You won’t see MV Pursepa chasing down illegal fish operations these days.
This boat of the week, docked at Deep Bay Harbour, doesn’t do that anymore.
Built in 1928 by Hoffar-Beeching of Vancouver for the Canadian Department of Fisheries, MV Pursepa patrolled the southern half of Vancouver Island until 1960. After that, Pursepa worked in Barclay Sound and the Queen Charlotte Islands until 1990.
In 1998, Pursepa was bought by the current owner, Ian Henry and, after a five-year retrofit, she became a comfortable liveaboard which explores up and down the B.C. coast.
• What looks like a wrinkle dog but could easily take your leg off?
Local fisherman Bob Burkosky has the answer, and he calls the creature one of the strangest he has ever seen.
“We called it the Big Baggy,” he said. “I was halibut fishing one time in March and we decided it was so miserable we would go up in the inland inlets and tried fishing really, really deep to see if there might be some halibut homesteading there.”
What he caught however wasn’t a halibut — but he wasn’t really sure what it actually was.
“It was a shark that had this soft, baggy skin, like one of those Sharpay wrinkle dogs,” he said. “We caught three of them at about 250 fathoms. They were the weirdest things. They were docile, with rough, flabby skin. You could grab them by the scruff. The biggest one was 20 feet long.”
Burkosky said one of his crew members suggested the strange creatures could be sleeper sharks, which are known to live in deep, cold water.
Although they average about 14 feet, the largest sleeper shark recorded was 23 feet, filmed in the deep ocean feeding on a whale carcass.