What's It All About, eh?

Cape Breton evokes deep memories and strong emotions for me as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of my adopted island. My hopes are that you too might find the photos evocative - maybe a view you've not enjoyed before, or an 'Oh I've been there', or if from away that you may be encouraged to visit this fair isle so that you might come to love and breathe Cape Breton as I do. One word about place names that I use - some are completely local usage while others are from maps of Cape Breton that I've purchased over the years. I frequently post travel and other photos that are of interest to me - and hopefully you.

On the right hand side bar find my take on Single Malt whiskey - from how to best enjoy this noble drink to reviews (in a most non-professional manner) of ones that I have tried and liked - or not. Also musings, mine and others, on life in general.

Photographs are roughly 98%+ my own and copy-righted. For the occasional photo that is borrowed, credit is given where possible - recently I have started posting unusual net photographs that seem unique. Feel free to borrow any of my photos for non-commercial use, otherwise contact me. Starting late in 2013 I have tried to be consistent in identifying my photographs using ©smck on all out of camera photos I personally captured - (I often do very minor computer changes such as 'crop' or 'shadow' etc but usually nothing major), and using
©norvellhimself on all photos that I have played around with in case it might not be obvious.

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The Light of the Morning - The Voice of the Sea


Chapter 2      Indian Point              © August 2010  by smck

In late May of Seventeen and Eighty-one the barkentine Northern Cross landed eight families by longboat to the bar of beach at the mouth of the unnamed river flowing clear and smooth from the unremitting forest. To the eastward as far as the eye could see the shore and sea and the sand pipers did their ancient dance of wave on wave up the beach of sand and stone. To the westward the shore climbed abruptly from the deep, reaching for the sky in an immense barrier of living stone overlain with the glacier till of gravel, clay and rocky boulders of every kind that had been scoured and carried from the great Canadian shield ten thousand years before, now crowned with the same arboreal forest that had blessed their vision this whole bless-ed day coasting down from Sydney. An on shore breeze mercifully kept the myriads of flies at bay.

Four fishing shacks and seven human souls were already on the shore - three Indian women from a local tribe, and four Basque fishermen eking a living from the sea, supplying great racks of drying cod to the firm of Sweetman and Saunders out of Placentia in Newfoundland. Their small cod seine skiff was anchored just inside the mouth of the river and slightly behind the island like tip of the long sand bar peninsula that stretched westerly to the great hill of the mainland. Three of the fishing shanties were on the rocky rise of the spruce covered island tip and facing the open breeze of the sea. The fourth primitive structure was across the hundred yards or so of the river mouth, to the east nearer to the long cod covered racks that stretched impressively down the shore. This particular nameless summer fishing settlement had been here for more than a hundred years and never in that time had a soul, or at least never a European soul, ventured farther inland on the small and handsome river except to retrieve an occasional duck or goose, shot to mitigate the fisherman’s unrelenting diet of fish and salt pork.

Even today, the stoic workers made no great movement toward the longboats but simply clustered, staring for a moment or two at this unheralded intrusion into the long isolation of their lives and then turned to their present task of turning the drying fish. Luckily, the mate in the long boat knew some smattering of French and was able to piece together an introduction of the two groups – the one Gaelic, the other Arcadian, as united and clashing as they ever had been along the coast of Normandy. It would be no small matter to have the unprepared settlers an access to fire and shelter and food for the coming days while they would begin wrestling shelter and substance from the wilderness. Summer would be short and the winter, more brutal than they could ever envision, would be soon. 

Even though the warm Gulf Stream current was known by some as early as the 16th century it was a vague knowledge used mainly to facilitate faster ocean trips.  However few knew or had reason to know that the north-western part of Europe including the British Isles was on average some 15 ºF warmer than the equivalent north-eastern part of North America during the winter months. The eight families - some 23 odd - from The Northern Cross were to discover the fine grainy snow and sub freezing temperatures of this unremitting land in a few short months.


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