Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An evening cruise on the Norweta

Pierre and I spent last night cruising Yellowknife Bay and Back Bay. Not an unusual circumstance in itself, but instead of bobbing along in our little boat, we plied the waters aboard the Norweta. A small cruise ship based in Hay River, NWT, the Norweta frequently makes its way across Great Slave Lake to Yellowknife, as well as up the Mackenzie River to Inuvik. The Mackenzie River cruises are particularly popular, attracting people from all over the world.

Last night’s event was a dinner cruise to raise funds for the NWT Mining Heritage Society. It was a great opportunity to visit with old friends, and to make some new ones. Cocktail hour was spent on the ship’s upper deck, while float planes took off and landed not far from us. There was a bit of a breeze, so we also got to watch sailboats gliding along, as well as the ever-present motor boat traffic.

After dinner below deck in the dining room, we were treated to quick history of mining in the Yellowknife area by Geddes Webster, a former mining engineer and public servant who lived in Yellowknife during its early days. Mr. Webster has carefully recorded his stories of Yellowknife, and the people who founded our community, in a book called The Prospectors' Pick. Needless to say, a copy now resides on our bookshelves.

Pierre and I live across the street from Yellowknife Bay, and have seen the Norweta slip past our front window many a time. Its movement is so silent and stately that we've taken to calling it "the ghost ship." I’ve been on day-cruises on the Norweta two or three times over the years, and appreciated the chance to go aboard again last night. The family that owns the boat is planning to retire, so have put it up for sale. No one’s sure what the future will bring for the little ship. It’s a part of our history, and like many other northerners, I hope it will stay in the NWT.

(The photo above was taken at the government dock in the Old Town; the one below was taken from our front deck this evening.)

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