Friday, May 10, 2013


The once forested False Creek had many saw mills along its banks. These turned the trees into railway ties, mining timber, house logs, flooring, pulp, posts and poles, much of it for export. Some found its way to Mexico and even as far south as Chile.

Sequitur was anchored in Antofagasta Chile, at the edge of the Atacama desert and next to Muelle Salitrero, the saltpetre dock. On 14 February 1879 this structure was the landing dock for the Chilean Armada when they invaded Bolivia. The once busy dock was at the time in Bolivia and the landing that day was the opening act of the War of the Pacific. Chile captured the huge coastal region of Bolivia and its territory in the Atacama, transforming Bolivia into a landlocked backwater.

The now decrepit saltpetre dock is closed to the public but the beautiful British Columbia Douglas fir beams are visible and still well-preserved through time in the dryness of the desert. Antofagasta has an average annual temperature of 17 °C and its average rainfall is a mere 4mm per year.

Further inland are many ghost towns, all that now remains of the once thriving saltpetre mines. Notable among these are Humberstone and Santa Laura, now UNESCO World Heritage sites. During our visits we saw many huge mining structures still in place, abandoned in the early part of the last century. Still well-preserved are the state of the art, for its time, machinery and the massive British Columbia Douglass fir posts and beams, which had been transported from the Muelle Salitrero. 

A tree cut down in 1902 at Lynn Valley on the North Shore of Vancouver, was reported to have measured 125 metres in height, (415 feet) and 4.3 metres in diameter, (14 feet).  It is still possible to come across the remains of a large stump and these remind us of a time when such trees were so plentiful around Vancouver and the shores of False Creek.

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