Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 64 - Adventures of Capt. David A. MacLeod

Page 64 - Adventures of Capt. David A. MacLeod

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (163 reads)

if you did not hold on with all your might you would be blown over the side.) Some sailors, three Norwegians, were on the poop with us--the rest would not come out of the fore? castle; the Captain with his face set was saying nothing. All at once he says to the mate, "We must bend on a new lower top sail." "All right. Sir," says he. Although it was near midday, it was quite dark. I followed the rest aft to the lazarette, and said to the mate, "I helped stow the sails in the lazarette in Pictou Harbor, and we put leather tickets on each one." We got a binical lamp, and soon passed the top sail up. I noticed the Captain was terribly nervous, going to the compass, back and forth, urging the work and working himself, and saying loud enough above the roar of the gale, "Come on my bully boys and show what stuff you are made of." As we just finished putting on the extra stops, a sea came in forward of the mizzen rigging washing one of the Norwegians overboard and the mate and I into the main rigging. When I found myself going under water I said, "I'll be drowned sure, and my Mother will be sorry for me." I was jammed in the back stays, more frightened than hurt. The Captain helped me out. The boswain and second mate had rove off a gaunt? let and we mast-headed the lower topsail. The Cap? tain left the poop and helped me unhook the lower topsail sheets, and let what was left and the bolt rope drop on deck, and slid down the topsail sheet on deck, then aft to the binical and back, and was helping us sheet home the lower main topsail. I didn't know at the time that we were drifting on Scatarie Island, dead lee shore. It was blowing terrific and our lee rigging was hanging in bits. but the Captain said if the main topsail holds for another hour, things will be better. The Captain went down on the main deck with a life line on, and was looking about the lower rigging. He cer? tainly was a good courageous sailor. The worst of the gale had passed about eight o'clock. The Cap? tain says, "Well, boys, we'll get something to eat." We got life lines rigged fore and aft and got a new lower fore topsail and lower mizzen top? sail bent. Next morning the useless men came out of the forecastle, and both the Captain and the mate banded them around. The mate said to the fel? low with the cod head boots, "You would have gone with the others only I made you drop your boots." Those men came out of French fishing schooners, and were never on a ship before. They were accus? tomed to steering with a tiller. The gale of August, 1873, is still remembered by lots of people in Cape Breton. Several vessels floundered at their anchors at Port Malcolm, while all along the shore from Halifax to the Madeleines the coast was strewn with wreckage. As soon as the weather permitted, we set to work, setting up the lee rigging, fore and aft. The best helmsman went to the wheel. There was a heavy sea running and the mate says to the boswain, "Yes, we will try it, but I expect to see the sticks go o- ver the side." I helped the boswain make a selvage strap, and we got the fore rigging set up; then finished the main and mizzen. A man went to the wheel, and we brought her on the port tack, and worked on the lee side. There was no rail or bul- warks. The Captain ordered to have life lines rove ??We Buy and We Sell and We're as Near as Your Telephone Sid s Used Furniture Phone 564-6123 436 Charlotte Street, Sydney Keddy's Motor Inn 600 King's Rd., Sydney, N.S. 165 Rooms Air Conditioned Colour Cable TV Licensed Dining Daily Features Restaurant Hours 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Featuring Cape Breton's Only Complete Indoor Recreation Facility • • Pool • Sauna • Whirlpool Bath • Oasis Pool Bar • Games Machines ENTERTAINMENT & DANCING NIGHTLY AT IVORY'S LOUNGE For Reservations Phone 539-1140 (64) NOTICE Under Conditions of the Nova Scotia Water Act, it is unlawful to remove gravel from, place material in, erect a dam on, or otherwise alter the features of any lake, river, stream or other natural watercourse, without authorization of the Minister of the Environment. For further information contact: Nova Scotia Department of the Environment PO Box 2107, Halifax, N.S. B3J 387 Tel. 424-5300 >c Department of the Environment
Cape Breton's Magazine
  View this article in PDF format Print article

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to the PDF version of this content. Click here to download and install the Acrobat plugin
Acrobat Reader Download