Page 72 - A Canoe Trip in Cape Breton, 1885
ISSUE : Issue 44
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/1/1
Archibald McLean has lowered himself by a rope to the shore, and is ready to welcome the crew of the only Rob Roy he has ever seen. Why do I mention Archibald McLean? Because he was the hero of the following story. On a wild winter's morning a few years ago the brigantine Alice, of Arichat, was cast ashore on the rocks at Point Aconi. All hope for the lives of the crew had been abandoned. The sea at last lifted the deck from the vessel, and it was dashed from the outer ledges close under the beetling cliffs, upon the top of which is the weather-beat? en cottage of this Cape Breton hero. The captain and his men, worn out with hours of exposure, were clinging to the wreckage and expecting death, when help came as if from the clouds. Archibald McLean (God bless him!) fastened a killick in the frozen ground above, and attaching a rope thereto, low? ered himself to the wave-swept deck of the brig. Half a dozen times he braved the sea that threat? ened to dash him lifeless against the cliff, and on each descent he saved a half-frozen sailor from certain death, and with the help of the family on the rocks above, raised them to the warmth and shelter of his humble cottage. Hot tea and careful nursing finished the good work performed by McLean, and the captain and crew of the Alice lived to record in grateful language this story of the Cape Breton coast. Was McLean re? warded? Yes! In Sydney, before an audience of those who love to hear of gallant deeds, a gold watch, presented by the Government, was handed to this hero. sling my paddle lost it overboard. Before I could emerge from the close quarters into which my stores had shifted, the paddle was fifteen feet a- way. The captain of the Nettie is of a nervous dis? position, but, in the face of disaster and danger, proved cool. Without the paddle, it seemed proba? ble that the Nettie and crew would have to drift helplessly about until help came, and perchance be carried out to sea before the morning. The Table Rock was a mile away.. I carefully undressed, and standing erect, jumped overboard, and although the Nettie rocked, her splendid bearings proved equal to the strain. I reached the paddle and swam to the canoe... I regained the Nettie in safety, and with consider? able difficulty wriggled into my clothes. Tempted by the now calm evening and quiet sea, and at? tracted by the grand appearance of distant Cape Dauphin towering up against a sky which, for beau? ty of colour and rifted clouds tipped with tints of gold and purple (to describe which would neces? sitate literary larceny in the shape of a page from one of Black's novels), I resolved to add eight miles more to the day's run, and seek a night's lodging at the base of the Cape. Half way across I pause in my paddling to refill a trea? sured pipe. This is indeed solitude. Not a ripple disturbs the stillness of the summer evening. Far abaft I can see the bold outline of Point Aconi, with the white cottage of Archibald McLean nest? ling among the shadows in the cliff crest. Miles a- way to the southwest I can trace my course for the morrow--the mouth of the Big Bras d'Or, Five miles In McLean's cottage the crew of the Nettie dined, and over a pipe listened to this story told by his brother, and as I read the inscription on the watch (McLean is now in the far West) the wreck of the Al? ice passed before my eyes, and I strolled over again to the scene of this incident in the lives of those who go down to the sea in ships. I tossed hay for an hour on McLean's farm, and then was lowered by a rope to the beach below, and pad? dling the Nettie with ease in the rolling sea that swept in? to the Big Bras d'Or, found my? self, at five in the evening, off Table Rock. Here disaster befell me. I was groping below among the ship's stores for a bottle of beer, and, carelessly omitting to GOOD PEOPLE SEA ANO SHORE SERVICES INC. SHIPYARD SINCE 1840 At the crossroads to the gulf of St. Lawrence and the transatlantic shipping route SERVICES, REPAIRS, AND SUPPLIES TO FISHING TRAWLERS. IVIARINE AND OFFSHORE INDUSTRY. NORTH SYDNEY • CAPE BRETON ISLAND • NOVA SCOTIA • CANADA TELEPHONE: (902) 794-4741 TELEX; 019-35109 mm The only key to trouble-free and long car life is regular and careful maintenance. For over 25 years, maintenance--solely of European cars--has been our occupation. If you don't wish to maintain your car, neither do we!! If you do, we'd like to help!! EUROCAR SERVICE LTD. '""""'" "" Take a Value home today ' CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PLAZA - SYDNEY RIVER """ '"" Now W?? ArGo '''''?''' ''''-'- " '''''' '-'''' ''?'?* SYDNEY The tmortyouJooHL., PORT HAWKESBURY SHOPPING CENTRE - PORT HAWKESBURY '%MfkO 1
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