Page 32 - Shipwreck at Little Lorraine from an article by D.C. Harvey, late Provincial Archivist for Nova Scotia / Dave Forgeron of Main-a-Dieu, 1975
ISSUE : Issue 11
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1975/6/1
be prevented, and raany lives saved; and, as before observed, he raight be erapowered to direct the proceedings and provide the requisite raeans, in such cases as that I have described at Loran. I suppose our frugal house of asserably would treat such a proposition as a raere chiraera, or as a scherae for providing sorae one with a place if they were expected to grant the funds, but cound not an act be passed to make the proceeds of the sale of wrecks available for this purpose? By saving much property, too, such a measure would economize the provincial funds, which, in the present state of things, must often be drawn on, to keep the plundered and destitute passen? gers frora starving, and to convey thera to their destination. A lighthouse on Scatari would be another saving on a large scale • but that subject is threadbare." The subject of coastal protection may have been threadbare, but the wreck of the Astraea proved the final argument. After 1834, organized assistance was provided for ship-wrecked mariners. D.C.Harvey continues;...In 1836. the British government of- fered to erect lighthouses on St. Paul's and Scatarie Islands, if Lower Canada and the three Maritime Provinces would cooperate in defraying the expense of maintenance and administration. In the following year the four provinces reached an agreementj their respective legislatures appropriated the amounts agreed upon, and construction was undertaken forthwith....(After) 1839, when the lights began to shine frora St. Paul's Island and Scatarie, both the number of wrecks and the loss of life in those that occured diminished rapidly, while the way of the plunderer was made hard. In the century that has elapsed since the erection of these lighthouses and the provi? sion of life-saving equipment, there have been several shipwrecks in these regions; but, with the lights to guide thera, and ready hands to rescue, none of the victiras has known the hopeless dread of exchanging a watery grave for starvation upon an uninhabited island. Dave Forgeron of IVIain-a-Dieu, 1975 Dave Forgeron: We objected very strongly to thera putting the electric horn there in the beginning because it is probably one of the worst areas there is on the coast. Fog and sea continually. And that horn, it doesn't sound the distance of the old one. We tried it in the boat, take it in different directions, frora a raile to three railes • and very seldora will you hear that raore than 2 railes, I don't think you'll hear it 2 railes. Actually there's tiraes you don't hear it a quarter of a raile. Unless you know where you are • and not always in fog will you know where you are when you're raaking the shore • you usually depend on that horn. Now I rayself got a foggy day and I was listening for that horn and I - . ,' . didn't hear it. The fog closed in to about zero. And first thing I looked ahead to a rock and said Where in the hell could that be? I couldn't hear the horn. We're talking about the coast. The big ships are all right because they've got all the na? vigation equipraent. But you take around here there's about 35-40 boats fishing around that island differ? ent tiraes of the year. And that horn can't be heard to the southwest of it sorae days • not 200 yards • and that's too close. Mind you, when I carae frora off the shore a bit, in fog • and once you heard the old horn • it's life, eh? It's not dead. When the horn is there there are people there. Sometiraes we have to fish in pretty bad tiraes • and you pretty well know that if you got in trouble they're looking frora the lighthouse or the dwelling windows • there's soraebody walking around, looking, if you put up a signal. And now they're talking about autoraating the light and re raoving the people altogether. This neighbor of raine, ray wife's brother, went ashore on Scatarie. He lost his boat and he walked over 3 railes to get to the lighthouse- he went to get clothing and food and otherwise he would have perished. The water was cold..-Another occasion when a boat went bottora up • got hooked on a sea there • there was 2 raen. There was nothing to be seen. But the woraan from the lighthouse saw it '/| and she went on her set • There's a boat upset around the end there. Boats in the a- rea sped up alongside, got the 2 fellows out of the water and saved the boat. It doesn't have to be a gale. If a boat goes ashore on a rock, it can be smooth • it raight have the bottom beat out of it and you raight be able to swira 10-15 yards in cold water. And by golly you'll be perished by the tirae you get ashore. But if you know that there's life soraewhere, that you can get assistance, you'll try a little harder, wouldn't you? To stay alive. So I think soraebody should live there on Scata? rie. No question about it. It's just a raatter of for to preserve lives. 'c_' The complete text of D.C.Harvey's article appeared in the Dalhousie Review. 1941. and a major portion is offered here with the permission of Miss Margaret Haryevr Our thanks to C.Bruce Fergusson, Provincial Archivist of Nova Scotia, and to Daphne and Don MacKay. for their help. tu' tleitidc*r KoM
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