Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 51 > Page 50 - Crusing Cape Breton, 1878 & 1884

Page 50 - Crusing Cape Breton, 1878 & 1884

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/2/1 (227 reads)

from the canal to the two eastern straits or entrances. The southern entrance is impassable except for steamers and boats. We staick for the northern passage, called the Great Bras d'Or, having a leading wind, without which it is impossible for a sailing vessel to pass in. The navigable channel is very narrow, the tide runs through it like a mill-race, and, for the first few miles, any vessel getting ashore there is exposed to the full sweep of easterly gales. There were seven schooners in company with us, all keeping so closely together that the bowsprit of one would almost overhang the taffrail of the next one; sometimes one would becalm another, and thus shoot by. Finally, one of the schooners got slued aside on a bank, and had to be left behind, to get off as she could. Happily for the rest, a pilot appeared at this juncture in a dory, and agreed to pi? lot the little fleet. He carried us as far as Kelly's Cove, when, fog and twilight both coming on, we all dropped anchor, and the pilot pro? ceeded to levy toll before leaving us for the night. He was a curious specimen of the genus Bretoniensis. Keeping his eyes always down, while he hung on to the side of the vessel, he rattled away with great volubility, which was evidently increased by the bad whiskey he had taken before coming off to us. "I don't care for any bluidy silver. A lit? tle bluidy poric or beef, a little bluidy salt or bluidy jigs, you don't want any more, my hearties, or any other bluidy thing will do me jist exact? ly as well. I should be only too glad to take such a pretty schooner through them narrows for nothink, but don't ye sees, we can't do no- think for nothink in Cape Breton no more than nowheres else? And that's the tmth. That'll do, that'll do. I don't want ye to rob yourselves. Fish-bait? no, got enough of the bluidy thing. There's no need of my coming off to ye the mornin': all ye've got to do is jist to keep that p'int close atxjard, and he'll be all right; and remimber them two spar- buoys on the startx)ard beam, and one on the port, and there ain't no other bluidy thing in the channel that the likes o' ye need to be afeard of; and I'm very much obleeged to ye, gintelmen, and I wish ye a TOWN 2nd Floor of Quality Cameras Building, corner George & Dorchester Streets. PEOPLE YOU CAN TALK TO. JIGGING FOR FISH pleasant v'yage;" and off he went to repeat the farce at the next schooner. We found ourselves anchored for the night in Kelly's Cove, under Kelly's Mountain, the highest land on the Bras d'Or. It is an isolated ridge, which I estimated to be about twelve hundred feet high, but so bold as to resemble a wall, and give an impression of great height. Evidences of the tremendous hurricane of the previous September were everywhere visible. The wind had felled the largest forest trees in ranks mile after mile, or, where the squalls had been most violent, had cut swaths through the woods as the scythe of the mower lays the grass. This was the case all through the Bras d'Or. Many houses and barns were felled or injured; at Arichat sixty houses were blown down. Vessels were everywhere destroyed; all through the trip we came across wrecks on shore. The boat was lowered, and skipper and I went ashore on a foraging expedition among the farm-houses. We found the people generally were "Heelanders," as they called themselves, among whom Gaelic is still the vernacular, some actually being unable to converse in Eng? lish. They were mostly Roman Catholics. We finally brought up at a small house, where we spent a couple of hours chatting before an old-fashioned ingleside, over whose bright blaze the kettle was sing? ing. A dance at a farm-house farther on was proposed, and skipper offered to bring off the schooner's fiddler to stimulate the heels and quicken the hearts of the lads and lassies; but, owing to the lateness of the hour, the plan unfortunately fell through. A brace of geese and a pail of milk were the results of our expedition. It was so dari< that the buxom hostess snatched a brand from the hearth, and gave it to us by way of lantern, and we thus reached the boat without spilling the milk. We were again under way the next morning, but the wind was so light we made but little progress. The good weather was improved to Nertz 24 HOUR SERVICE - 7 DAYS A WEEK 1430 George St. Sydney, N. S. 539-1538 XS 539-5623 • FAST FRIENDLY SERVICE • FEATURING LATEST MODEL CARS, TRUCKS, & 4'WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLES iMBftzi • LOCAL PICKUP and DELIVERY To Reserve a Car Anywhere in the World CALL TOLL FREE. 1-800-263-0600 The #1 wav to rent a car.
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