes Island Lightstation, but had received orders for a change of station. Check out these aerial views of the island he lived on. (photos #1 & #2)

Yeah, you just thought moving was a pain. Glenn provided me with a little photo-essay to show us what he went through, and I decided to share it with you. The thoughts and sentiments are his, and the photos illustrate the story well. Continue reading

Groceries and Mail on a Lighthouse

Groceries being loaded at Coast Guard Base - photo John Coldwell

Some of you may wonder why the number of stories about re-supplying the lighthouses exceeds the others on this site by a large margin (lots more coming!). Next to the family and job, the arrival of the mail and groceries was the most important event in the life of the lightkeeping family. 

Imagine no telephone, no television, no two-way radio, possibly no AM radio, and no contact with the outside world except what you saw going by your window. The post was and still is the most important contact to the real world.  Continue reading

Day of Departure – Going on Leave c.1970s

MBB-105 - photo J. Coldwell

In the days before portable radios and instant communications, we were always apprehensive about the day we headed out for holidays. 

First there was the weather which as everone knows on the West Coast of Canada is always unpredictable even with modern weather forecasting. We observed the weather but rarely got any weather forecasts. 

Next came the Coast Guard. Our long-awaited flight could be diverted for search and rescue, maintenance, or any of a hundred other reasons.  Continue reading

Did You Gain Weight Over Christmas?

Washington State Ferry - photo Steven J. Brown


The following story from the Victoria Times-Colonist caught my attention yesterday:

Heavier Riders Force Capacity Cut on Washington State Ferries


A takeout from the page reads:

British Columbia had the fast ferries.

Now, Washington state has the fat ferries.


On Dec. 1, U.S. Coast Guard vessel stability rules raised the estimated weight of the average adult passenger to 185 pounds from 160 pounds. This was based in part on population information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a coast guard report on the changes.


To comply with the new rules, the state-run ferry system has reduced the number of passengers on a number of routes, Marta Coursey, director of communications for Washington State Ferries, said Thursday. Continue reading

What happened to our Helicopter – CG 253?

CG 253I heard late last year that the  Sikorsky S-61N retired from the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). Yes, it did disappear from the Coast Guard Base in Prince Rupert but where did it go? There were rumours that it went to the US military and was sent off to Afghanistan but there is not a word in the news. There is an article here  about selling and then sending some S-61s to Iraq, but these were Danish S-61 Sea King helicopters.

Finally, after a lot of research I found the following article. The Canadian Coast Guard sold it as surplus. Surplus to what? There was only one S-61N in the CCG. Continue reading