Return of the Fishboats

One of the events we looked forward to every year was the return of the trollers1 in the Spring to McInnes Island waters. Around the station was troller territory. In the deeper waters of Milbanke Sound was the place for the seiners.

We made friends with a few of the fishermen, and always got a wave from all the boats when we were on the water. Sometimes we also got advice on what to use (lures or bait) and how deep. They knew we were not much competition.

Trolling looks like a very leisurely activity, and it usually is in a sport boat with only one or two lines in the water. On a commercial troller boat with fifty (50) lines in the water it was hectic. It was an all day job, from first light to dusk. Sometimes alone, sometimes with two men, depending on the size of the boat. 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

The Storm of October 1984

The article I posted earlier about the storm at Cape Scott brought to mind a story I had written for the old website. This story (below) brought to the attention of the government one of the important attributes of BC lighthouse keepers – they are on-site!

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Helicopter pad at McInnes

On Thursday October 12, 1984 Roger Mogg (my assistant) and I were up at the helicopter pad at McInnes Island  lighthouse enjoying the clear Fall weather after lunch. We had been shooting clay pigeons with our shotguns and a newly acquired launcher. The wind was light, with very few clouds in the sky, so it made a perfect day for target practice in between weather reports. 

Just then Karen called up that Stan at Egg Island  had just notified the Coast Guard radio station in Bull Harbour  that he had unexpected high winds and seas. Roger and I looked at each other and joked that Stan must have been into his home-made wine again! Looking down towards Calvert Island  (between us and Egg Island) from our location on the helo (helicopter) pad we could see only clear sky with a trace of cirrus cloud. Calvert was over forty miles (64 kms) away and we could just see the top of it on the horizon. Egg Island was further south still.  Continue reading