Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 41 - Life on Bird Islands

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/8/1 (1524 reads)
 

n"'7K Hertford Ciboux ST Life on Bird Islands Dan Campbell, d'Or: I'm Daniel John Campbell, Dorn on Ciboux Island, Au? gust 29th, 1915. If you call it Ciboux Is? land, people don't know what you mean. (That's right, people generally know them only as Bird Islands.) But you'll find bird islands all along the coast. Hertford is the other one, inner island. I was born on Ciboux* 5 o'clock in the morning. No doctor in those years.. Old Mother Steven- son--Mrs. Stevenson--she went out with her baby. She was midwife of the village. Fa? ther came ashore and took her over to the island. There were 9 of us in the family, but I was the only one born on the island. Father went out there as lightkeeper in 1912. When he went out, it was a three- story lighthouse--a four-corner lighthouse made of wood; the top section was steel-- the lantern'd be about 35 feet above the ground. The lens that it had was a revolv? ing reflector, turned on a turntable a- round the light--the reflector was about 3 feet 6 inches. It ran by weights. Wind it up. When Father went there first, it only ran for two hours. Every two hours it had to be wound. Get up and put on his clothes and go to a separate building-- 60 or 70 feet. Wind a big crank. The weight went down through the three stories right down to the bottom of the lighthouse. You had to wind it up all- the way. Weight of it ran the mechanism. Same idea as a grandfather clock. But being an old seaman he went to work on it. There was some ex? tra wire there, some extra weights--and he doubled up on everything, had her running four hours. And when the supply boat ar? rived the next season, he prevailed upon the. inspector to give him more equipment, and they landed more cable and extra weights, and Father had it running eight, hours then. Which would give him a full night's sleep. Once a year the supply boat arrived, sup? plied kerosene for the light, cleaning gear. That was all. No food. Lightkeeper supplied his own food. They didn't even supply fuel for the building. Later on they did, for a price. Supply boat would land coal but the lightkeeper still had to buy it. Father had a motorboat for his own fuel and supplies. He would have that in in September. Through the summer, every trip in, he took more supplies out. He'd come in probably once a week, perhaps two weeks between trips. Come into Bras d'Or here. And into Cape Dauphin for the mail. (41)
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