Day 21-23 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia   2 comments

Our drive to Lunenburg was a short drive so when we got in, we tore ourselves away from our beautiful view

And drove around town. Along the sidewalk, hanging from the telephone poles were fish sculptures. There are forty of them displayed along 2 of the streets, honoring the top twenty fish and shellfish species landed by the area’s commercial fishery.

We stopped at the Ironworks Distillery which has been in operation for a little over a year. What an interesting story. They ordered their still from Germany, which is wood burning. They were distilling molasses while we were there.

There were different kinds of art all over town that we enjoyed;

many murals painted on the sides of buildings; (this was my favorite, which was on the side of a restaurant)

and really cute houses and buildings. I love the way Canadians take pride in their buildings and the way they paint them. They are so decorative. Check out the green building below, it’s called “Cilantro.”

This year the Bluenose II was dry docked for renovation. It should be finished in 2013 but we were able to see the work as it progresses. They call it a renovation, but it’s really a “rebuild.” The hull is a total rebuild and the deck will contain items from the original Bluenose II that they could save.

We were able, however, to go on a working schooner at the pier. It’s hard to believe the living quarters these watermen have to endure while at sea.

When we arrived at the Lunenburg Fisheries Museum, we found that several of us woman were dressed a colorfully as the buildings in town.

During our tour of the Museum, we learned so much about the Bluenose I and II. Bluenose I launched in March 1921. In order to race, it had to be a fishing boat for 1 season, so in April 1921 through September it worked as a fishing schooner. In the fall, it ran its first race and came in 2nd. Below is a photo of the schooner with a #2 on its sail. It very quickly earned a #1.

On its second race, it took first place and continued to be the first place winner for 17 years. During these years, she earned her keep and was high-liner (meaning brought in a good catch) of the Lunenburg fishing fleet on a number of occasions. In 1938 she was named Queen of the North Atlantic fishing fleet.

World War II marked the end of the great fishing schooners. Modern diesel-powered steel trawlers began to replace them. In 1942, the Bluenose I was sold to the West Indian Trading Company, but in 1946, the Bluenose struck a Haitian reef and sank.

The Bluenose II was launched in 1963. It is identical to Bluenose I, built in the same shipyard and by some of the same men. In 1971 it was sold to the government of Nova Scotia for $1 by the Oland family of Halifax. It has the largest working mainsail in the world, measuring 4,150 square feet. Total sail area measures over 11,000 square feet!

Inside the museum, we learned a lot about the fishing industry in Lunenburg. By 1540, each spring the fishermen set out to fish on the offshore banks. The catch was split and stowed in the ship’s hold between layers of salt to preserve it. Months later, when the vessel returned home, the fish was still moist or “green.” This is known as greenfishing.

In the 1870s, a new method of fishing came about. Instead of jigging from the deck with a handline, the men rowed out from the schooner in dories to set trawls (longlines with hundreds of hooks) over a wide area. This greatly increased the catch per man (because the longline had hundreds of hooks whereas the handline only had one or two) and is known as the golden age of the saltbanker. The dory was great for bank fishing because they could be stacked one inside the other on the crowded deck of a schooner. They were 15 feet in length and could carry a large load while away from the mother ship. Check out Marsha and me in our dory.

In the last fifty years, the offshore fishery has changed greatly. Diesel and electric motors have replaced wind and muscle power. Most of the catch is now destined for North American markets rather than the export trade and is sold fresh or frozen, rather than dried. Catching, processing and transportation methods have all been mechanized, resulting in an increased efficiency and expanding markets and increased the economic rewards both for those actually engaged in fishery and for the economy of Atlantic Canada.

The museum houses a 25 pound lobster, who is about 60 years old, pictured below left. It’s hard to see him, so below right is about the same size lobster. Bottom left our guide is holding a claw that came from a lobster about the same size.

In the years after World War I, smuggling liquor was a money making business for many people. “Prohibition,” which outlawed the general use of alcohol, was instituted in both Canada and the United States. Rum running in the early 1920’s quickly expanded to include people of many occupations. Fishermen, with their close proximity to the sea and seldom used coves and inlets of the Atlantic coast, had an integral part in this movement. Check out this radio that was used on land to communicate with a rum runner!

Today we have “hand helds.”

We watched a film “Around Cape Horn” a voyage around Cape Horn on the barque, Peking, in 1929. It was narrated in 1980 by the same person (sailor) who filmed it. The schooner did not have one mechanical engine, switch, etc.! It was all “manpower.” The sails themselves weighed TONS! Many times the camera itself ended up underwater, so I’m not sure how he continued to film the trip, unless he had more than one camera. It showed how the men climbed up and down the sails with not a thought to safety. One of the more interesting things shown was the 13 foot jellyfish! The film was produced by Mystic Harbor. We visited Mystic Harbor in 2008, what a small world!

There was an exhibit of the work of a marine artist, Earl Bailly, who has become synonymous with images of the Nova Scotia coast during the age of schooners and dory fishing. Above his name in the photo, is a photograph of Earl.

What is interesting about him as an artist is the fact that at the age of 3 he contracted polio and became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. His mother, a teacher, taught him to hold a pencil with his mouth. As a child, he became interested in drawing, progressing to pen, watercolors and eventually oil painting. It’s amazing what you can do if you want it badly enough.

Whales are the largest animals ever to inhabit the earth. They are mammals without hind legs, thought to be distantly related to hoofed animals. The earliest whales existed soon after the Age of Dinosaurs. The life span of a whale varies from 35 years to 100 years, depending on the kind of whale. A Fin Whale measures up to 70 feet and lives for 100 years. Check out the jawbone of a Fin Whale.

Stephen is showing how big this bone really is. Always a ham. It looked like a giant bird head.

On the wharf was a lobster trap so Bill and I decided to see how they feel when they get trapped.

And, of course, Stephen was a ham again. He has the best poses.

In the aquarium there were many different kinds of fish. We even saw live scallops which were fun to watch. I had never seen a live scallop before. And the guide cut it open to show us how to get to the scallop

and then fed it to the starfish.

One of our guests told us about a pewter shop in the next town, Mahone Bay, so we decided to go check it out. It was amazing. She first showed us how quickly the pewter melts down and cools off. The second she spread the pewter out on the table, it was solid. To form a goblet, the start with a flat disk, spin it and vola!

The town itself was quite cute. I love the house below right. It’s for sale!

We ended our time in Lunenburg with an ice cream social.

I can’t think of a better way to end a day.

The following day, we drove to Halifax and one of our guests decided to host a ribs dinner for the group. Following dinner, we played Bingo.

It was a group effort. What a fabulous time!

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2 responses to “Day 21-23 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

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