Anchors away …

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The year 1966 saw my brother Vincent fish in a 40-foot wooden boat that he called the SS MAGOT. That name in itself makes for an interesting story. Clinton MacDonald from Alma and Waley Daley from Pictou were a couple of young lads who were helping Vincent to fish the fall herring.

On one cool clear September evening Vincent, Clinton and Waley set out for the West End of Pictou Island to set their nets. Clinton & Waley were practical jokers and were always doing something as a joke to each other or to Vincent – such things as hiding each other’s lunch can or putting a herring in the other’s lunch can or rubber boots. Sometimes they became so involved in pulling a prank on each other that they sometimes forgot what they were supposed to be doing.

As usual, Waley and Clinton on this day were to have placed the herring nets attached to the anchors upon the stern of the SS MAGOT as they sailed to the West End.

Sure enough, the nets were upon the stern and everything appeared ready when reaching the West End. Vincent turned the SS MAGOT around to go against the falling tide and yelled for one of them to throw the net anchor into the water. The anchor was grabbed and thrown overboard. A puzzled look however suddenly came over Clinton and Waley’s faces. The herring nets were not going anywhere. Someone had forgotten to tie the rope from the anchor onto the nets.

I have to laugh when I look back to that evening and visualize that anchor being thrown over the stern and never to be seen again.

Luck however seemed to be with Vincent and his crew that evening. My father and I had just successfully with anchors made our set at the West End. Dad however had a spare anchor on board the Dream Boat and he lent it to Vincent only after tying it onto the nets himself.

Rather then retry to make his set at the West End, Vincent sailed further down to John Dan’s cove and made his set there. Vincent, Waley and Clinton then settled into their bunks to await the early morning slack tide.

Vincent awoke just after midnight to find that a large school of herring had hit his nets and the nets were quickly sinking. He quickly alerted Waley & Clinton and the rest of the morning was spent loading the SS Maggot with the fish.

Pictured are Waley Daley and Clinton MacDonald leveling that catch of herring throughout the boat. This was done so that the weight would be evenly distributed and enable the boat to carry the load better. There were only a few inches of the back portion of the boat out off the water when carrying this much weight.

They then sailed over to the factory wharf in Caribou where the herring was processed.