Ladysmith harbour tours a hit with all ages

The greatest little tour boat on the water - operated by the Ladysmith Maritime Society

The greatest little tour boat on the water – operated by the Ladysmith Maritime Society

We have found another reason to love Ladysmith as much as we do (and no, we don’t live there!)  The town’s maritime society is chock-a-block with enthusiastic volunteers who do a lot to preserve and promote the nautical history and ambiance of the area, including a really enchanting harbour tour aboard a small restored lifeboat.  We recently climbed aboard the Maritimer with eight other passengers and spent almost an hour taking in the many sights and sounds of the marine environment.

Boom boats - part of the industrial activity in the harbour

Boom boats – part of the industrial activity in the harbour

Youngsters enjoy all sorts of new experiences on the tour, including getting to hold a star fish

Youngsters enjoy all sorts of new experiences on the tour, including getting to hold a star fish

The harbour tour program is one that appeals to all ages – there were small youngsters right up to a bunch of us grandparent-aged folks and, I would venture to say, we all returned to the wharf with a sense of wonder and appreciation at what’s ‘out there’ once you leave solid ground.

The Ladysmith Maritime Society volunteers are responsible for running the harbour tours, and are all certified by Transport Canada.  They also have a great grasp of local history, wildlife and the many interesting sites around the harbour, giving those travelling with them a greater appreciation of what is beyond the marina docks.

Our tour commenced with a sail past the sign designating the 49th parallel of latitude (one of Ladysmith’s claims to fame), and then a cruise past a small waterfront log dump operation, complete with log booms, a perching Great Blue Heron, and a fleet of boom boats used to maneuver logs.  Further along we took in an oil spill recovery operation being supervised by the Coast Guard following the sinking of a small boat (not an occurrence you would see on every tour, but interesting nonetheless).

Not usually on the tour (thankfully) - an oil spill containment supervised by the Coast Guard

Not usually on the tour (thankfully) – an oil spill containment supervised by the Coast Guard

We saw lovely vistas of water and a few homes scattered along the shoreline facing across to Ladysmith, then pulled up alongside a rocky precipice where our skipper scooped up a purple sea star, which was handed around to the youngsters on the Maritimer to see and feel. We saw an endless array of wildlife that included kingfishers, bald eagles, crabs and a variety of other sea life.

And who wouldn't get a thrill out of piloting the boat?

And who wouldn’t get a thrill out of piloting the boat?

And then, it was onward.  Our skipper kindly let the little ones take the tiller and showed them how to steer the Maritimer, how to speed it up or slow it down and, most fun of all – how to do doughnuts! The kids had a ball, and we did too, watching them enjoy themselves so immensely.

Finally it was back towards the marina, viewing the town on the hill, derelict boats, and other boaters and kayakers out on the water. It’s amazing what a different perspective you get from ‘out there’ – so pleased that the Ladysmith Maritime Society undertakes these tours each summer.

The full-length summer harbour tours last about 1 1/2 hours and run twice a day, Tuesday through Sunday.  The tour fee is $15 per person, or $10 for children under the age of 16.

Further information on the tours can be found at:

http://www.ladysmithmaritimesociety.ca/tours2.php

The tours leave from the Ladysmith Community Marina. To get to the marina follow the signs for Transfer Beach Park and keep your eyes peeled for directions to the marina which will be to the left (north) of the park area.

GPS Co-ordinates for the community marina site are:

48.99552295361928  Long.-123.81512403488159

N 48 59.731  W 123 48.907

 

 

Shirley

About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers.
In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.

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