Lasqueti Spirit is the Shipping News boat of the week

BC Ferries is satisfied with the way the system is working at Departure Bay

Lasqueti Spirit is this week's Shipping News boat of the week.

• There was a time, way back when, that wouldn’t be uncommon to see the Lasqueti Storm and Lasqueti Spirit fishing the same area as they prowled the seas for salmon.

Those days are long gone now, although it’s still possible to see the pair of 55-foot fish boats tied up side-by-side at the dock at French Creek.

The Shipping News boat of the week, Lasqueti Spirit, was built by the father of current owner Steve Bentley at a shipyard in Scotty Bay on Lasqueti Island in 1978.

Joan Bentley served as crew on her husband’s boat and she said Lasqueti Spirit is one boat she would like to have under her feet when the weather got rough.

“That’s the boat I want to be on in rough seas,” she said. “It has a very deep V and it feels safer.”

These days, she said, Lasqueti Spirit has a hired captain and fishes for Dungeness crab in the waters around Haida Gwai — and she no longer takes part in the adventure.

“It can be very dangerous, with really rough weather,” she said. “It’s not the best weather in Hecate Strait.”

The Bentleys, she said, are no strangers to the sea.

“My dad and Peter Forbes built their first boat, Lasqueti Fisher, on Lasqueti Island in 1958,” Bentley said. “It was a 42-foot wooden boat that’s now a yacht. The shipyard is still there and my brother, Jim, does refits.”

Lasqueti Storm meanwhile is owned by John Millicheap and fishes for prawns, halibut, tuna and herring.


• BC Ferries may have had some technical issues when they first had to reshuffle traffic away from their Duke Point terminal to Departure Bay, but media relations director Debnorah Marshall says the re-jigged system has worked surprisingly well since then.

“It has actually been going extremely well,” Marshall said. “We did have some challenges to overcome initially, such as our point of sale system, which was only set up to deal with one route at Departure Bay, so there were some technical issues for our IT department to work around. We also had to figure out the different lanes we would marshal each route into.”

As well, she said, signage needed to be changed, to make sure customers were directed to the correct vessel on the route they wanted to travel.

“We didn’t want them to get on the wrong boat,” Marshall said.

Staffing also posed a challenge, as the Duke Point staff were moved to Departure Bay and had to familiarize themselves with the workings of the facility.

Overall though, she said the experience, though unfortunate, has shown how well the staff can work together in a difficult situation.

“Everyone pulled together and it’s working really well,” she said. “There were some delays in the first couple of weeks, but after a week we were at 92 per cent on time for both routes.”

Marshall said repairs are continuing at the Duke Point terminal, which will remain inoperative until the spring.

“We have a contractor on site at Duke Point and basically they are disassembling the equipment and ramp structure there,” she said. “We expect to remain closed until mid-April.”



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