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.
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).
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 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:
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:
N 48 59.731 W 123 48.907