Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 50 > Page 30 - The 1929 Earthquake: Two Memories

Page 30 - The 1929 Earthquake: Two Memories

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1 (340 reads)

The Canadian Government survey ship Acadia surveyed the ocean floor near Cape Race and Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland, but did not discover any changes in the ocean floor. I was born at Murray Harbour, Prince Ed? ward Island, and one of my brothers is a farmer there. He told me that, as a direct result of the earthquake, the underground water table level was lowered considerably all over Prince Edward Island, so much so that many existing hand-dug wells of twen? ty-five or thirty feet depths went com? pletely dry. It was necessary to increase the depths of these hand-dug wells by ap? proximately twenty-five feet, so that they resembled deep vertical tunnels. Eventual? ly drilled wells took over. A year or so after the 'quake I was at Bu? rin, on Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, and an elderly man there named Derby told me that, at the time of the major wave, all the water in Burin H-arbour at a depth of thirty feet was drawn completely out of the harbour, leaving the bottom bare, and the returning wave swept high over the shoreline, sweeping fish shacks and some dwellings into the harbour. For several years after, I had in my possession a pic? ture post card, one of many in circulation there, showing the Ronald George, an aux? iliary fishing schooner, towing one of the dwellings back to shore. The Ronald George had been built in Lunenburg, N. S., espe? cially designed for engine power, and was one of the first of her class. An acquaintance of mine was on a ship which was loading liquor at St. Pierre, about fifty miles from Burin. He was on the deck enjoying the fine calm weather on Nov. 18th, 1929, when he and others heard a rumbling in the distance, which sounded like waves breaking on a distant shore. About five minutes later, a wave welled up and over the wharf, lifting the ship about eight feet, and then subsided. My own estimation of the location of the epicentre of the earthquake was that it occurred approximately forty miles south? west of Cape Race and Cape St. Mary's, off the mouth of Placentia Bay, where the highest tidal wave occurred. Billy James MacNamara continued from page 27 So there was a fellow came up the road here about 10 minutes after--Rory Dunphy. He was an awful reader--he knew everything, that fellow. He read everything. Father said, "Rod, what do you suppose that explosion was? Was it Halifax gone again, or what?" "No," he said, "it ain't Halifax gone again at all. But it's an earthquake." And he said, "Look out for the tidal wave." That was all right. The sun was about an hour up, I think. There was no sign of a tidal wave coming. But we went down to a wedding or something, down at Whiteside here. We came back again. And I had a mo- torboat out there. We used to anchor. But a CZ'mljEX 'atz On tL Bzack BEACH HOMES MOTEL CHALETS P. O. Box 177, INGONISH BEACH, N. S. BOC 1L0 (902)285-2525 Congratulations on your 50th Issue! northwest wind sometimes blows hard here. You had to leave out, before I'd go to bed, to see that she wasn't dragging her anchor to go ashore and break up on the rocks. They used to often do that. And I had her right in line of that tree, when she'd bring up. I went out about 1 o'clock. Or 12 o'clock-- after we came home. And Christ, my boat looked like she was away up over the top of the tree. I said, "What in the hell is going on? Is the river swelling up or what?" I paid no attention to it; I went back into onme and ' Beverage Room Home of Scottish Hospitality REEVES ST. 562-4484 (grill Home Cooked Meals Steaks a Specialty 7fCt7ixeAtd. SYDNEY • Computerized Wheel Balancing • Alignment & Brakes • Complete Road Sei:vice • Shocks 539-5670 265 PRINCE ST. • SYDNEY IPGoodrich Brunswick- 30
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