|Capt. J.C. Voss|
A lifelong mariner, Voss was a Canadian, living in Victoria, BC, in 1901. He was intrigued by Joshua Slocum's first-ever solo circumnavigation of the globe in a small boat between 1895 and 1889, and by the success of his book Sailing Alone Around the World in 1900. When Norman Luxton, a journalist, proposed teaming up for a similar trip in a smaller boat than Slocum's Spray, Voss agreed. As Luxton had no sailing experience, Voss would handle things nautical, while Luxton would document the voyage.
|Tilikum in Samoa. (CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE)|
|Tilikum in New Zealand.|
|Tilikum under all plain sail. (Image from Wikipedia.)|
Voss made many stops in Australia, displaying the boat and giving lectures to fund the ongoing voyage. Next, he went to New Zealand, where he again entered upon the lecture circuit. An incident there is worth quoting at length:
A splendid critique in the next morning's newspapers (in Wellington) served as an instigation to us to speak on several succeeding occasions to full houses, and at the request of a white Maori chief from Palmerston North, a fair inland city, we put the boat on a train and, in company of the chief, journeyed overland to that place. In the country surrounding Palmerston live many Maori farmers who came to town by the hundred (sic) to give us a call. They were more than pleased to see a canoe which had crossed the ocean to their country, and the fact apparently strengthened their belief that in days of yore their ancestors had emigrated in large canoes to New Zealand from some distant region of the Pacific. One Maori, who spoke English fluently, told me that he had never credited the legend, as he thought it impossible to cross the ocean in such frail craft. "And now, as I see with my own eyes that you have covered thousands of miles in this Indian canoe and have arrived safely on our shores, I do not longer question that my forefathers can have accomplished the same!"The maps show the rest of his voyage, which he completed in England in 1904, three years and three months after it began. While he did not return to the west coast of North America, he used the term "circumnavigation" to describe his voyage, on the rationale that he had crossed the three major oceans.
Voss and Tilikum weathered some horrendous storms, often relying on a sea anchor -- a device in which Voss was a firm believer and great champion. He was undoubtedly a seaman of great skill, and his choice of boat and the way in which he outfitted it demonstrate superb insight into small craft design for ocean voyaging.
Tilikum is now on display in the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.