Return to Sisters at Christmas c. 1927

– as written by Elizabeth Kate (Stannard) Smithman (Wife of Henry Herbert Smithman who was Senior Keeper at Sisters Island 1927 – 1929)

We were there [Nanaimo, BC ] nearly three weeks and it was two days before Christmas then. I wanted to be back on the lighthouse for Christmas as Bert was there with the other three boys.

I phoned The Government Office to see if any boats were going up that way, but everyone was off on Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I went all around the wharf looking and asking anyone with a boat to please take us up to the lighthouse. No one wanted to go at any price! They knew the old gulf too well and didn’t want to risk it.

I kept going back and asking them to please take a chance and go. At last an older chap said “Alright, we will start out but I don’t think we will make it”. Continue reading

A Trip to Scarlett Point c. 1973

– as told to me by Jean (Bartle) Konkle (daughter of relief keeper Albert Bartle)

I remember going to Scarlett Point one Easter Weekend, the first time we (my husband Rodger and I) had been there. We traveled ten long dusty hours up mostly gravel road to Port Hardy . There we planned to catch a fish boat out to the island. But although the harbour at Port Hardy was glass, nobody would take us out.

Although we couldn’t afford it, we had only the long weekend, so we attempted to charter a helicopter, but they wouldn’t go out in this weather.

32 foot fishboat - photo Ray Morgan

We went back to the fish docks, where we found a 32 foot fish boat to take us out. It leaked diesel, and I lost my breakfast.

When we got to Scarlett, Ralph and Brian came out to meet us in the station boat. The waves were so high, we had to wait until the gunwhales of the fish boat were even with the 14 footer to transfer across. Continue reading

Santa Claus Visits Lighthouses Too!

Besides the mail, the other most important event on the lighthouses was the arrival of Santa Claus! 1

Santa at McInnes Island

One cannot imagine the excitement of the kids during the week before the scheduled Santa arrival. Depending on the station, this could take place anywhere from December 6th to December 18th. Couldn’t leave it much later otherwise Santa wouldn’t get all his other work done. 

Cookies were baked, rooms were cleaned (really!) and the best clothes laid out. 

By the way, Santa had his own special helicopter – sometimes a big one, sometimes a small one! 

In the early days he was transported by ship and flown off the ship by a very small helicopter so that he could visit the lighthouse children. Later he had his own private Coast Guard helicopter for the day and night, which flew him out of Victoria, BC or Prince Rupert, BC.  Continue reading