Trekking Tales: Final day in Maritimes – Part two

Soon we were carrying out two tubs, each containing two bright red lobsters, still warm from the boiling water

Back in Indian Harbour at the fish market we parked amongst several other vehicles. Picnic tables were already being “littered” with lobster and mussel shells, as those who had arrived before us sat in lovely sunshine, plastic bibs in place, and dined sumptuously. Into the open, galvanized iron shed we went.

“I have some just cooked,” said the nice lady.

“What weight?” we asked. Joan quickly chose the four largest ones.

“You could get a job here,” said the gal with a grin.

Soon we were carrying out two tubs, each containing two bright red lobsters, still warm from the boiling water in which they had been cooked, and mini-cups of melted butter which we just could not resist, to a picnic table beside gently lapping water. After tying those plastic, lobster-decorated bibs on each other we tucked in. Delicious!

But our time in revisiting tragedies was not over. Our GPS directed us to Fairfax Cemetery in Halifax. Here we viewed gravestones for some of the hundreds of people who had perished on the Titanic, some 725 km southeast of Halifax. Groups from bus tours came and left quietly, awed as we were, by the sight of line after line of markers.

“What’s the significance of the numbers?” I asked a tour guide wearing a kilt of Nova Scotia’s tartan.

“That’s the order in which the bodies were pulled out of the water,” she responded – as we both grimaced at the thought. More of the people who died on that dreadful night are remembered in two other Halifax cemeteries: Roman Catholic and Jewish.

GPS Matilda next rose to the challenge of directing us back down to the harbour where we had spent time the previous day but hadn’t yet visited the Atlantic Maritime Museum. Here Joan and Judy went first into the Ships’ Chandlers’ section where they learned what is involved in equipping ships for their voyages – and how the company began by supplying just candles. There was much more of great interest, but historical tragedies seemed to be our focus. A film about the Titanic, and artefacts from it, added more information and awareness of this 1912 sinking and sad loss of life.

In 1917 a monstrous explosion wracked Halifax, the city that had done all it could to ease suffering five years earlier. Two ships collided in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour at 8:45 a.m. on a December morning, and the one carrying munitions to the Front exploded 20 minutes later.

People were out and about, and children in school in the populated and subsequently devastated area close to the waterfront. Loss of life, in this largest manmade (pre-atomic bomb) explosion, was again horrific: 2,000 killed and another 9,000 injured.

“Send help!” When this telegraph was wired to a nearby town, doctors, nurses, Red Cross and more came, having no idea what they would find. As word spread across Canada and into the States, more emergency workers came – in droves – to provide assistance. Others focussed on clean-up and reconstruction, anything they could do to resurrect this stricken city.

After our full day, and with closing time being announced, I barely had time to check out the information on Sable Island and its ponies, a place off southern NS that fascinates me. The map showed where dozens of ships have run aground on its shifting sands. With the improvements in navigational aids, such losses are less likely to occur nowadays.

 

Out on the street once more, it was time to look for supper on this, our final night in the Maritimes. Seafood at dockside, of course….