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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Schooners on the River

by Heidi Hamburg


The schooners are back on the river. The Nova Scotia Schooner Association was formed in 1961 to help preserve these graceful craft. This week about fifteen schooners will race every day on the LaHave River, and out among the LaHave Islands at its mouth. They sailed out from Riverport on the fourth to the sixth. From the seventh to the tenth they will operate from the LaHave River Yacht Club.

These are recreational boats, not the huge cargo vessels that used to fill the upper tidal reaches of the LaHave from March to November. Those ships could go anywhere in the world, and for a hundred years they often did.

From Bridgewater they mostly hauled our lumber and bales of dried salt fish, heading south, ending up in the Caribbean to fill up again with sugar, molasses and rum to bring back home to Nova Scotia.

Nearby Lunenburg had its fleet of salt bankers, heading out to the Grand Banks for weeks at a time to fish for cod. We still have our Bluenose II, a beautiful replica, but I doubt a barrel of molasses or a cod fish, live or salted, has ever rested in her hold.



So it does my heart good to see schooner sails on the river again, skimming over the salt water like dipping terns, even if these are the small grandchildren of the great ones.



Heidi Hamburg

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful day on the water today, Heidi. Wish I were down there sitting on the shore.

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    1. They've had great weather, but I think that will change tomorrow. Racing in the rain is normal, but I suspect not nearly as much fun.

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  2. I doubt a barrel of molasses or a cod fish, live or salted, has ever rested in her hold.

    That line made me chuckle, Heidi and the rest made me sigh for bygone days. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Thanks, Deb. When I was a little kid there were still sea-going cargo-carrying schooners and ketches coming up the river once in a while.

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  3. "even if these are the small grandchildren of the great ones" -- love that, Heidi.

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  4. Pretty well all the vessels on the river these days are pleasure craft. Now the government wharf where many of the tall ships used to dock is a marina for the young 'uns.

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  5. Something I should perhaps mention is that two of the old pictures show a variety of types of tall ship. Not all are schooner rigged.

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  6. Sorry I'm so long getting to respond to this. Hard to do justice to such a beautiful place, with mere words. I love the pictures you found to complement your information, Heidi. Makes me want to be sitting on a rock along the shore, watching them race over the waves. I really enjoyed this and found your writing clean, interesting, and poetic. Nice job.
    Pat

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  7. I love seeing tall ships, Heidi. In 1995, my husband and sons and I visited the fortress of Louisbourg when it had a re-enactment of the French and British battle in 1758 (I think), including tall ships firing cannons at each other. Lots of smoke and noise, but no cannon balls.

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