Official No: 0330601
Place Built: Vancouver, BC
Builder: Allied Shipbuilders
Former Name: Texada Queen
Year Built: 1969
Length: 49.5 m
Breadth: 14.63 m
Gross Tons: 797.0
Service Speed: 11 knots
The Tachek is one of a number of minor vessels in the BC Ferries fleet. Built in 1969 for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways, the ferry's original name was the Texada Queen. The Tachek can only be found with any certainty during the winter months; she is the regular vessel between Denman Island and Hornby Island from mid fall to mid spring. The rest of the year, she is either be tied up at Blubber Bay or filling in as a relief vessel on another minor route. The Tachek is a very basic ferry with just a lounge located above the car deck and washrooms. She is similar in design to the Quadra Queen II. Her raised bow improves her ability to handle heavy seas, however it sometimes causes difficulty in loading and unloading large vehicles.
Built in 1969, the Texada Queen was immediately placed on the newly acquired Ministry of Transportation and Highways route between Powell River and Texada Island. She operated on this route for 10 years before being replaced by the larger North Island Princess. Previous to that, in 1977, the Texada Queen had undergone a major refit including engine replacement. At the same time, her name was changed to Tachek. In the summer of 1980, the Tachek ran alongside her sister ship the Quadra Queen II on the Campbell River to Quadra Island route to help deal with heavy traffic (Clapp, 57). In the following years, she was sometimes used as the regular vessel at the northern end of Vancouver Island on the triangle run between Port McNeill, Sointula, and Alert Bay.
After joining BC Ferries, the Tachek has operated on a great variety of routes. For several years in the 1980s and 1990s, she operated as an inter-island ferry between the Southern Gulf Islands, often making trips between Swartz Bay and Lyall Harbour on Saturna Island. During these years she was also used as a relief vessel between Swartz Bay and the Southern Gulf Islands and between Crofton and Vesuvius (Salt Spring Island). During the busy summer months, she also sometimes operated as an additional vessel alongside the Bowen Queen between Swartz Bay and Fulford Harbour (Salt Spring Island). In more modern times, she has known to have relived vessels between Powell River and Texada Island, on her old route between Alert Bay, Sointula, and Port McNeill, and as the second vessel between Tsawwassen and the Gulf Islands (in the summer of 2007 for a few weeks as she replaced the Bowen Queen). For several years, the Tachek has operated as the regular winter vessel between Hornby Island and Denman Island.
1969 - Launched from Allied Shipbuilders in North Vancouver.
1985 - Transferred to BC Ferries when the Ministry's saltwater operations were absorbed by the crown corporation.
1999 - September - BC Ferries had to modify the dock at Crofton on Vancouver Island to accommodate the Tachek, which was replacing the Howe Sound Queen.
2000 - February 20 - A serious gasoline spill occurred on board the Tachek during a dangerous cargo sailing as she was discharging a fuel truck at Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island. As the truck was driving onto the ramp, the bottom of its trailer made contact with the ferry's deck causing a hole. Fortunately, the environmental impact was minimal as the gasoline quickly evaporated.
2001 - July - August - A $1.2 million dollar refit undertaken at Point Hope Shipyard. Work included an engine overhaul and structural repairs.
Origin of Name Texada Queen - Named after Texada Island the largest island in Georgia Strait, lying offshore of the Sunshine Coast. Unlike the other Gulf Islands, Texada is primarily industrial; the primary industries being logging and mining. Mining began in the late 19th century for iron ore, copper, and gold. The town of Van Anda was once a major center, home to the only opera house north of San Francisco, its own Chinatown, a hospital, three hotels, saloons, and numerous commercial enterprises. Limestone is still mined on the island today and a quarry dominates the landscape at the ferry terminal at Blubber Bay. Texada Island is named after Spanish officer Felix de Tejeda who was a part of the Narvaez Expedition in the late 1800s. ("Texada Island" - Encyclopedia of British Columbia)
Tachek - The only other "Tachek" that can be found in British Columbia is an obscure mountain and creek in northern British Columbia. The mountain is located about 75km southeast of Smithers. The creek, nearby, flows into Babine Lake.
For Further Reading
Clapp, Frank. Ministry of Transportation and Highways: Inland and Coastal Ferries. Victoria: Province of British Columbia, 1981. Also 1978 and 1991 editions.
Special thanks to Scott Arkell of Nanaimo, BC for permission to use his photo of the Tachek as the header for this webpage. This photographs is his property and only to be used with his permission. Visit his BCFS' photos album hosted by flickr for more great ferry photos.