Sinking of the Tonka

It was on a clear morning of August 21, 1959 when Scott Falconer’s boat Tonka, loaded with herring, was accidentally rammed and sunk by another boat. The lucrative herring run had just begun and Scott was then without a boat. Scott’s good friend Arnold MacMillan from Pictou Island felt really sorry that such a thing...

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The winter of 1955-56

Winter set in early with about three inches of snow falling on Nov. 11, 1955. My father and Arnold MacMillan had been setting their smelt nets together in coves around the Merigomish area but had returned home to Pictou Island on November 12 because of the unstable weather. It was still blowing hard and was...

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Shrieks from monsters in the woods …

Far out in the Northumberland Strait lies a tiny island where maybe even today imaginary monsters roam in its woods … I recall my earlier years living on Pictou Island when monsters supposedly lurked in the woods behind our homes. You see every Pictou Island landowner had their own woodlands. Just about every islander would...

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Ice, fire, a race and a brawl …

The Northumberland Strait was full of ice on May 1st 1965. It has been eight months since we moved off Pictou Island. My parents, however, were going to stay in our house on Pictou Island during lobster season. Four days prior on April 26th there was a lot of scattered ice. Nevertheless, my father and...

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Pictou Island Christmas 1959

The weather during the month of December 1959 remained mild, middle to high 30s Fahrenheit, the wind blew hard from the south nearly every day and it rained a lot. Jimmie MacDonald and wife Viney were found deceased in their burnt out home on December 10. Consequently, over the next several days, Arnold MacMillan kept...

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Ferry boats and storms …

I wrote this story approximately 17 years ago and much has changed over those years … My grandfather Elias Turple twin brother Charles ran the Pictou Island Ferry Service from the island to the mainland during the early years off the 1900s. Charles Turple’s first boat used for this ferry service was called DOT. That...

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Summer of 1964 …

Probably my first experiences in seeing changes taking place within the local fisheries was with rope in the late 1950s or early 60s. Fishermen up to those years used a cotton rope for all purposes. Around the late 1950s or early 60s, a much lighter plastic rope was introduced. Lobster trap trawls usually require a...

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