The 47 nm cruise from Halifax to Lunenburg was relatively uneventful. We got an early start, departing 0650 and arrived at 1400, early enough to get tied up and take in the Fisheries Museum, which was very interesting.

Included in the museum’s collection are two fishing vessels, the Cape Sable, a steel side trawler dating from 1963, and the Theresa E. Conner, a fishing schooner from the 1930’s. If life aboard the steel trawler was spartan, life aboard a sailing fishing schooner would have to qualify as something less. The schooner was a “Salt Banker”, so ship and crew would head to the Grand Banks for weeks at a time. Work days began at 0300 and went until they were finished- about 2300 hrs. The work consisted of launching the 10 or so wooden dories, loaded with their gear, a lunch, a lamp, and two men. They would row from the ship, then pay out “long lines” of baited hooks. After the lines “soaked” an hour or two, they would row back along the line, pulling the lines up by hand. Fish would be removed by one man and the other would bait the line and send it back into the frigid water. At the end of the day, the pair would return to the ship, unload their fish that may total 1000 lbs. Then the fish would be headed, gutted, split, and stacked in the hold of the ship, alternating layers of fish and salt. This would continue for as long as it would take to fill the ship’s hold- about 425,000 lbs. No showers, no heads, two men to a bunk, lots of beans, salt pork, and a midnight meal often consisting of fare made from codfish heads, backbones, livers- in other words, whatever was generally discarded in the processing of their catch. Ah, the days when men were men- and sheep were afraid.

Lunenburg has been shaped by the Loyalist influence prevalent in western Nova Scotia, with lots of New England architecture. Once a thriving fishing community, the once-bustling businesses are gone, and the pace is decidedly slower, with the focus on tourism. The businesses are now restaurants, bed & breakfasts, and shops. Lots of them! We strolled the streets at dusk, enjoying the attractive restored homes and the whimsical street sigrns. Most of the shops were closed, probably just as well, since we really don’t have room for “stuff” anyway, but it’s still fun to browse!

Just an overnight stay here, we’ll be slipping lines for Shelburne in the morning.

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