What started out as a wager of sorts between Norman Luxton and Captain J.C. Voss became reality for Luxton, the Canadian reporter who had never been to sea. With the promise of $2,500 plus royalties for the book Luxton was going to publish following the completion of the oceanic journey, Voss agreed to the challenge.
Measuring just 30ft long and 5ft across, this former Nuu-chah-nulth cedar dug-out canoe carried the two men and a large amount of supplies from Victoria through to the Cook Islands. Luxton bravely faced the open ocean and the unknown, but departed from the voyage upon reaching Suva, Fiji on October 17, 1901.
Not to be deterred, Voss continued on – amongst trials and tribulations often found in adventures – to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, South America and finally ending up in London, England in September of 1904. In 1905, the Tilikum ─ now world renowned ─ was exhibited at Earls Court. She was eventually sold and passed through a number of hands over the following years.
By 1929, Tilikum was found lying derelict on Canvey Island, located in the Thames Estuary, England. She soon returned to Victoria, BC and through the Thermopylae Club, underwent restoration in 1936 and was later donated to the Maritime Museum of BC.