Imagine, 110 years previous. It is six o’clock in the morning on May 21st, 1901. The weather is fine, the water calm. A little vessel christened the Tilikum is about to set out from Victoria, BC on an adventure that will span the globe and generations.
What started out as a wager of sorts between Norman Luxton and Captain J.C. Voss had become reality for Luxton, the Canadian reporter who had never been to sea. With the promise of $2500 plus royalties to 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-nulthcedar 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 17th, 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. She is now proudly and permanently displayed at the Maritime Museum of BC.
This May 21st, the Maritime Museum of BC celebrated Tilikum’s 110th Anniversary.