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Volume XL      Number 2    February 2022
Commander’s Log




Welcome to February!

I had mentioned in my January report that the Vancouver Boat Show would be virtual this year but unfortunately, this is not to be. I guess it was just not enough time to switch from in-person to virtual. 

Speaking of virtual meetings, our January Squadron night on Weather with Dominique Prinet attracted over 75 viewers! If you missed his presentation or would like to watch it again, this link will be available until February 28, 2022:
Our February Squadron night will also be virtual. Harald Riffel and Janet Coates, who have spoken to us before about their cruise to Alaska are back to give us the nitty-gritty on cruising the west coast of Vancouver Island. If you have ever dreamed of tackling the Island’s west coast, this presentation will be a must-see as Harald has multiple years of experiences on various sizes of boats before last summer’s trip on Raven Song.  See further in the Masthead of the details.

I am hoping that beginning in March we will be able to have face to face meetings at the FCYC, so let's all keep our fingers crossed that Covid will finally be under control.

Last year, because of the Covid restrictions, we did not hold a flare return day. We are planning to hold this popular and necessary event in conjunction with Steveston Marine in the coming months. Stay posted to find out the date and time.

We are also hoping that the Recreational Vessel Courtesy Check (RVCC) program will be held this year. Do you know that you could be fined up to $200 for not having the necessary safety equipment on your boat. Watch for updates on this complimentary program but meanwhile check out the Safe Boating Guide to make sure that you have all the necessary equipment.

Our Boating Courses are doing well with 17 people currently taking our online Boating 2/3 course. The February Marine Radio Course is also full with 20 participants. If you or someone you know needs to obtain their ROC(M), there is another radio course on March 05. This will also be virtual.

I know I am starting to sound like a broken record (that dates me!) but I am again calling for volunteers for the Bridge, our training courses, flare return days and vessel courtesy checks. Despite the fact that Vancouver Squadron has the largest membership of any squadron in Canada, it is always a struggle each year to find volunteers. Our Squadron is only as good as the members who stand up to help. Volunteering can be a rewarding experience as well as a learning experience, not to mention meeting all sorts of nice people.

You may be aware that Howe Sound has been designated a UNESCO biosphere. Imagine! We have something so precious right in our back yard! Check this out: 

In case you are wondering what happened to your latest Pacific Yachting magazine, I am sad to say that National has decided to stop collecting the fees for it on behalf of the Western squadrons. The PY magazine subscription was a membership perk for us but not for the rest of Canada. Apparently negotiations are underway by the National office but in the meantime you will need to contact PY directly to continue your subscription. 

That's all for this month.  Look forward to 'seeing' everyone at our February Squadron night!


Elizabeth Zygmunt
Commander, Vancouver Power & Sail Squadron
February Squadron Night
Squadron Vancouver night, Monday February 21 

This is a Virtual Meeting

"Doors" Open at 7:00 pm
Event begins at 7:30 pm

Join Vancouver Squadron’s social night on Monday February 21, 2022 @ 7:30 for a presentation on Harald & Janet’s cruise of Vancouver Island this past summer – “Cruising the Wild Side -  Raven Song Circumnavigates Vancouver Island”

Harald Riffel has been adventuring on our local waters for many decades via power, sail, kayak and back to power. In between the kayak trips, Harald bought a Ranger 26-foot sailboat in 2001 and conducted a solo circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. In the 2010’s, the “big cruises ranging from the Gulf Islands on up to Broughton Archipelago and as far as Bella Bella. In the summer of 2016, Harald joined a group of kayakers on a beach cleanup project on a remote part of the west coast of Vancouver Island where he met Janet, who also embraced the adventure of boating life. In 2017 Janet and Harald embarked with the Willard on a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. The Willard was soon replaced by the Raven Song, a North Pacific 38, in early 2018, on which Janet and Harald spent 5 months cruising to Glacier Bay and back. Each spring to fall season sees them on another adventure. For 2021, besides exploring the Gulf Islands, they embarked on another circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Join them on Monday February 21 to hear about the planning, execution and all the thrills of circumnavigation Vancouver Island!

It promises to be a very interesting evening.    Make sure you put Monday February 21at 7.30 p.m. in your diary and join us via the GoToMeeting link below:

Upcoming Boating Courses

Maritime Radio Operator Course

(Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Certificate (Maritime))

To ensure that you will receive the course materials before the class, you should register at least two weeks before the class.  Registration will not be accepted on the day of the class.

The fees for all courses are $135 for CPS Members, or $150 for non-members

There is also a "no book" option for a second student sharing course material: members $112.50, non-members $125

We are offering the following one-day Radio Operator courses this Spring:
On-line class (0900-1230): Saturday March 5, 2022
On-line class (0900- 1230): Saturday April 9, 2022
On-line class (0900-1230): Saturday May 7, 2022

Please see

Tales From the Sea

The forgotten Hawaiian islands in Canada

British Columbia’s Gulf Islands are testament of an era when, during a period of internal strife, Hawaiian royalty left their tropical home for distant islands.

Canada’s Gulf Islands are scattered across the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Southern Vancouver Island (Credit: Bloomberg Creative/Getty Images)

Located off a faded game trail on uninhabited Portland Island, the orchard waited. Though the trees were gnarled and twisted, moss-covered and forgotten, the apples were surprisingly crisp; tasting of the kind of nostalgia you don’t find in a modern supermarket apple. The orchard also held a story. But over time, as the forest encroached and the trees grew older, the story itself threatened to disappear.

But time turned out to be on the old orchard’s side, and recently in September, when I returned after a 15-year absence to British Columbia’s Portland Island, the land around the orchard had been cleared.

In 2003, Portland Island, with its winding trails, sandstone cliffs and shell-midden beaches, had become part of the Gulf Island National Park Reserve (GINPR), a sprawling national park made up of protected lands scattered across 15 islands and numerous islets and reefs in the Salish Sea. Over the next 15 years, 17 abandoned orchards, on eight of the islands, were studied by Parks Canada archaeologists and cultural workers in order to gain a glimpse into the lives of early settlers in the region. On Portland Island, a new park sign told me, the heritage apples including Lemon Pippin, Northwest Greening, Winter Banana and Yellow Bellflower had been planted by a man called John Palau, one of the hundreds of Hawaiians who were among the earliest settlers in the region.

The Gulf Islands are comprised of dozens of islands scattered between Vancouver and Southern Vancouver Island. With a mild climate and bucolic landscapes, it’s been the continuous unceded territory of Coast Salish Nations for at least 7,000 years. The Spanish visited in 1791 and then Captain George Vancouver showed up, claiming the Gulf Islands for the British Crown. Not long after, settlers began arriving from all parts of the world. Many of them were Hawaiian, while black Americans, Portuguese, Japanese and Eastern Europeans also settled on the islands.

History, though, can become obscured. And the story of the Gulf Islands became an English one. “People think of the islands as a white place,” BC historian Jean Barman told me by phone. “Time erases stories that don’t fit the preferred narrative.”

During my early autumn visit to Portland Island, I began reading more about its early Hawaiian settlers, sometimes known as Kanakas, after the Hawaiian word for person. I learned that in the late 1700s, during a period of strife when Indigenous Hawaiians (including royalty) were losing their rights and autonomy at home, many of the men joined the maritime fur trade.

Employed by the Hudson Bay Company, hundreds, if not thousands, of Hawaiians found their way to Canada’s west coast. By 1851, some estimates say half the settler population of the Gulf Islands was Hawaiian. Then in the late 1850s, as the border between the US and present-day Canada solidified, many Hawaiians who had been living south moved north, where they were afforded the rights of British citizenship.

Once in BC they became landowners, farmers and fishermen. Gradually, they intermarried with local First Nations or other immigrant groups and their Hawaiian identity was almost lost. But during the years when the land containing the orchards was researched and studied, their story was revived, and Hawaiian Canadians began reclaiming their heritage.

Curious as to why this part of island history had faded from general knowledge – and how it had been rediscovered – I asked Barman. As a historian she’s made a career of looking for excluded histories. “I found the story by chance during a cocktail party,” she said. In the late 1980s, a provincial politician named Mel Couvelier told her he believed he had Indigenous ancestors and asked what she could find out.

Starting from a two-line obituary, Barman began research. She learned Couvelier had an ancestor named Maria Mahoi, a woman born on Vancouver Island in about 1855 to a Hawaiian man and a local Indigenous woman. Mahoi’s story intrigued Barman. “Her ordinary life adds to BC’s story of diversity,” Barman told me – something she says is more important than ever.

“When people share the stories of who they are, they’re partial stories. What gets repeated is based on how ambivalent or how proud you are,” Barman said, explaining this is why many British Columbians of Hawaiian decedent she’s spoken to claim royal heritage. It was a story they were proud of.

While royal heritage might be likely (Hawaiians from the royal family certainly came) – it’s harder to trace. Part of the problem is the fact that the records of Hawaiians who came to the west coast are particularly challenging. Newly arrived Hawaiians often went by a single name or just a nickname. Even when a first and last name was recorded, a name’s spelling often changed over time. So it became difficult to track a specific Hawaiian royal through his or her lifetime.

For Barman, the stories of regular people like Mahoi have more to offer. In her 2004 book, Maria Mahoi of the Islands, she writes that, “By reflecting on Maria Mahoi’s life, we come to realize that we each, every one of us, do matter. Stories about the everyday are as important to our collective memory as a society as is the drama and the glamour. Maybe the easy dismissal of Maria’s worth lies not with her, but with how we think about the past.”

The restoration of Mahoi’s story ended up helping to shape part of a national park.

Maria Mahoi spent her young adulthood sailing a 40ft whaling schooner with her first husband, American sea captain Abel Douglas. As they had children and their family grew, they settled on Salt Spring Island. Here a large number of Hawaiian families had formed a community on the western shore extending south from Fulford Harbour to Isabella Point, overlooking the islands of Russell, Portland and Cole.

Mahoi’s first marriage ended, leaving her a single mother with seven children. She then married a man named George Fisher, the son of a wealthy Englishman called Edward Fisher and an Indigenous Cowichan woman named Sara. The two had an additional six children and made their home in a log cabin on 139 acres near Fulford Harbour.

This changed in 1902, when Hawaiian farmer and fruit grower William Haumea left Mahoi 40 acres on Russell Island. This land was superior to their land on Salt Spring Island, so the family moved, and within a few years they’d built a house and expanded the orchard to six to eight rows of four types of apples and three types of plums (some which came from nearby Portland Island and farmer John Palau). They also had fields of berries and raised chickens and sheep. The family stayed in the home until 1959, enjoying a legacy of apple pies and dried apples as well as clam and fish chowders.

Much of what we think of as Hawaiian culture – hula dance, lei making and traditional food – are the customary domain of women. So those parts of the Hawaiian culture didn’t come to the Gulf Islands with the first male arrivals. But the Hawaiians left their mark in other ways. The community provided both the land and the volunteer builders for the St Paul’s Catholic Church at Fulford Harbour; and Chinook Jargon, the local trade language of the time, included many Hawaiian words. The culture also showed in where the Hawaiians chose to live: most settled in the islands where they were able to continue their practices of fishing and farming.

In Mahoi’s case, she also left behind the family home. The small house – with doorways that were just 5’6” – reflects the small stature of the original inhabitants, something that intrigued later owners. Over time, as more of Russell Island’s unique history became clear, it was acquired by the Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy in 1997 and then deemed culturally distinct enough to become part of GINPR in 2003.

I visited Russell Island in the middle of learning about the Hawaiian legacy in the islands. Wandering down a gentle trail that weaves through a forest of Douglas fir, arbutus, Garry oak and shore pine, I looked out over the white-shell beaches where Indigenous people once had their clam gardens.  Stepping over the wildflowers that were blooming on the rocky outcrops, I took the trail into the forest that leads to the small house where Mahoi’s family had lived. These days, descendants present their history (during non-Covid times) by inviting visitors into the small home where they share their memories and tell stories about Mahoi’s life on the island.

Beside the house is what remains of the large orchard. A sign invited me to pick a handful of the small apples. Crunchy and tart, the flavour was similar to the apples I’d sampled on Portland Island so many years ago. Yet this time they tasted sweeter. Later, when I cooked them into an apple crumble, I wondered if the extra sweetness came from knowing the history and understanding a bit more about the diverse cultures that built this province I call home. I wondered if the richer flavour came from finally learning Maria Mahoi’s name.

Article Reproduced from BBC Travel, by Diane Selkirk, November 24, 2020

Do you have any Stories?
...that you'd like to share?

If you feel the urge to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), and have a story you'd like to share with fellow members, we'd like to read it!

Funny stories, lesson-learned stories, great cruising stories, you-won't-believe-what-happened stories...

Please send any short masterpieces to and we'll try to include them in the Masthead when we have space.

Happy writing... and boating!      

February 21, 2022 Squadron night speakers Harald Riffel and Janet Coates:  Cruising the Wild Side -  Raven Song Circumnavigates Vancouver Island
March 05, 2022 Maritime Radio Course, on-line
March 21, 2022 Squadron night speaker Sean Dimoff, Boating Safety Officer, Office of Boating Safety, Transport Canada
April 09, 2022  Maritime Radio Course, on-line
April 25, 2022 Squadron night DFO Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Whale Protection Unit Fishery Officers, Catriona Day and Dan Vo
May 7, 2022 Maritime Radio Course, on-line
May 16, 2022 Squadron night, AGM and COW


Membership Renewal

A reminder to members to renew your membership! 

In order to renew, you must log into the cps-ecp website.  If you have forgotten your password, you can create a new one.  If you no longer use the email with which you made your profile, you will need to contact Moe to forward to National.  For security reasons, only the member can change their email.   If you forgot or ‘gave up’ last year when trying to renew your membership on the new system, you will not be penalized.   Just pay and renew for 2022 and you will be ‘good to go’ for the year.   Another note, the system is very fussy, and every box must be filled in order for you to proceed.   I know that, for some members, renewing has been a frustrating experience, but it is getting easier all the time as the various glitches are being found and worked out.

Remember that the ‘head of the household’ renews for the entire household.   Lifetime members must still renew at 0.00.     Any questions?    Any problems?  Ask our membership officer, Moe Forrestal
Squadron Bridge (2020-2021)

Commander Elizabeth Zygmunt  
Executive Officer 

Assistant Educational Officer Peter Girling    
Assistant Educational Officer (Radio)
Peter Bennett    
Charles Tai    
Financial Officer
Don Mathew    
Assistant Financial Officer
Les Hausch   
Membership Officer
Moe Forrestal 
Assistant Membership Officer
Twyla Graeme    
Programs Officer
     Terry Friesen
Environmental Officer Bill Blancard    
Communications Officer

Newsletter Editor  Carol Anne Humphrys
Supply Officer (Regalia) Don Zarowny    
Webmaster/IT Officer
Peter Bennett    
Dennis Steeves    
Past Commander
Bill Botham 
Officer-at-Large Dave Atchison     
Officer-at-Large Roger Middleton



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