Highdy Landers is the elf on the ferry

Diane
Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK — There’s been a new crew member onboard the MV Highlanders over the past month or so, but she’s no ordinary crew member.

She’s Highdy Landers, an Elf on the Shelf who works to spread cheer — and fun — among crew and passengers as they travel between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, N.S.

Highdy was brought into the crew by Elaine Cook of Port aux Basques, a cashier in the ferry’s restaurant.

Cook has four grown children and four grandchildren. It was a conversation with her grandson that got Cook, who’s head of the social committee, to thinking.

She said they were talking about her grandson’s Elf on a Shelf and how it would soon visit his home.

“I said, ‘Elves visit everybody.’”

Her grandson replied by saying his Cook isn’t home all the time and wondered who visits her on the boat. That’s when the Elf on the Shelf idea came to her.

But unlike Santa’s other scout elves, Cook knew the Highlanders elf had to be a bit different. Cook knew there was only one way to do that, and that was to make her part of the crew.

While packing for work a couple of days later, Cook saw an old uniform. She contacted a friend who sews, explained what she was looking for and had a uniform made for the elf.

Cook laughs when she says the ship’s cook, David Coole, was the one to find Highdy in one of his soup pots on the elf’s first day, Nov. 15. Coole’s reaction of laughter was enough to make Highdy a welcome member of the crew.

“The kids love to come out and find her everywhere,” Cook said of the ferry passengers.

Highdy has been known to hang out in the Christmas tree, in a sleigh on the reception desk and even in the dishwasher.

She also likes to play jokes on fellow crew and has toilet-papered the chief steward’s office and gift wrapped a shipmate’s door while that person was in the shower.

The elf has also excelled at her job. She recently passed the chief steward’s exam and proudly wears the stripes on her uniform.

“The busier she gets the busier I get,” said Cook with a laugh.

“But I’m loving it. It’s giving everybody this uplift, it’s fantastic.”

And Highdy has also become a bit of a viral sensation that started when the VON came onboard to give crewmembers their flu shots. Cook took Highdy to get one and a few pictures were taken.

Some of those pictures were sent to a Marine Atlantic communications officer, who then did a story on Highdy in the company magazine. That led to a profile on the company blog and to documenting her travels on Twitter.

“There are people taking little YouTube videos of her with their kids. It’s just great,” added Cook.

While Highdy returns to the North Pole each night to report to Santa on the day’s events, she has a few more crossings to make before taking her leave from the Highlanders after Christmas Eve.

“She’s looking forward to sitting back with Santa and watching the junior hockey game,” said Cook.

 

 

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Port aux Basques, North Sydney, North Pole

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  • abby
    December 27, 2013 - 08:11

    SO THIS IS WHO THEY REPLACED BUGS WITH?