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Ship’s Cat, Erik The Red, Leaves For Final Port of Call

I shall repost this repost, as the illustrous life of Erik The Red comes to its close. I was always on the outlook for him when I passed The CSS Acadia.

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Erik The Red, the mouser of The CSS Acadia, moored permanently in Halifax harbour as a museum ship, retires today. Even as I write this. So, I will repost my own encounter with Erik, one day during the winter.

Dark comes early these days, and will do so for months. My frequent walks along Halifax harbour now usually begin in the dusk and always end in the dark. The lights near and far are beautiful, and the lack of fellow travellers is pleasing. And any ships that pass in the night on their way to sea are well-lit sights to see.

On ship stays in port, however. It is The CSS Acadia. The CSS Acadia survived the Halifax Explosion and sailed for many a long year afterward. She served in both World Wars and retains her original steam engines and boilers. She even has her original crew quarters. The CSS Acadia is still afloat in Halifax Harbour and is a part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  She is open to visitors and receives many. She also has a cat.

I met the cat the other night (not for the first time). He is an orange tabby called Erik, and is classed as the ship’s Junior Rodent Control Officer (Junior because there is a more senior cat aboard). He is not a “house cat”, but ranges the wharves at will. He is generally intent upon his business but deigns to be  friendly. If he deems he has the time, he’ll give you a look over and allow some fraternizing. Perhaps the lack of human folk prompted him to trot toward me and encourage some human hand contact. At any rate he allowed himself to be patted a few minutes. He even walked with me  (well . . . scooted around me as I walked) for a few ship lengths before he returned to his nocturnal endeavours. A sleek, gold arrow aimed into the dark.

DE

(death notice)https://haligonia.ca/beloved-erik-the-red-passes-away-after-brief-illness-200456/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=haligonia

(image)https://haligonia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/FB_IMG_1501779912940.jpg

 

Flying Fish in Halifax Harbour

fresh and tasty

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I https://media.pitchup.co.uk/uploads/mackerel-fishing-trips.jpg

There is a relatively new and very long pier at one of the container terminals in Halifax. It seems to go out a quarter of the way into the harbour. It offers the best view of the mouth of the harbour, along with some (now) unique views back into the harbour itself.

As I was standing at the end, jutting into the harbour and watching the passing ship traffic (hello, cruise ship), I noticed a man with a fishing pole, casting away. He did not seem too successful, but did toss the occasional fish (mackerel) into a large pail. As I watched my ships, he cast away. Sometimes his fish leaped from the pail and flopped about on the pier. He did not seem concerned, though I rather hoped one of them would slide under the fence and return to the water far below.

I stayed about an hour and was preparing to leave. So was the fisherman. He called me over and asked me if I wanted any fish. I did have interest, but, in addition to transporting fish on a bus, and also having to gut and clean them, I declined. It was then he offered the grandest of shows.

He reached into his pail and started tossing the fish over the high, barbwire-topped fence which enclosed the container terminal. On the other side was a vast platform, upon which waited a flock of seagulls. As each mackerel sailed over the fence, and slid across the cement, the gulls descended. I anticipated many bird fights. I was surprised to see each gull that reached a fish first, just swallowed the mackerel whole.

Gulp.

Slide into gullet.

Fly away gull.

The other gulls then turned their attention to the next flying fish.

It was quite the entertainment.

DE

The Bluenose

 A number of years ago, I was seated on a bench in Halifax, watching a cruise ship prepare to leave.  I had noted a tall-masted sailing boat pass, but was more immersed in the huge ship leaving port. Suddenly a man was at my back, asking me to move so I would not get struck in the head.

I turned to see the sailing boat – The Bluenose – coming alongside. It edged toward the dock, closer and closer, and then a crew member on the bow shouted to me.  He asked if I would grab a rope when it was thrown. I agreed, happy to do so. I immediately  had the bow line in my hands and at my feet.

They shouted down to me and asked that I put it over the ‘second’ post. This proved to be quite a chore for something thicker than my arm and heavy in weight.  It took a couple of minutes, but I slipped it over. I jumped back. It was a taut rope indeed.

DE

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