This weekend, the Ladysmith Maritime Society has planned a wide variety of activities that celebrate life on the water and this area’s rich marine history.
Ladysmith Maritime Heritage Days, the second in the society’s Ladysmith Maritime Festival series, starts Friday, June 7 from 7-9 p.m. at the Ladysmith Maritime Society (LMS) Community Marina with speakers, videos and demonstrations.
The festival continues Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the marina.
Saturday’s offerings are varied and range from a display of heritage boats from the Ladysmith 09:47:40Harbour and other parts of Vancouver Island and nautical displays of several kinds to a floating maritime museum display. There will also be speakers, videos and demonstrations.
If you’d like to explore Ladysmith Harbour, this would be a great time, as there will be free harbour tours, giving you a chance to discover parts of the bay accessible only by boat, as well as learn about Ladysmith’s maritime history and view wildlife.
Author, boater, and radio host Catherine Dook will be at the marina to share her boating adventures and her latest books.
As a preview of next year’s planned Ladysmith Seafood Fest, there will be a seafood lunch Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring steamed clams in a wine sauce, and oyster burgers with salads.
Ladysmith Maritime Heritage Days chair Rob Pinkerton is excited that about 15 “very nice” heritage boats will be coming to the LMS Community Marina, and people will have a chance to step aboard and find out all about their stories.
One boat Pinkerton is particularly interested in is Deerleap, an 80-foot Hoffner Beaching pleasure craft built in 1929.
“It’s an American boat, and the owner, apparently all he does is want people to look at his boat,” he said. “Everything is crystal. It has quite a history through the wars and sinkings.”
Pull Toy is a “very cute” boat that used to be a fire tug down in Seattle and has been fully restored, according to Pinkerton.
Then there’s Tamarack, an ex-purse seiner fisheries boat that is now a pleasure craft.
“She is the sister ship of the old seine boat that used to be on the $5 bill,” said Pinkerton.
The owner of Jelly Bean, a 32-foot sailboat, sells rope work, and Pinkerton says there will be a “really nice” display of rope mats, monkey’s fists, key chains and decorative rope and knot work.
Pinkerton is also excited to have the flagship of the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society, Halcyon, a 38-foot cutter, at the Maritime Days, along with Vigorous, a big tugboat that is now a pleasure craft.
“It’s going to be a fun day for people who want to look at boats,” said Pinkerton. “These are people who — maybe not all of them, but often — have tons of money, and they spend it on their boats and love to show them to people.”
The Ladysmith Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue will be at the LMS Community Marina, taking people out on its fast responder and doing rescue demonstrations.
In the marina parking lot, Ladysmith’s Harry Blackstaff will be displaying antique engines, and members of the Mid-Island Tract and Equipment Club will have a number of old working engines and a ferris wheel to share with the crowd.
“I’m really looking forward to those,” said Pinkerton.
A Native carver and knitter from Penelakut Island will be coming, and there will be many other demonstrations and showcases.
There will also be two guest speakers during the afternoon. At 12:30 p.m., Ben Mikkelsen will speak about cruising Alaska. The next speaker will be Russ Franson, an instructor at Camosun College and shipwright who is restoring an old West Coast troller. He will speak about boat restorations at 2 p.m.
Tony Grove of Gabriola Island will be at the marina to talk about his work restoring Dorothy, a sailing vessel that Pinkerton says is considered the oldest vessel in Canada that is still working.
There will also be live music throughout the day.
“It’s going to be tons of fun,” said Pinkerton.