Collingwood’s new sailors left for their trip with the S.V. Maple Leaf and her crew on October 20th 2016, for five days of leadership training around the Southern Gulf Islands. There were 18 of us on the boat including the crew and our teachers so it was a little cramped, but creating that many more highlights! On the third day we spent a few hours driving around in dinghies to see a sea lion rookery. We got to observe the sea lion behaviour and hear the loud bellows from these magnificent animals. Later on, we even caught a glimpse of how they hunt and eat the salmon on the west coast. Other highlights included hiking around and exploring the local islands as well as learning a bit about their history in the times when we landed onshore. Upon return to the vessel we enjoyed coming back to another amazing meal prepared by Chef Tom; truly an all-inclusive trip.
The ship itself was a huge highlight especially when learned about its history. The Maple Leaf is about 125 years old, living three different “lives” including its original design purpose as a race boat. At the time, she was the most expensive boat of her time to be built. During the war she became a Halibut fishing vessel as her lead keel was stripped for its valuable metal. Currently. she has been rebuilt to her original lines and used as an Ecotourism vessel. The crew consisted of Captain Greg, the first mate Lindsey, and the Chef Tom. They helped guide and teach us the ropes of running a boat including the halyard lines to raise and lower all four sails. Chef Tom kept everyone full with extraordinary food at every meal. The weather varied because even though we got to enjoy the sun while sailing, we were without wind to fill our sails. Closer to evening as the sun was setting Greg would bring out a chart so we could see where we had traveled that day, as well as figure out how far we went. Overall, this was an amazing experience and highly recommended.
By: Brody lewis