Shark Week in Lockeport, Nova Scotia

17 08 2012

This was meant to be a fishing Blog telling about our trips fishing for mackerel and striped bass.

However, last week-end we headed to Lockeport to fish for mackerel, to find that the local Sea Derby was in progress. We fished for a short time at our usual pier, but nothing was biting, so we went over to the Government wharf to see what was being brought in.

Several fishing boats were waiting to land their catch. This boat above has a long look-out platform for spotting sword fish.

I liked the name of her.

It also has these seats up high for spotting the fish.

Some cod had been landed and were being weighed and measured. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to the size taken, but there is a maximum of 10 rule. I remember when we used to catch huge cod on the West Coast of Scotland in the 70’s, it’s good to see they are returning.

Mackerel are plentiful at this time of the year. We caught 14 one day at Lunenburg and 8 at Lockeport in a very short time.

The Governement body, the Department of Fisheries, was present to check what was being landed.

The shark had to be winched from the boats up into a shed.

Where they were weighed, and measured and the contents of their stomachs examined.

This one weighed about 350lb!

I had never seen a shark up close before. These were Blue Sharks – what a beautiful colour!

We had a very exciting day and might go fishing at the Sea Derby next year.

This Great White Shark was caught in a fisherman’s trap, last year, in the Bay of Fundy. I have taken the photograph from a CBC page. It was a baby female, 3 metres long and weighing 272 Kg.

This was taken from the CBC report of August 17th, 2011.

Steve Campana, head of the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory, said the shark was likely looking for fish when it got trapped.”They’re interested in fish and perhaps small seals and dolphins. It’s very unusual for a great white to attack a person and usually when they do, it’s because they look up and see a surfer on a surfboard and it resembles a seal, which is one of their favourite prey,” said Campana.

He pointed out that in the 1930s there was a shark attack in the area that sunk a boat but left the boaters unharmed. “They’re not interested in people.”

“Canada is within the range of great white habitat, so they’ve undoubtedly been coming up here since time immemorial,” he said. “It’s just that the population of great whites used to be much larger, at least 10 times larger, just 30 years ago than it is now.”

But this Mako, caught in  2004 was a giant!

It was caught by Jamie Doucette, when he was fishing in the Annual Shark Scramble at Yarmouth, NS.

The shark weighed in at an astonishing 1,082 pounds and was a Canadian record.

I’m really not sure what I’d do if I caught any of these huge fish.

There is another Shark Derby on 25th August at the Seafest at Brooklyn, Liverpool. We’ll go along and see if there are any records caught there.

Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia

31 07 2012

A couple of week-ends ago we went to Western Head, just outside Lockeport. This was our first time here and I had just found it on Google maps. There is a weather station at Western Head to track the tropical storms and hurricames that come up the Atlantic Coast.

The first thing that hit us was the abundance of beautiful wild flowers.

Is this a Ragged Fringe Orchid? I have had real difficulty identifying these flowers, as I only have a European Wild Flower Book.

These purple heads look quite like Rose Bay Willow Herb, but might be Purple Loosestrife?

Could these white, spidery flowers be Meadow Rue?

These are Swamp Candles – what a great name. I have never seen or heard of them before.

Now, I do know what this is!

Common Sow Thistle? The Blue-eyed Grass is a miniature member of the Iris family. The flowers only last for one  day, but new buds open every day during June/July.

Another Orchid?

I’d greatly appreciate help with identifying these flowers.

I wonder if the flowers on this small peninsula are  particularly good this year because of the great spell of weather. I will return next year to see.

Lockeport, Novia Scotia

10 10 2011

We have only visited Lockeport once since moving to Canada and that didn’t leave a lasting impression – well not a good one. It was winter, and the little town seemed to be dying. I took no photographs, because there was nothing to inspire me.

On Saturday we had a walk along Louis Head Beach, and decided to drive to Lockeport for another look. As we headed for the town, we saw that there was a walk to the town over the old railway bridge and decided to go that way rather than driving over the causeway.

Huge sandstone blocks have been placed along the sea side as protection, perhaps after the problems they had with the storm surge of Hurricane Bill. Many of them are eroded by the weather and look as if they have been ornately carved for a Cathedral.

I was confused as to why the railway tracks are still in place, when the cost of steel is so high! Would this not be a good income for the town of Lockeport?

Many buildings in the town have large photographs of Lockeport when it was a thriving fishing and trading town.

This photo shows the bridge we had just walked over.

The photo is on the side of the Freight Shed at the harbour.

It was a really hot day and we decided to look for a cold drink.

The Town Market definitely wins our award for the best kept non-chain grocery store. It was spotless, well laid out, and had everything you would need. The price of meat was even cheaper than our local Supermarket. It even had a little coffee shop attached with a large selection of coffees.

This chap, sitting outside the store, was pretty wet – maybe he’d been duck hunting?

This  painting on the side wall of the Market Store tells its own story.

We weren’t too sure why this place was called the  Parrot’s Pins Candlepin Cafe. Does it have a bowling alley inside, is it a play on words? We had just had a picnic at Louis Head, so were not ready for lunch.

The outside of the building is bright and well kept and its photo shows boats overloaded with cod in the days of plenty.

The Menu was exciting and we will return here soon.

Looking across from the harbour, was this green Victorian home, built by Captain Henry Locke in 1876. The Second Empire architecture is seen in the mansard roof and projecting tower.

The other house, with the 3 dormers, was built around 1836 and is the oldest remaining building in Lockeport.

Sign at Town of Lockeport Office.

Few boats are  seen in the harbour today, not like the early years.I found this description of the 1700’s fascinating.

Locke’s Island, and its surroundings entered a period of booming industry, with hotels, trade warehouses, and multiple fish plants being constructed. Large trade ships plied the sea lanes from Locke’s Island to the West Indies to trade lumber and salt cod, returning to the town laden with Molasses and Salt. The fishing schooners were constantly returning from the Bank’s loaded with cod. However, this golden age of the Ragged Islands would eventually come to an end, with the first of many catastrophes coming in the form of a fish market collapse in the 1890s. Subsequent fires plagued the town, and the once great community was brought to its knees.

Carter Island Lighthouse marks one of the many rocky islands in the bays.

This dory beside the old pier, is my last shot of Lockeport.

I left the town with very different feelings from my first visit. Lockeport is trying to change and make it an inviting place for tourists and visitors. By telling the story of its past, people can realise what a prosperous place it was and the reasons for the changes.

I wish the town well with their transformation and am delighted that I found another ‘special place’ in Nova Scotia.