Bravo! Coastal Rainforest in British Columbia Now Protected!

BC_Coast_Pacific_Wild

 

This photo above from Pacific Wild shows only a part of what is being protected

The title for this article comes from a news release by the Treehugger website on July 27, 2006.

nrdc-bear-bc-02Their article from 2006 said: “The government of British Columbia has agreed to protect more than 5 million acres of the Great Bear coastal rainforest. It is home to the world’s last white-colored Spirit Bears “

The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) was also quoted in the article.

The thousand-year-old red cedars, Sitka spruce, western hemlock and balsam blanketing this swath of rugged coastline provide vital habitat for wolves, eagles, grizzlies and several hundred Spirit Bears. Found only in the Great Bear Rainforest, the Spirit Bear gets its white color from a recessive gene occurring in roughly one of every ten black bears born in the forest. The Spirit Bear figures prominently in the mythology and culture of several indigenous communities — known as First Nations in Canada — that have inhabited the Great Bear Rainforest for thousands of years.

The new conservation agreement, negotiated directly by the British Columbia government and the region’s First Nations, will protect an unspoiled area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park from logging and ensure the right of the First Nations to manage their traditional territories. In addition, the agreement establishes new, more stringent standards for logging in the rainforest outside of the protected area. “The accord will preserve this irreplaceable rainforest but still allow for controlled logging to sustain local economies,” said NRDC senior attorney Susan Casey-Lefkowitz. “It is a new model that shows we can save our most valuable wildlands and our communities at the same time.”

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Wildlife and Spirit Bear Adventures

When I wrote the story A Wolf At McInnes I never really explained how the wolf got on to McInnes Island, so today I am going to combine two stories into one. Firstly, the wolf swam from nearby Price Island over two (2) kilometers away, probably island hopping to catch its breath. Pictured below and in the album are photos of wolves swimming taken by photographer Leanne Reandy, a staff member of Spirit Bear Adventures, on a trip back to Klemtu from Bella Bella, BC. 

wolf swimming - by Leanne Reandy

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A Wolf at McInnes

A friend, Brian Waddington (aka Gups-Y-Bees) and I, he an ex-lighthouse keeper from Ivory Island many years ago, have a common friend on my old lighthouse at McInnes Island.

The friend is Colin Toner and he has been on McInnes for a few years, but the following experience as related below and the same on Brian’s website butterfliesdragonspeace  (Part 1 and Part 2) was a different day in the life of a lighthouse keeper!

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Lighthouse Keepers Life: Colin And Family have A Special Guest At The McInnes Island Light-Station

wolf

wolf on McInnes

cropped wolfColin Toner looking out the kitchen window I see my dog lounging in the sun then it occurs to me this one is grey and mine is inside – beautiful grey wolf swam all the way here to visit .
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Light-house keeping is a fine career if you are the light-house keeper type. Rarely boring, always useful, fits right into Buddhist beliefs about what makes a proper job and you just never know who is going to show up for coffee and company.
 
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This Wolf seems to want to be allowed to join the human pack on this new island.
Time will tell.

More photos in Colin’s Wolf Diaries and Wolf Diaries Pt. 2 on his Facebook page.

In Memorium – Elmer Cordoni (1923 – 2013)

CORDONI, Elmer Frank “Bunk” October 18, 1923 – August 31, 2013 Elmer was born in Port Arthur, Ontario and passed away in Burnaby, BC, after a lengthy stay in hospital. He was predeceased by his wife, Olga, brothers Harold (Peggy), Peter (Shirley), Tony (Doris), and sisters Elvira (Ted) and Lydia (Alvin). He is survived by his loving family, children Corinne (Richard), Steve, Raymond (Deirdre) and Catherine, grandchildren Kristi (Barron), Stacey, Ryan (Ling), Allison (Mike) and Harley, great- grandchildren Else and Grace, and brothers Dante (Margaret) and Alfred (Vi), sisters, Doris (Judd) and Josephine, as well as many nephews and nieces.

When he was 3 years old, Elmer moved with his family to Fort Langley, BC. The large family survived the Great Depression by farming and fishing. In young adulthood, he was conscripted by the army, where he was stationed in Europe. He loved to tell stories, and was christened Bunk by his army buddies when he told them the story of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Another story: he was slated to go out to the front at Dunkirk, on the next boat, and fortunately, was rescued by the declaration of armistice. By 1951 he and Catherine Marie Hinsche got married, and started their family. Elmer was a fisherman, a gillnetter, and always handy with a hammer and saw, he built his own fishing boat, the Castanet. With Marie, he built the family home in Haney. Then came the lighthouse days, from 1958 to 1967. Elmer took a posting to the isolated lightstation, Scarlett Point. In 1963, the family moved to Active Pass Lightstation on Mayne Island.

In 1967, Elmer and Marie divorced and Elmer became a single father. With his children, he moved to East Vancouver. Later, he met and married Olga, and they spent many happy years buying handyman special real estate bargains, fixing them up and making a bit of money. He took early retirement from his job of maintaining the navigational lights on the Fraser River, up to Indian Arm. Elmer and Olga built a new house in Fleetwood, Surrey, and had a summer place in Bowser, BC. Later, they sold both places and moved to Parksville, where they lived until Olga’s death.

In the later years of his retirement, Elmer moved back to Fleetwood, where he spent time with family and travelled to exotic locations with his daughter, Catherine. He came more alive when around his family, always ready with a smile and sometimes, a funny ditty or jingle. He will be sorely missed.

Thanks go to the staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital, who took care of Elmer for 9 months, and to the staff at Fellburn Care Centre, who helped him in the last days of his life. Reception to be held at Langley Golf Centre, 21550 – 44th Ave Langley, Sunday, October 27, 1:30 to 4:30.

To send condolences please visit, http://wordpress-rcordoni.rhcloud.com/dad/

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Oct. 5, 2013

To include your memories in Elmer’s memorial please click this link.

 

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.

In Memorium – Fred Wood (1915 – 2013)

Fred Wood

Fred Wood

Frederick Henry Wood, June 19, 1915 – February 6, 2013 Fred Wood, long time resident of the Shawnigan Lake area, passed peacefully away at Cowichan District Hospital on February 6. He was 97 years of age and had only been ill a short time. Mr. Wood was born in Ottawa, son of the late Thomas Wood and Annie Winges. He came to Victoria in 1938, and married his “ever lovin” Alice (nee Cole) in 1940. Fred and Alice settled in Shawnigan Lake to raise their sons, where Fred enjoyed active involvement in the community and self employment in the logging industry for many years. In 1970 Fred joined the Canadian Coast Guard as a lighthouse keeper, where he and Alice spent a very special decade living on various light stations on the pacific coast. Fred and Alice retired to Victoria, then finally to Cobble Hill in 2001 to live out their golden years. Throughout his life, Fred was an avid gardener, his favourite crop being his tomato plants, which he grew to perfection. Fred was predeceased by his youngest son Tom in 2007. He is survived by Alice, his beloved wife of 72 years, his son Richard (Reta), daughter-in-law Susan and grandsons Dan, Chris and Steve. No service by request. A small Remembrance will be held at a later date. “Anything happen come.”- Published in Victoria Times-Colonist on March 29, 2013

To include your memories in Fred’s memorial please click this link.

F H Wood obit

F H Wood obit

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McInnes Island Lighthouse – a Tale from the 1950s

 

I published a report January 04, 2012 on the building of McInnes Island lighthouse in 1953 based on the adventures of Ken Stewart who was part of the construction crew. I updated that post later with more information in the form of a PDF file.

1977

When I arrived with my family in the winter of 1977 the first thing we did was explore the island. Pictured left is a small log cabin buried back in the woods on the trail to the SW tip of the island.

Now let’s skip ahead to December 09, 2012 when I received an email from Mrs. K. Marshall with another photo of the same cabin taken about twenty-two (22) years earlier! What a delight to see what she had written on who built the cabin and also for her to see my photo taken so many years later.

In her email she said:

My grandfather James “Jimmie” Smith was a junior lighthouse keeper on McInnes for a few years in the late 1950s.
He was there with my grandmother Mildred “Millie”, and their 2 daughters who were teenagers at the time, my mother Carol and her sister Sharon.

These photos are of a driftwood log cabin that my Mom and her sister built on the island. I’ve been scanning old family photos this past week and have quite a few from the lighthouses.

I’d be really curious to know if the cabin was still standing while you were stationed there.

Well, as I told her the cabin was there in the winter of 1977, but by the summer of 1978 we had burnt it down as it was very unsafe for anybody to venture inside and could not be repaired. An email from her Mom, the Carol mentioned above, says: 

Pool area – labelled

[To build] the cabin I pulled and carried the logs from just below the cabin from the beach. The shakes I cut those with a hand saw to length. Split them with Mom’s best butcher knife and a hammer on the back of the knife….that didn’t go over at all well…believe me.

McInnes island – no labels

That end of the island where the cabin was. No one had trails there at all. Sharon and I started to explore that area. Dad, Bruce and Tony when they realized where we where disappearing to, they cut the logs of the trail so the adults could get into that area.

The swimming pool was past the

The swimming pool

cabin. You went up the hill and there was the natural crater in the rock. Dad and Mom used a washing soda to clean it all. Then the guys had a pump and hoses. They pumped new sea water up into the basin. Dad made up a bag of concrete to sort of plug one end of the crater. We just lived in that area all good days. Lots of nights we spent in the cabin. Continue reading

A Lighthouse at Night

 

One of the nicest things about night shift on McInnes Island lighthouse was observing the sky on a clear night. It was always the same, and always different.

The same stars were always there, but the moon waxed and waned, comets streaked across at intervals, sometimes an airplane’s navigation lights blinked in the south, or sometimes the Northern Lights flashed in the north. Below are some more shots.

One of the problems with seeing such sights in the city is the city lights, often called light pollution. The graphic below ill show you what is seen and not seen as light pollution decreases.

I must confess, that is what the night sky looks like at night from a lighthouse, but not having a photo from my experiences on McInnes lighthouse as my camera was too amateurish for such detail, I added the lighthouse silhouette to the photos from the gallery below. Are the photos below fantastic or not?

 

But, when looking at the full-sized photo at the top, turn off your lights and imagine what it was like. Sometimes we would take a foam mat and lay down on the helicopter pad and just watch the night sky. It was fascinating. For meteor showers and comets it was unbeatable. Continue reading

Quitting Smoking – Not on a Lighthouse!

I was a smoker when I arrived on my first lighthouse at Pulteney Point in December 1969. I was twenty-two (22) years old, married, with no children when I arrived.

My wife, Karen, and I had never had to order supplies for a month. Our first order was loaded with chocolate bars and stuff we figured we would not be able to do without. Tobacco, as I rolled my own, was not a problem – two cans of Player’s tobacco should do for a month. 

When you live in the city with stores right at hand, you never consider how much you use in a month. It is used until it runs out and you buy more. Well, the tobacco supply was greatly underestimated. I ran out.

Next day I asked the senior lightkeeper, Walt Tansky, if I could borrow the station boat and run into the town of Sointula about 8 kms away. Walt said he had a better idea and invited me into his house. He headed for the basement and came back with a can of Player’s tobacco. IT was c-o-l-d!

Walt explained that he had quit smoking years ago and that a personal motive to quit was to keep a can of tobacco on hand in the freezer. It became a cushion against his addiction.

“But”, I said, “you quit years ago. This tobacco is that old?”

“No”, he siad, “It has been replaced many times.”

“Replaced?”

“Yes”, everytime a keeper runs out, he may borrow this can and replace it at the first available chance. It has been replaced many times – by fishermen, pilots, keepers, and campers.” Continue reading

Preparing for a Winter Storm

This is what we heard on the radio from the Coast Guard station:

Marine forecasts issued by the Pacific Weather Centre of Environment Canada at 4 AM PDT Saturday 9 September for the period ending 4 AM Sunday with an outlook for the following 24 hours. The next scheduled forecast will be issued at 10:30 AM PDT.

Synopsis
A trough of low pressure over Queen Charlotte Sound will slide Over Vancouver Island later today. A cold front just west of Bowie will approach the Charlottes this afternoon. Over northern and central waters strong winds near the trough will rise to strong to gale force southeasterlies as the front approaches. Over southern waters light to moderate northwest winds will shift to moderate to heavy southeast later today as the trough moves to the south. As the front approaches from the west forecast sea state values are combined wind wave and swell height.

Central coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island.
Storm warning issued. Winds southeast 30 to 40 knots this morning then rising to southeasterly 40 to 50 this afternoon. Winds rising to south 50 to 60 this evening then to southeast storm force winds overnight. Overcast. Heavy rain. Seas 1 to 2 metres building to 2 to 3 tonight. Outlook. Winds continuing southeast storm force winds. Continue reading