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> Issue 73 > Page 106 - From Visits with Capt. Michael Tobin Coastal & Gulf Ferry Captain, Ret'd

Page 106 - From Visits with Capt. Michael Tobin Coastal & Gulf Ferry Captain, Ret'd

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1998/6/1 (164 reads)

THE TIDAL WAVE continued from page io5 we really saw disaster. The ship remained outside the harbour and sent the mail ashore by boat. We did not get very far, since the har? bour was full of wreckage! We saw ten or twelve houses (floating), two-storey houses with second-floor windows just above water. Stag? es, fish flakes, chairs, tables, fish stores and all kinds of furniture filled the harbour. Damage within seventy miles of the Burin Peninsu? la in 1929 came to over one million dollars. All of that could be re? placed, but there was no bringing back the twenty-seven lives lost. It was a heart-wrenching tragedy, the small communities like Port au Bras.... I remained on that run until 1935. We kept up a good service busy with over thirty ports of call each week, delivering mail, freight and passage when required. The residents looked fonward to the arrival of the ship for news from around the peninsula. Each week, for the next couple of years, I watched these ports return to normal through hard work and cooperation. Battered by the wave, and then the Great Depression, it was inspiring to see their reaction to the hardship and disaster, first hand. These people taught me in later years to cope with adversity. They would pull their houses ashore on man-made slips with block-and-tackle, building wharves and fish stores, and bringing the community back to life. Nothing was impossible for them. Nothing was impossible to accomplish. I think their greatest quality was honesty. Doors in the homes were never locked. Crime could only be found in the dictionary. They may not have had prosperity but they had something far more precious. Their sense of human spirit can barely be understood in our modern age. This great flood could not destroy their lives, it made them that much stronger. It is testament to the people of the Burin Peninsula that these communities continue to stand and flourish today. again and called me up, and he said he landed perfect in the hospital, in St. John's. He came out of it all right. I be? lieve he's still alive. While I was consoling her, you know, I didn't know she was going to go. And the next thing, I saw her going up on the wire! About eighty feet--eighty feet of cable. She was flying overhead, you know. We were steaming full speed.... This was on the Carson: I had twenty-two reindeer--caribou--going up to Maine. And the biologists told me to come down and have a look at them; they were after giving them a needle. When we walked in through the containers, you could pet them on the back, you know. And they were eating kind I CONGRATULATIONS CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE The Canadian Coast Guard College is a few years older than Cape Bre? ton's Magazine. It opened its doors in 1965, but it too has grown and changed over the years. Today the College is Canada's only bilingual marine training facility, and attracts clients from across Canada and around the world. In large part, the College's success lies with the val? ues it embraces: 4 leadership innovation business acumen flexibility positive attitude towards changing technology... ...values in large part shared by Cape Breton's Magazine. Thank you Cape Breton's Magazine for providing all of us with wonderful stories and an important record of our island history for so many years. May both the College and the magazine continue to grow and thrive in the future! l'l Fisheries and Oceans Peches et Oceans Canada Canada Canadll of fir trees they had in the (contain? er) .... But that night he came up to me and he said, "We can't get them on. The deck is loaded with steel." "Well, there's a storm coming up tomorrow," I said, "and if those animals have needles, you've got to get them in Port-aux-Basques by the morning, to be able to go to Maine." So I went down to the agent, and I made him take off--we lost two hours--made him take all the steel off the deck, and hoist these containers aboard, and put them on. We got in here in the morning, a southeast gale started, and snow. And they left. And I had a lovely letter from him, back from Maine, how he appreciated, he said. Proba? bly he'd have lost them all, you know, if they didn't get through. If he had to stay in Port-aux-Basques with them. The effects of the needle would work off, and they'd probably kill one another. But they were wild in Port-aux-Basques--they didn't want to take steel off of her, you know! (I im? agine they got paid for loading and un? loading.) Oh yes, but the agent, he was losing a lot of time. He lost two hours there trying to get the steel off.... Another night over here--we were supposed to carry so many passengers on the Burgeo. We had a certificate. So they didn't check them on the train, and they let them all go aboard. And when the purser came up to me, he said, "We're about fifteen or twenty over the complement." "Well," I said, "we can't sail. That's all." So I went down to the agent. "Oh, God, he can't take them off now." I said, "They've got to come off. There's only one thing you can do, is take every person aboard, put him ashore, and then check him back again." Some of them were in the bath, having a bath! And now we were tied up that night about three hours, I suppose. Got them all ashore. I went in by the gangway, where they were. And he was in there calling their names. He'd call their name. He had a bald head, you know. And every woman he'd call, she'd rub her hand over his bald head, and she'd go on over the gangway to get aboard! (Laughter.) Oh, my God. And we
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