The Vanlene and I

I received the following email the other day promoting an article on a friend’s website: 

The freighter Vanlene ran up on the rocks on Austin Island in the Broken Group islands on March 14, 1972. She was carrying 300 Dodge Colt automobiles while enroute to Vancouver BC from Japan. The crew was rescued and taken to Port Alberni. How she ended up on the rocks is still a matter of conjecture but it appears that the Master simply did not know where he was at the time of impact (he thought he was off of the coast of Washington) and his navigational aids were inoperable. See the article at Nauticapedia


View Larger Map Continue reading

Ocean Water Samples

One of the duties of a lighthouse keeper on some stations, was to do a daily Sea Water sample. It was started very early on (see the story here), before the advent of Global warming, and the observed data has been beneficial in many ways as you will see at the bottom..

Kains Island (Quatsino) lighthouse

In the above-mentioned story from Kains Island lighthouse, the samples started in 1935, so we have seventy-seven (77) years of ocean data. Also in the story is the fact that in the early years . . . 

. . . the small glass bottles of sea water with cork stoppers were stored in wooden boxes with many little squares, one for each bottle1. These boxes would be shipped out when the supply ship re-supplied the station once a year, usually in July.  Continue reading

The Wind Speed Indicator Episode c.1935

- Roy Carver (son of C. E. Carver on Kains Island 1933 – 1944) 

One of the daily duties of a light house keeper was to estimate the wind speed during each day and record it, along with other meteorological observations and measurements, which also included sea water temperature, and a sample of sea water which was taken at a depth bellow the surface, weather permitting of course.1

Average Seawater Temperature Kains Island 1935 - 2011 - Fisheries & Oceans

The small glass bottles with cork stoppers of sea water were stored in wooden boxes with many little squares, one for each bottle. These boxes would be shipped out when the supply ship re-supplied the station once a year, usually in July. As far as I know Father never did find out what happened to the bottles of sea water after they left the station.2

For an individual to estimate wind speed is a pretty tall order, especially on the edge of an island. If the wind is blowing in your face one would judge the wind speed higher than if it was blowing from behind you (behind the island), so wind speed estimating was not very accurate, even with the crude wind speed indicating instruments supplied at the station. Continue reading

Before the Manuals – Applying for the Job c.1930s

- Roy Carver (son of C. E. Carver on Kains Island 1933 – 1944)

Qualifications for 2nd Class Fog Alarm Engineer - scan Sandra Vigna & Roy Carver

 

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) of Canada was a very imposing body of bureaucrats who controlled the hiring and firing of government employees. It was a bit intimidating when I applied in 1969, and from the evidence on the documents that have been given to me, it was equally, if not more so, in 1933. 

 

Clarence Edgar Carver applied for temporary employment as a lighthouse keeper on Quatsino  lighthouse (aka Kains Island) and was accepted.  

Continue reading

Life on Kains Island 1933 – 1944

- Roy Carver (son of C. E. Carver on Kains Island November 1933 – July 1944)

Roy Carver told me he “was born at the Bancroft Nursing Home at 705 Cook Street in Victoria, BC in mid 1930s. This nursing home was set up for expectant mothers that lived in out of the way places with no doctors, like his mother Evelyn Carver. They could come to the home a month before the due date and stay a few days or a week before returning home.” 

Quatsino Lightstation c. 1930s - photo BC Archives

And Roy definitely did live in an out of the way place with his parents, and later his sister. His father was Clarence Edgar Carver who was the principal lightkeeper, fog alarm operator and radio beacon operator on Quatsino Lighthouse (aka Kains Island) during the period 1933 to 1944. Kains Island is located far up the western side of Vancouver Island on Quatsino sound. Nearest neighbours were six (6) miles (9.7 kilometers) away at the small fishing village of Winter Harbour.  Continue reading

In Memorium – Robert H. W. Collins (1914 – 1993)

Bob Collins (February 06, 1914 -September 29th, 1993) was Principal Keeper on Kains Island (Quatsino). He ran a HAM radio rig with the call sign VE7AOI. Bob was known far and wide as the “King of Kains”. He was a very reserved man and at times very hard to get along with, but he had a heart of gold when you got to know him as I did over many home-brew beers! I learned everything about the operation and maintenance of highlines from him. This knowledge really paid off in later years. – John Coldwell (not a friend, but a student of Bob)

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