Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 11 > Page 5 - Remembering Rum-Running Days

Page 5 - Remembering Rum-Running Days

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/6/1 (494 reads)

wouldn't be allowed back in the states any more* (And if you got caught off Cape Breton?) Oh, well, then they'd seize the vessel* There wasn't much to it after that* They'd have to pay a fine. They might go to jail for a week or a couple of weeks im? til the case was over. The owners • whoever the owners would be • well they'd have to take the responsibility. They'd take it all and the crew would go clear* Milton MacKenzie and the Preventive Service cutters Fleur de Lis and the Louisbourg. Milton MacKenzie, Preventive Service: Samuel Hardy. I've stood by him on Rum Row up in the Gulf • oh, several times • to keep him from landing his stuff, keep the other boats from coraing and taking it* I was in the Preventive boats. And any Canadian boat • any boat registered in Canada • must stay outside the 12-miles limit but any boat registered outside of Canada can stay just outside of 3 miles • 3-mile limit from any headland or coast • if they're carrying liquor or any contraband as far as that goes. Because any coast guard could go aboard, ask for your manifest and search you if you're in territorial water. You can't board a ship on the high seas. They're safe as long as they're outside the limit. But they'd be trying to land it. Speed? boats would come out from the shore and run it in • what we call the snapper boats or Cape Island boats. And some of the bigger boats would come right in but we had them pretty well tagged you know. We knew every one of them and they always layed off, layed off. And we lived on the Preventive boats. Be out sometiraes 10 and 12 days at a time, before we'd corae in to re-feul and get more grub. We had 120 footers. I was on one called Patrol Boat Number 4 (originally the Stumble-Inn) • she was an old Amer? ican sub-chaser in the first war • but all new engines and everything. Then we had a lot of new ones built, a lot of small boats • 40 footers • speedboats stationed all a- long the coast. The ones I was in, they were all outside on Rum Row we called it. And the big boats • the Mother Ships • they generally would lay off 15-20 miles, some? times 50 miles they'd be laying off there. You couldn't do anything about thera. No, nothing. Just stand by them. Lay off. We knew they were there, see thera all the time. Nighttime, ybu put the searchlights on them. Those big felloxvs anchored off, they're only warehouses • floating warehouses. And these speedboats • well, we called them speedboats • they run out frora land, load and come in, make a landing. Maybe 40-50 kegs at a time • 300 cases • whatever* We siezed quite a few of them. But a lot would get in. You can't watch it all you know. You'd get two or three different fellows to load that night. You don't know which one to call. There was always a decoy to draw you away. They weren't fools you know. They had tricks. They'd reverse their side? lights. You'd think they were going opposite of you. But we had big searchlights. Then they put smokescreens up • come out of their exhaust. They had things to put on the exhaust • old oil and stuff • and one mass of smoke, just fog all aroxmd • but we'd find them after. But they'd get clear. It'd all get clear. The big warehouse would be empty and away he'd go. Oh, it was quite a game, boy. A lot of fun in it. The way the world is today with dope and heroin and all • everyone thinks it was all like that • but it wasn't like that at all. They were all respectable people making a liv-; ing. Some of those captains were real gentlemen up there. Oh, yes. There was no ani-' raosity among us* They were making a living and we had a job. You'd go up alongside, ask thera how they were. I threw a newspaper aboard. I wasn't supposed to. I just passed and threw. Those were all good fellows. They weren't bothering anybody. Of course the fellows that took it ashore • well now if they got caught it was their hard luck. If you got clear, good enough. A lot of it got ashore. When we'd be a- Cape Breton's Magtoine/5 puffed Lichen
Cape Breton's Magazine
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