The Log Barge Island Titan

by Cliff Craig 2017

Island Titan

The Island Titan in Victoria Harbour. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

In 1913 the Island Titan was built as the Transfer No. 4 by the Esquimalt Marine Railway. 130.6’ x 42.1’ x 12.0’ steel hull 584gt non–powered. In 1949 she was rebuilt at Esquimalt BC.

The Island Titan provided a tough, proud, exciting, working experience. She was a beast and now I miss those very exciting times. No phones, no radio, no TV, just an old Marconi AM radio for communication, until we got our first VHF set, but the AM worked better in the Inlets. My Dad had boats and ever since I was a small boy I was operating the boats. It was a natural step to operate the tug and equipment.

Island Titan

The Island Titan in Tahsis Inlet being towed to the Tahsis Hemlock Mill. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

In 1913–1948 she was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., Montreal QC. In 1949–1973 she was owned by Island Tug & Barge Ltd., Victoria BC. In 1974–1991 she was owned by Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd., Coquitlam BC.

Jack Heyland

The late Jack Heyland, 12/25/1937 – 07/02/1978, owner of Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd. which operated the Island Titan. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

In February 1972 I went to work for my brother–in–law Jack Heyland at Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd., Tahsis BC. Jack had apprenticed as a shipwright at the John Manley Shipyard, worked with Jack Bruno at Swiftsure Towing Ltd. and then purchased the LeClere & Collins Shipyard located conveniently across the street from The Wild Duck Inn on the Pitt River. Next he moved his family to Tahsis, B.C. where he took over ownership, management and operation of the Island Titan and the Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd. He was also a commercial diver. Jack was a strong, tough man with deep convictions and his respect didn’t come easy, but was well worth proving yourself to receive. Sadly he died in 1978 his life cut short while still in his prime.

Steve McBeath and Jack Heyland

Steve McBeath and Jack Heyland working on a project at Kitimat BC. (Photo from the Steve McBeath collection.)

Steve McBeath

Steve McBeath went to Tahsis with Jack Heyland. He is operating the TL–20 crane on the deck of the Island Titan with his little dog Kim. He also operated the Stamish Chief. He lived in the classic yacht the Cleodoxa in Tahsis BC. (Photo from the Steve McBeath collection.)

In September of 1978, I (Cliff Craig) bought the equipment and started Westcoast Reman Ltd. and we salvaged a wide range of products including stiff legs, boom chains, standing booms, and boom sticks at Jacklah River in the vicinity of Gold River BC. I then owned the Anglo–Canadian II, a sidewinder boat, a crane and other equipment. Afterwards I was the PetroCanada bulk plant agent at Gold River and Tahsis BC – covering service to all of Nootka Sound BC.

Island Titan

The Island Titan loading deadheads somewhere in Nootka Sound. The Washington TL-20 crane was used for a wide variety of loads. We salvaged deadheads, many of which were six feet or larger at the butt, which removed marine hazards and provided a significant source of logs from logging operations in Nootka Sound. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

Stamish Chief

The Anglo–Canadian II (Photo of a painting by marine artist Bill Maximick in the Cliff Craig collection. )

The Anglo–Canadian II was one of the tugs I operated as skipper in Nootka Sound. We used the Anglo–Canadian II as our tug. She was built in 1946 at Vancouver BC she was 29.6’ x 10.6’ x 4.6’ wooden hulled 8gt 6rt and powered with a 180hp Gray Marine 671 4–valve head engine and an Osborne Propeller. In 1946–1949 she was owned by Ethelbert Stone, Vancouver BC. In 1958–1974 she was owned by Anglo–Canadian Towing Co. Ltd., Port Alberni BC. In 1975 she was owned by Pacific Towing Services Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1976–1978 she was owned by Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd., Tahsis BC. In 1978–1982 she was owned by Westcoast Reman Ltd., Gold River BC. In 1982–1999 she was owned by Nootka Marine Construction Ltd., Gold River BC. The Anglo–Canadian II sank close to Canal Island at the convergence of Eliza Passage and Tlupana Inlet in Nootka Sound on January 02, 1984 as she was towing the Nootka Marine Construction Ltd. wooden pile–driver heading for Tahsis.

Stamish Chief

The Stamish Chief at the chip barge tie up at the Gold River Pulp Mill. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

Stamish Chief

The Stamish Chief at the Tahsis Co. Gold River Pulp Mill with big chip barges behind. (Photo from the Steve McBeath collection. )

The Stamish Chief was the first tug I ran as skipper in 1972. She was a McLaren & Co. design built in 1952 by Allied Shipbuilders Ltd. in Vancouver BC. In 1952 she was owned by Cowdell Towing Ltd., Squamish BC. In 1958–1971 she was owned by Norman F. Cowdell, Squamish BC. In 1971–1985 she was owned by Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd., Port Coquitlam BC. In 1989 she was owned by Gray’s Log Services Ltd., Prince Rupert BC.

Cliff Craig

Cliff Craig at the wheel of the Anglo–Canadian II towing part of a dumper, from the tug the Rivtow Viking and from the log barge Rivtow Logger, from the Burman River Inlet to the Tahsis Company Ltd. Gold River Pulp Mill at the head of Muchalat Inlet in 1973 or 1974. The Anglo–Canadian II was the tug used to tow the Island Titan. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

Anglo-Canadian II

The Anglo–Canadian II (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

Cliff Craig and Perry Waddell

Cliff Craig and Perry Waddell on the Anglo–Canadian II. (We had a lot of hair in those days.) (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection.)

Jack Heyland, Perry and Cliff Waddell were first cousins hailing out of Claresholm, Alberta. Both Perry and Cliff worked for Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd. in Nootka Sound. Cliff Waddell didn’t stay long as he had a farm to operate and manage in Alberta. Perry started working for Jack in May of 1974 and learned to operate the tug. Perry had some great adventures in Nootka Sound, but when he was married a new adventure started for him and his wife in Langley, BC. Jack and Perry parted on the best of terms.

Anglo-Canadian II

Perry Waddell’s nephew on the Anglo–Canadian II. He is standing on a stool – today he is a helicopter pilot at Port McNeill BC. I saved much of the equipment in the picture: the compass, and pressure gauge. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

West Coast Reman Ltd. operated on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and contracted for the Tahsis Company from 1978 until 1991. When I owned the Anglo–Canadian II I had shipwright George Georgeson of Galiano Island, B.C. tear all her gumwood off and replace six edge–grain fir planks in her port side and 4 planks in her starboard side, new deadwood and 4 new oak ribs, new fastenings and replace all the gumwood. Then she went to Campbell River and the shipyard built and fastened new bow steel guard and teeth. I replaced her keel cooling with a steady flow pump through an inboard heat exchanger. Still have her old pinnacle compass, towing lantern, which I had gold plated at the Nanaimo Foundry, a spotlight (which was once oil), and various other period marine hardware. I left her in Campbell River at the dock for a month to tighten up and a fellow living on his old wooden tug totally rewired her. He did a fantastic job, never spared an expense to do it right.

Island Titan

The Island Titan at the Head of the Burman Inlet Orange Peeling Greene’s Log Dump (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

I (Cliff Craig) operated the Washington TL–20 crane and then skippered the tug on the tows. The orange peel bucket on the crane worked best for dredging log dumps. Often I worked alone performing all the equipment operating tasks in turn and then running the tug for the tow back to the mill.

Island Titan

The Island Titan with the cherrypicker and the barge VT 30. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

The cherrypicker is the upside down barge sitting atop the VT–30. It was called the cherrypicker because it had a hydraulic picker mounted on rails running lengthwise on the bottom side. It sat on four very large rebar and cement caps on top of four three pile rebar/cement dolphins and hanging over the water in front of the two log hauls at the Tahsis Company Gold River pulp mill. The hydraulic picker travelled back and forth on the rails loading both hauls. I don’t know who built and installed her, but we took it out on the VT–30 with the expert help of the Dominion Bridge crew, then proceeded to break the TL-20s’ boom in half taking out the first dolphin and cap.

Island Titan

The Island Titan with what we nicknamed as the cherrypicker (the white structure) and the barge VT 30. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

The barge VT–30 was built in 1950 as the R.L. 20 in Vancouver BC by West Coast Ship Builders Ltd. (33.53m x 11.58m x 2.99m) 110.0’ x 38.0’ x 9.8’ steel hulled 354.58gt She was non’powered. In 1958–1961 she was owned by Vancouver Ship & Barge Charterers Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1962–1973 she was owned by the Vancouver Tug Boat Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1974–1979 she was owned by Inlet Salvage & Dredging Ltd., Coquitlam BC. In 1980–2003 she was owned by the Alert Bay Pile Driving Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 2004–2010 she was owned by Richard Johnston, Alert Bay BC.

Island Titan

The Island Titan in Blowhole Bay, Nootka Sound. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

We removed wrecked automobiles, salvaged logs and carried out a wide range of tasks. This set me up well for the rest of my life when I became involved in manufacturing, construction crane operations, bulk plant operations and logging. I couldn’t have asked for a more interesting career – and the experiences in Nootka Sound were wonderful. I miss the sense of adventure, every day was different, and the people there were interesting characters.

Gold River Pulp Mill

The Island Titan at the Booming Grounds at the Gold River Pulp Mill (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

Island Titan

The Island Titan being towed empty out of Tahsis Inlet by the AC II. (Photo from the Cliff Craig collection. )

I operated the Island Titan and tugboat salvaging and dredging for over six years. The Island Titan went mysteriously missing the September long weekend of 1978, never to be seen again by my eyes. She was tied alongside Valley Towing’s Packmore 5000 barge I had been loading with 140 foot cedar poles, waiting to load out another 60 from the sorting grounds. I had just signed a contract to do more work in the coming weeks. The Tuesday after the long weekend in September I came back to work where the Island Titan should have been still tied up, but her four 2 inch tie–up lines were stretched taut and shredded. She had simply disappeared with no trace. The mystery of her fate is unsolved to this day. If any reader can shed light on the solution to this mystery I would really like to hear it.

To quote from this article please cite:

Craig, Cliff (2017) The Log Barge Island Titan. 2017.

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