The Last 15 Feet to Go-Beaching the M.V. Pendozi

2021-01-22
© Gordon H. Ficke | Artisan Publications
Article by: Gordon H. Ficke

The Westbank Yacht Club was about to take delivery of their new clubhouse, the retired Kelowna two Westbank ferry, the M.V Pendozi. Loren Dobbin and his crew attempted to pull the vessel onto the beach near Powers Creek with his big D-8 Caterpillar, but couldn’t pull it the last 15 feet to its final resting place. It would not budge another inch.

John A. Brown, a long time Westbank pioneer and charter member of the Westbank Yacht Club recalls that day while working at the nearby Westbank Co-op (adjacent to where The Point is today). “I used to switch the cars that came in or were sent out by barge and handled any fruit that came in to the packing house,” John recalled. “The Skipper from the barge told me one time that he could put the tub in full speed forward while he was tied to the dock and could push the whole dock up onto the road. So John told the work crew that he was sure the barge skipper could push that old ferry into place.

“Oh boy,” they replied,”How can we get him?” John replied,” I don’t know, I’ll ask him see if I can phone him.” The C.P.R. skippers boss was in Penticton and John called him. The boss replied, “It is a funny thing that you phoned today as it’s a slack day and the barge is not fully loaded. He will be in Westbank in 3/4 hour, can he do it then?” John replied,”I think so.”

3/4 hour later the tug and barge pulled up behind the ferry that was stuck on the beach. The skipper came ashore and said, “You guys will have to give me a signal about 15 or 20 feet before he gets there because I can’t stop or turn.”

The skipper went back on the tug and directed that barge with 10 railway cars on it, bumped against the stern of the Pendozi and with the engine at full speed ahead the boat lurched forward landing perfectly into its final Berth.