Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 73 > Page 8 - From Visits with Capt. Michael Tobin Coastal & Gulf Ferry Captain, Ret'd

Page 8 - From Visits with Capt. Michael Tobin Coastal & Gulf Ferry Captain, Ret'd

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1998/6/1 (284 reads)

a Portuguese. There were three of them came out, and they left a vessel, in the early years when they were only boys. One of them started a store down in Grey Riv? er, and another fellow started work with Mrs. Penny in Ramea. I don't know where the other fellow went, but there were three of them. But I met one of them when I was down to Ramea that trip. My golly, I couldn't get over it. "God," h'e said, "it's some good to see you back again...." put it on his cap--and he'd walk right to the forecastle. Never stir. He'd put a broom on his nose, and he'd go all around the deck.... And the boats used to come off and tie up alongside, you know, and he'd be off watch. He'd go up on the bridge, which was about forty feet. And he'd jump off of the bridge and go out over all the boats, and go down. Dive in the water. Oh, my God, he was agile. There was a vessel came out from Portugal for a load of fish to Placentia. She load? ed with fish. And there's a big tide there, a river, comes out the guts, you know, but it goes in as well. So we had to wait for the outgoing tide, and she left for Portugal. When she got going out the gut, right in the river of a tide--she was going about ten knots--this young fellow jumped overboard. (Captain) couldn't stop her, you know, and she went on. So he went ashore, got ashore. Somebody took him in then. And he was raised up there. And he was fireman on the Argyle when I was on it. He married a girl from St. Lawrence and they had two children, I think. And now their (grand)children are two of the hockey players with the New York Rangers.... They come down every year to see their grand? mother. She's still alive, in Newfoundland. Anyhow, he was on the Argyle, fireman, when I was on deck. And he'd go back to the galley, and he'd get the boiling ket? tle of water--ship was rolling in the sea-- --*s. Trust in our stars! • * • * GREAT FOOD NORTH STAR INN NORTH SYDNEY CAPEBRETON Nova Scotia's Friendly Seaport • Gateway to Newfoundland [Travellers to Cape Breton: *'Unpack Once' Centrally Located to Most Attractions • 74 Rooms - Kings, Standards, • Fishery Restaurant and Suites • St. Pierre Rum Bar • Luxury Suite - Jacuzzi Bath • indoor Pool and Whirlpool • Harbour View - Air conditioned • Kids free with parents • Seniors Discount Overlooking the Newfoundland Ferry Terminal (Exit21, Highway 105) Tel: (902) 794-8581 Fax: (902) 794-4628 39 Forrest Street, P.O. Box 157, North Sydney, N.S B2A3M3 1-800-561-8585 (Atlantic) Congratulations on 25 Years of Cape Breton's Magazinel (You went whaling first, is that right?) The first time I went to sea. I was only a summer at it. The Norwegians. (How did you get a job like that?) My father was on the coastal boats, you know. And the main base was at (Rosiru) in Placentia Bay where they were running. So I applied for the job and I got on there. I used to go up in the morning when the gunner--the skipper, he used to do the gunning up on the bow-- so I'd go up and get the gun ready and clear up everything there. And this was a frosty morning, there was ice and every? thing else. And he said to me, "Phonse, take it eese." And I never (understood). I was forty years before I found out what it was: "God damned ice!" I was taking a Nor? wegian ship up to Dalhousie and I asked the captain what it was. (When you went whaling like that, was it done in the same way that we think of old- time whalers?) Once you saw a whale-- they'd blow every so often, you know, blow a shoot of water up--so the Norwegians know exactly when he goes down where he's going to come up next. And they'd get the gun ready. And there's a bomb on the end of the harpoon. The harpoon is tied back and when it slips in through the whale it takes the covering off and it opens like an umbrella and they can't get it out. But the bomb explodes as well. So you can't touch the meat around where the bomb ex? ploded. Whale meat is just as good as beef. I would never know the difference. Little coarser, but just as tasty. We used to get three at one day, say, and we'd blow them up with the holes in them. That's the dangerous part, is putting the air in them to keep them afloat, you know. Because if he's not dead he could splash his tail. We had a rudder knocked off of the ship, the whole stern was damaged where they were putting air in him and he flicked his tail. (Are these big whales?) Well, we had them 110 feet, I think. Well, after you get the harpoon in him it takes a while. You had a big block up on the top of the mast and big heavy springs on it, and they'd bring those two blocks right down to the deck with the (weight). And the ship going astern and he pulling her ahead--it'd take you an hour sometimes.
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