Historian/author to lecture at Royston waterfront

Rick James, local West Coast maritime historian and author of the popular Ghost Ships of Royston, will be on hand once again down on the Royston waterfront this coming Saturday.

Rick James, local West Coast maritime historian and author of the popular Ghost Ships of Royston, will be on hand once again down on the Royston waterfront this coming Saturday.

He will recount some of the fascinating tales associated with the 15 historic ships scuttled at Royston’s hulk breakwater.

James will begin by explaining how the breakwater came to be built by Comox Logging and Railway Company, subsidiary of what was claimed to be the largest timber enterprise in the British Empire in its day: the Canadian Western Lumber Company.

Among the 15 historic ships that he will detail the history of is the massive Cape Horn windjammer Melanope, which was considered a “witch of the waves” in her day.

In the fall of 1903, the Melanope set a record that may have yet to be equalled by a vessel under sail.

After loading lumber in Puget Sound in Washington state, the iron three-master raced to Cape Town, South Africa, in an incredible 72 days, even while shorthanded after 18 of her 30-man crew refused duty and were put in irons.

James will wait at the interpretative sign overlooking the hulk breakwater at the Courtenay end of Marine Drive in Royston this Saturday, where the lecture will begin at 1 p.m. It will be low tide so consider bringing good footwear, as well as binoculars, to better admire the old ship collection from down on the beach.

People wishing to take part in the Royston talk need to pre-book a spot at 250-218-9941. Tickets are $15 per person. Children younger than 12 can participate for free.

— Rick James

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