Renowned Yacht builder Robert Merland “Tolly” Tollefson first visited Princess Louisa Inlet in his own 23 foot wooden boat with his brother and a friend in 1938. He became a great friend of James ‘Mac” MacDonald and visited Louisa more than 50 times (some years doing 2 or 3 trips) before retiring from boating at age 90.
For Tolly’s 90th Birthday The Canadian Tollycruisers gifted a painting of his boat in front of Chatterbox Falls. Wayne Nelson presented the painting to Tollly at his Birthday Party held at the Seattle Boat show. The painting hung in his Port Ludlow home until his death
Tolly passed away in 2011 at the fine age of 100.
One of his requests was to have some of his ashes spread in the misty waters at the base of Chatterbox Falls.
The Canadian Tollycruisers Group commissioned a memorial bench and donated it to the Park. On May 11, 2012 the Park Rangers installed the commemorative Bench in a prominent spot with a fine view of the falls.
To celebrate Tolly’s life and his love of the area, a commemorative Cruise was organized by Terry Murphy.
On May 21, 2012, 16 Tollycraft Yachts from Canada and the USA made their way up Jervis Inlet, passed through Malibu Rapids, and secured on the docks at Chatterbox Falls.
The vessels were BALCORI, BELL ELAFF, BRAVO ZULU, DESTINY, DOUBLE PLAY, NAUTILUS, PAPAKEA, PTAMRGAN, PRECIOUS TIMES, R’ANDIAMO, SURPRISE, SCRUPLES III, TENACIOUS SPIRIT ,VALENTINE, VIDA BELA, & ZARIA.
Interestingly there was a 26, a 30, 2-34’s, 2-37’s, a 40, a 43, 2-44’s, a 48, a 53, a 57, & a 61 representing most of the models built by Tolly post 1975.
Two days later, as the sun came out, Jay Hartland of Anacortes WA read a brief eulogy noting that Tolly built 6000 boats and each of those has had about 5 owners. Tolly, therefore, influenced as many as 30,000 Boaters during his amazing career. It was clear that Tolly considered Tollycraft owners as his family.
Scott Fultz, a 50 year friend of Tolly’s and a former employee at Tollycraft Yachts, with his wife Elaine, spread Tolly’s ashes from their dingy right where Tolly wanted to be, at the base of CHATTERBOX FALLS.
On Shore, 39 Tolly skippers and crew surrounded the Bench and with Tolly’s favouite drink, Single Malt Whisky, saluted Tolly in a toast.
Click this link for more information on Princess Louisa Marine Park
Click this link for more information on Princess Louisa International Society
If you visit Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls be sure to visit the bench and send us a picture of you, the bench and your Tolly at the falls and we’ll post it here.