New Brunswick

Here as in other maritime places the old lighthouses are getting scarce.  It hardly seems yesterday that lighthouse keepers and their families tended gas-lit lights perched in the places so perilous to those on the water.  Maritime histories are full of tales about these hardy souls who lived in remote, often times totally isolated places on our shorelines.  Santa came by Coast Guard Tender and sometimes kids stayed with relatives ashore during the school year.  There are countless tales of daring rescues of shipwrecked sailors by the lightkeepers.

Even in calm weather the Bay of Fundy can be deadly to the unwary.  We have the highest tides in the world; often rising and falling 10 or 12 feet in a couple of hours.  It's all too easy for an unsuspecting sailor to rip the bottom out of his boat on rock shoals that were deeply covered just a short time before.

Another feature of the lighthouses was the steam-powered foghorns.  These deep bellows were heard when the pea-soup fogs rolled in.  Old salts could tell each horn by its tone and knew exactly where they were even though they could barely see the bow of the boat.  I can still hear the voice of the Partridge Island foghorn in Saint John going  BOOOOOOOO - WAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

When I was in Grade 4 one of my classmate's father was a harbour pilot in Saint John harbour.  These men went out to inbound  ships and guided them into safe berth.  Sadly one day, the little pilot boat was run down by the ship they were to meet in a very heavy fog.  There were no survivors.  I can still remember how the teacher and principal came and got Jackie in the middle of class.  Then the teacher had to tell us why.  The foghorn had an especially sad wail for a long time afterwards.

There also used to be a "Weather Ship" anchored in mid-bay between NB and Digby, NS which sent back  marine weather broadcasts to the radio stations onshore.  All that has changed now, being replaced with modern and in many ways better electronic navigational aids.  But we have saved some of the old places that said "These are Sea People." 

by Wayne Pond


Cape Enrage Light

Gondola Point Light


Quaco Head Light

St. Martin Light

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