March 24, 2012 , Terrence Bay, Lower Prospect
Today Dave and I decided to do some exploring, on land, in our own backyard. Whoa, what ??
We were heading to Polly's Cove, a hiking trail just a tad before Peggy's Cove. We had even packed a snack and some coconut water to quench our thirst (nothing like getting ready for our future caribean travels !)
The reason we got sidetracked, is that four summers ago, when we were sailing on Dave's then lovely Illihee II, we spent a wonderful night in Grovers Cove, where we had hiked by some waterfalls. Today we were driving by, on our way to Polly's Cove, Dave did a double turn and hmm, mentionned that those "rocks looked familiar" and so we did another double turn and went for a look-see. Now only a "true" sailor would understand this term "the rocks looked familiar". Maybe, given that I knew exactly what Dave was talking about when he said that, could I be that much closer to becoming a sailor-ess ?
In any case, that's how we got sidetracked. We parked in a very small area just off the road, and found ourselves in this waterfront park, stumbled on the boardwalk littered with benches everywhere and stopped for a moment at the gazebo. We started reading the interpretive panels and discovered a very interesting piece of history that neither one of us knew anything about.
On 01 April 1873, the sail and steam fueled SS Atlantic was on its 19th voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, (from Liverpool (U.K.) and on its way to New York (U.S.), needed to refuel and was heading to Halifax to replenish its coal supplies (why did it leave UK with not enough coal?). The (typical) stormy seas and foggy nights of Nova Scotia had the Capt fooled (and there seems to be a bit of question as to the Capt's actions), thinking he was near Halifax, zigged when he should've zagged, and so in the wee hours of the morning, the ship smashed into some underwater rocks off Marr's Head...
It was considered "the worst marine disaster off the Canadian Coast prior to the Titanic". Of the 952 people on board less than half were saved. Lifeboats were lowered but were mostly washed away or smashed by the rough seas. The ship quickly filled with water and rolled over on its side. All the women and children died including 2 babies that were born on-board during the voyage. One child survived, a young boy by the name of John Hindley. The few survivors owed their lives to the very small and brave community that kept the frozen bodies alive during the dark and cold night. Many divers spent weeks diving and recovering the bodies. One newspaper tells an interesting tale : that one of the found crew was discovered to be a woman instead of the man that she was pretending to be - (s)he had served as a "common (male) sailor" for 3 of the SS Atlantic's voyages. Shiver me timbers !!
There stands a commemorative monument, erected in 1915, on a mass grave for the unidentified victims of the wreck.
As Dave and I meandered off the beaten path, we came across more gravestones laying helter skelter in the bushes, enough to shiver me timbers and hush us into solemn pensiveness. What is it about discovering a bunch of gravestones that gives one the creepy crawlies ? Either way it was an interesting detour and a wonderful day spent discovering a little piece of history in our own backyard.
On a side note, the offer and counter offer fell through and our house is back on the market, so we came home after our adventures for (another) thorough cleaning, getting it ready for more showings !! And it's back to the books for this "true sailor-ess" for the upcoming reviews and Coastal Navigation exam this week.
Keep your fingers crossed, shiver me timbers !!
Photo: One of the descriptive panels fond at the Heritage Site aptly named "Cry of the Sea". As always if you've liked SV Banyan on Facebook, you can take a peek at a few more pictures.
March 21, 2012 , Halifax
This widely popular and well known idiom cannot be mistaken for anything else but the infamous words of Capt Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Having spent the last few weeks watching reruns, and yes, Le Sigh, SV Banyan is, admittedly, a huge Trekkie fan, this idea of "making it so" has somehow resonated with me. Capt Picard, in First Contact, succintly explained that in the world of the future, dilemmas and strife have disappeared, and the ultimate goal of (wo)mankind has become to strive to continually better ourselves.
This combined with the recent events in our lives...
A recent story of DOing by Zero to Cruising, where Rebecca taught herself how to dance with fire (you should watch the video, she's amazing !). Love their zest for life !! Another recent blog by Windtraveler is a great read as well, sharing a similar vein of thought, commenting on those who dream and dream, and those who dream and "DO" (quote unquote).
There is this idea that somehow and someway we all have the ability to create the life of our dreams. Sounds simple enough. The inspirational stories of those that up and quit lucrative jobs to be "happy-er" following their bliss. Oftentimes it is when we face the fear, and do it anyways, that we feel truly vibrant and alive and empowered. There's something to be said about leaving the relative familiar comfort of that which we know and heading out... into unknown and unchartered territory. (Although in this age of technological media, ain't much that is unknown and unchartered).
Dave and I have also, as have other cruisers I am sure, started experiencing the "you are doing WHAT ?". Sometimes it's as simple as a raised eyebrow, to outright vocal comments (some supportive, some not so much).
My daughter experienced this as well when she told people she was going to Spain for a few months. My son succintly investigated the idea of the words that we choose to speak, suggesting that, for example, in terms of high school graduates that so and so took a year "off"... Why this need to constantly quanitfy and qualify our actions... or the time doing something we want with the word "off" ?
Off from what ? Is following our dream, creating our lives, striving for HAPPYness, feeling vibrantly alive, taking time "off"?
Can it be as simple as the very idea that language in of itself, the use of words, the thinking of thoughts allow us to go from dreaming to "making it so" ??
On a totally unrelated topic, we are happy to report that we just received the first offer on our house, and a counter offer is in the works. Dave is visiting SV Banyan (aka working) on this absolutely gorgeous summer day (and yes it's only mid-March !) and we have been following our exercise regimen with rewnewed ardour (see what Spring brings forth ??) which for me entails a 10 km walk today.
Life is Good. Make it so !
PHOTO: A gorgeous pictures of SV Banyan with her colourful spinnaker. Taken last summer - thanks Mo !!