Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 36 > Page 70 - A Visit with Steve Whitty, Ingonish Beach

Page 70 - A Visit with Steve Whitty, Ingonish Beach

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/6/1 (188 reads)

there. Well, I'll tell you how bad the pain was: I was going to jump overboard. Split that finger right open. And went out and split that and got a chew of tobacco into it and tied it up--that's all. After a week or so, it was all right. I never stopped fishing. No, sir. Dangerous, dan? gerous. One fellow, he was sitting like that, and there was quite a sea on--and the hook came up, poor fellow, and went right in his nostril. Had to take him to North Sydney to get the hook cut out. But I loved it.. Because it's the healthi? est life on earth. People often ask me, if you had your life to live over again, what kind of life would you live? I'll tell you the kind of life I'd live. I'd like to get into one of those boats, fishing. I saw us one time--I was fishing with this fellow and my father. She was only a one- dory boat; she was smaller than others. But we fished until the 16th day of Janu? ary. And it was on a Saturday. The harbour was frozen, you could go onto it with trac? tors for weeks before that. I was only 18. We were coming in pretty well where the buoy is at there, off of Smokey. I said to my father, "I ain't going out tomorrow." He said, "Why?" I said, "Because I'm get? ting sick of this. I've been fishing now since the first day of May. I'm only a kid and I want a little recreation somewhere." All he said was, "Okay, me son, you quit, I'll quit." It was Saturday. When we got in. Papa said, "Steve is not going to fish any more." And we had the boat loaded with fish. "And if he quits, I'm going to quit." "Well, well, well," he said, "we should fish a week longer yet." But we said we were quitting. So he said he'd get out with the other fellows Monday. They had two dories. Greedy, that's what it was. So he went in with them. And instead of 5 tubs to a dory, they'd have 6. They went out two days later (a Monday) and they set the 12 tubs of gear--and all they got was 9 fish. The fish left just that quick. We knew they were going to leave because of the great big fish we got. You see, there's no haddock or anything in the fall, the last fish. First going off, you get mostly haddock--probably two or three weeks you get more haddock than you do cod--then you start getting the cod. Then the last going off, well, there's fish, my son, it takes two with a gaff to get in the dory. And there's very big sores on the side of them--and that's the sign of the last school of fish. You knew then the drift ice wasn't far away. That day coming in, I told my father, "That's the last of the fish," And he said, "I don't doubt you," So those fellows didn't make very much out of those tubs of gear, (Sometimes it must have been snowing out there,) Snowing? You couldn't see your hand before you, I'm telling, I've seen us out there, my dear, in the Beatrice, after my father sold the Whitty boat, Robin Jones had two boats with lovely engines in them--one was the Reliance and the other was the Beatrice, And in 1917, that was the time of the explosion in Halifax. Well, we were fishing fair off of Neil's Harbour buoy that day. And we heard that explosion jusu the same as if we were 10 miles from Halifax. We could hear it as plain as if you went out there and fired a gun against the house. It was calm on the water. Just after the explosion, the water all started to tremble. And my uncle said to me--we were in the dory--he said, "Sydney Mines must be blown up." The steel works were there then. We didn't know what it was till we came in that day. A man that was bookkeeping for Robin Jones--his name was Albert Ozone--he had two children going to school in Halifax, and he couldn't get word, whether they were dead or alive or what. The lines were torn up. And the next day we went out fishing, went down to the same place--and the snowstorm started. Well, there was snow on the ground, lots of snow, the day of the explo? sion; but we were down there fishing, and the wind struck from the northeast, and snow--you couldn't see anything. We had a wonderful boat, she was a big boat, big en? gine into her, too. Now we were down north, we were running this way, we were running south--we had fair wind, you know. Anyway, when my father came down to lighten Tom Shea and I--we were in the dory, and Uncle Jed and Pius were in the other dory. He said to me, "When you come to the fourth knot, don't go any further till I come for you and pick you up"--because you couldn't see from one dory to anocher, couldn't see anywhere. But he had his course with the (70)
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