From time to time I would go gill netting with my dad, usually on night sets.
I enjoyed pumping the boat out. After a couple of strokes the pump, with much sloshing and gurgling, would magically release the bilge water and I had done it all by myself! Later in the evening as the light began to fade my dad would take the wooden triangular float, raise the glass mantle on the red lantern and light the wick.
He would then pay out the net over the stern and another set would begin. I never tired of the sight of the first sockeye landing on the deck, one of God’s/Nature’s most beautiful creations - all silver, firm and with a greenish blue back. One of my fondest memories is of the one cylinder Easthope gasoline engine powering the boat. I recall the green colour,
the huge flywheel and the brass oiling cap. Most captivating to me was the the sound of it’s heartbeat - ‘pa-choo,.....pa-choo.....pa-choo’. That sound became my lullaby song, as I drifted off to sleep aided by the warmth coming from engine. What better time to have been raised on the North Coast!
KITSON Island at the mouth of the Skeena River was our picnic area. We would reach the island aboard Inverness Cannery gill netters. Most often we were accompanied by the Poisson and the Closter families. These black and white photos were taken in 1945 and 1946.
This beach provided the one large area in our Inverness world where we as kids could run around safely and with total abandon. To go there was a special treat and a place of pure joy. At the end of the day we would return to Inverness fully worn out but happy.
One special occasion that I remember was the 1946 Dominion Day (now Canada Day). The Inverness Cannery gut scow, aptly named ‘The Honeysuckle’, was scoured out with fire hoses and Inverness employees climbed aboard for a Dominion Day celebration on Kitson Island.
Some forty years later, my mother, father and I returned to Kitson Island along with my wife Joan, sons Todd and Chris, my Aunt Marge and Uncle Karl Vick, my dad’s cousin Dick Hedstrom and his partner. Who says ‘you can’t go home again’?
In 1993 Kitson Island was designated a Provincial Marine Park.