As Allan Easthope carefully inserts a screw into the brightly varnished wood at the bow of his 40-foot boat, Dream Trader, he pauses and looks at his work.
Originally from Santa Cruz, California, the Marine Trader 40 is this week’s Shipping News boat of the week, but just the latest of a series of dream boats for the Kelowna resident.
“This is the third big boat I’ve had in French Creek — this time around,” he said. “I used to fish out of here in the 1950s as well. I went to high school in the old school in Qualicum Beach.”
For the past five years he has travelled from his home to spend some quality time on Dream Trader, taking her up and down the B.C. coast, usually on the inside of Vancouver Island.
“Evidently it will sleep six, but only four are allowed on board,” he said, laughing. “The wood is pretty, but it’s a lot of work. Being around the ocean, the salt water is hard on it. After about three weeks of working on it, I get tired and go home for a while.”
• The crew of HMCS Regina bade a sad farewell to friends and loved ones this week as the Canadian warship set sail for the Middle East on an eight-month counter-terrorism mission.
The ship carries a total of 260 members of the army, navy and air force on the mission, which will see Regina replace HMCS Charlottetown in the Northern Arabian Sea near the borders of Iran and Pakistan.
The ship set sail from its base in CFB Esquimalt on Tuesday.
• British Columbia’s Minister of Environment, Terry Lake has called for a rethink of federal cuts to coast guard facilities on the B.C. coast.
Lake called on Ottawa to not only reverse the cuts but to increase the presence of the coast guard in order to deal with what is expected to be a surge in tanker traffic, whether it be for oil or for liquid natural gas.
• From longtime Shipping News source Clair Davies comes word that fishermen who were dipping their lines off the coast of Mistaken Island had a close encounter with a pod of hunting transient orcas on June 27 — and an even closer encounter with their terrified prey.
The pod was hunting a harbour seal and, as fishermen Kelly Aspinall and Greg Beldham watched, they repeatedly charged the desperate animal until, bloodied and exhausted, it hauled itself up on the stern platform of the astonished men’s boat.
The seal had no interest in returning to the water and refused to budge, keeping an eye on the hungry killer whales that were still searching for it.
The men eventually took the wounded seal close to shore and were able to coax it off the boat to the relative safety of the shallows. It is unclear if the animal survived the ordeal.