I guess when you live on an island there will always be a certain maritime ambiance prevalent. We started our adventure off with an authentic walk, or passage, down memory lane. Take a second world war Yard Mine Sweeper, convert her to a coastal freighter, send her to the West Coast of Canada and what do you have...the Uchuck III, the last wooden hulled coastal freighter in Canada.
There are so many angles to the Uchuck III story that a book should be written about her, then again we filmed her, and not on a tourist day trip either, but a three day adventure that saw her deliver supplies to fish farms, logging camps and the remote community of Kyuquot on the north west coast of Vancouver Island. We accompanied 34 passengers on the adventure as we rolled in rough water the first day, and basked in sunshine on calm waters while spotting humpback wales for the next two. The trip was a history, geography and marine biology class rolled into one. As the rugged West Coast scenery slid by, the wooden hull, twin in-line 8 cylinder 2 stroke diesels, and the 'telegraph' which relayed ships commands from the bridge to the engine room kept my gearhead juices flowing, and when I'd had enough of that the marine life came out to play. Humpback whales, rafts of sea otters and spawning salmon were the highlight.
For our three day 'Esperanza Adventure Cruise' we have to thank Alberto Girotto for making it happen. We hoped for a day trip, he gave us three, plus two nights in the crew quarters. When he asked me if that would 'work' during our phone conversation I was left speechless. I reckon so. Then there was Julie who fielded my calls from the office with such enthusiasm she made me laugh. On the Uchuck III we'd like to thank the skipper, Spencer, the engineer, Frank, the first mate, Simon, the oiler/deck hand, Dave, and Elaine in the galley. They were like a family and treated us like we were too....and Elaine's cooking was, well I was under threat of being chased from the galley.
We rode up to Gold River the night before we sailed and bedded down in Gold River, at the Gold River Chalet. The folks there put us up comfortably the night before our passage and for a couple of nights upon return so we could explore the incredible countryside and the Upana Caves. It's amazing how quickly Vancouver Island can get rugged