Monday, November 19, 2012

The Lady of the Sea

These two houses on Adanac Street were built in 1906.

Saturday I purchased a copy of the magazine Megaphone. The homeless and low income residents of Vancouver sell  the Megaphone as a way to get a few extra dollars in their pocket without resorting to nefarious means. While paging through it, I found an interesting article written by Bob. He talks about his recollections of the ship, Lady Alexandra. It inspired me to do some research.

The Lady Alexandra was a steamship built in Monrose, Scotland in 1924 for the Union Steamship Company. She served British Columbia from 1924 to 1952, mostly on Howe Sound.

Also on Adanac, these houses were built in 1910.

Lady Alexandra was designed to sail routes from Vancouver to Bowen Island and Howe Sound. She had a speed of 14 knots, with a power plant of two triple expansion steam engines developing 270 net and 2200 horsepower driving twin propellers  The lady had a gross tonnage of 1,396 and net tonnage of 678. She was 225.4 feet long with a beam of 40.7 feet and a depth of 9.7 feet.

The steamship was built by Coaster Construction Co with work beginning in October of 1923 and finishing February 21, 1924. The Lady Alexandra was then put through sea trials in the North Sea before being deemed worthy and setting sail for Canada's west coast. On June 21, 1924, she arrived in Vancouver.

This was a vessel intended for primarily day excursions. Her first excursion on June 25, 1924, was to visit the battle cruiser HMS Hood which was on a visit to Vancouver.

The Lady Alexandra only had 10 berths in six staterooms and though she was licensed to carry 1,400 passengers, she often carried closer to 2,000. The ship had three decks, an 86 seating dining room and a large, hardwood dance floor. She had a cargo capacity of 300 tonnes but rarely exceeded 100 tonnes.

The Union Steamship Company intended to use Alex, as the ship was also known as, as a freighter to carry fish during the off season. Following the close of the 1924 tourist season, Alex went north to Skeena River with a load of cans. Coming back, she was filled with salmon and in the open waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, she rolled precariously as much as 35 degrees. This was her last such trip since the company decided that they could other ships for this task and leave the lady for the southern route.

The amount of passengers going to the Bowen Island Resort tripled after the Lady Alexandra was brought into service. Moonlight dancing cruises with popular Vancouver orchestras performing set said on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Companies and organizations would organize large events at Bowen Island for their staff and they would be transported aboard the Alex.

For most of the 1920s and 1930s, William ‘Cappy’ Yates mastered the Lady Alexandra. Yates was not well known for his seamanship but rather his showmanship which made him and the company popular with the public. He once delayed departing from Bowen Island so that a child's hat which had been blown overboard, could be retrieved.

In 1952, the Alex's season and routes were curtailed due to a fall off in business for the Union Steamship Company and in 1953, she was withdrawn from service completely. In 1960, the great ship was converted into a floating restaurant and placed in Coal Harbour. Later the Lady Alexandra was towed to California. In March of 1980, a storm wrecked this majestic lady.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the information.

 If you haven't got a copy of my latest book, Missing Flowers, then be sure to visit the link this weekend. From Friday the 23rd through Monday the 26th, the eBook will be free.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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