We planned a family houseboating trip to celebrate both my mom and dad turning 60 this year, Dad in August and Mom in October, so we booked in mid september, 3 nights aboard the “Woody’s Crew” out of Sicamous BC. We wanted all my siblings to be able to come so we booked on a weekend, Friday thru Monday, but then realized this might make it hard to get to Sunday Mass.
As a family we have always worked pretty hard getting our Sunday Obligation in every week. No matter where we are, we get to Mass. Some of my most memorable Masses are from were while we were traveling and even on camping trips, so I set about finding out how to do it during this trip. Googling it turned up absolutely nothing, so I am including some otherwise superfluous details incase some other poor soul searching out this might stumble across it, although I don’t know how helpful I will be.
Let it be known that I knew next to nothing about houseboating before this. I had driven past the Shuswap Lakes and seen the beautiful boats out on the water with their three decker spiral waterslides beckoning to us on the highway, but I really knew nothing about what was involved. I found out there are two parishes in the Shuswap, Our Lady of Fatima in Sicamous, which is really just a Mission of the main parish St. Joseph’s in Salmon Arm. Their Mass times were 2:30 on Saturday in Sicamous, and 9 am on Sunday in Salmon Arm. Besides bringing a Priest along with us on the boat (which we thought about!) these were our only two options, and once I started looking into the logistics of leaving the boat beached somewhere and walking into town and or swimming (or water taxing) in if there’s nowhere to leave the boat I started to get worried that it was next to impossible so we asked our Pastor for a dispensation from our obligation just in case. It looked hella complicated. In the busy summer season I can’t say that what we pulled off would even be a possibility at all.
My dad called the Pastor who says the Masses in both towns and asked how people usually do this and he said that he didn’t know of anyone who ever had. It’s that complicated. That made my heart hurt a little because this is a REALLY popular thing for people to do in this area all Summer, so I was sad for all those people missing Jesus every Sunday. Anyway we resolved to try the best we could. The pastor also mentioned that out of the two options we really only had one because houseboats max speed is about 7 knots, very very slow in other words, and we would never make it into Salmon Arm which is extremely shallow by 9 am. So we had to aim for the Saturday.
Before leaving the dock we talked with the folks at Twin Anchors who were very helpful and they said if there was room at the dock they would see if we could tie up the boat there for the hour and run into town for Mass. So extremely kind of them. It was a little more involved because to get from the main lake to the dock there has to be a train bridge moved out of the way for the boats to sail through. So on Saturday after Lunch we contacted our boating company on the boat 2 way radio and they opened the bridge, and we s.l.o.w.l.y. sailed through, tied up and were able to walk back to our cars and drive (we could have walked all the way to the church but it was raining) the few blocks to Our Lady of Fatima and participate in the Mass. Note to self, 2:30 is not the best time for Mass for two 2 year olds and and a 4 year old who have been partying late into the night before. They slept the whole time and our arms almost gave out. While the 11 month old crawled around shrieking the whole time.
Anyway on any future trips, we will probably avoid being on the water on Saturday/Sunday, so as to avoid needing to do this whole little excursion again. Maybe depart on a Monday and return on Friday or something like that.