FROM THE NORTH­SIDE

Colum­nist Gor­don Samp­son is glad the Low Point lighthouse is be­ing pre­served.

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - Gor­don Samp­son Gor­don Samp­son founded the North Sydney His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety on Jan­uary 7, 1980, and se­lected the li­brary as the cen­ten­nial pro­ject out of 10 pos­si­ble projects in 1985. He was an ed­u­ca­tor and ad­min­is­tra­tor for 38 years, the last 28 at the Can

A lighthouse is a beau­ti­ful sight to see.

In the late 1940s we used to row out to the South Bar Lighthouse and ex­plore.

My broth­ers Mur­ray, Gerry, and I used to bring Manny and Lloydy Kea­gan along in our row­boat and go for hours around the har­bour.

Now and then when the wa­ter was very calm we would row to the In­dian Beach and check the sand­bar es­pe­cially if it was low tide.

At low tide, the sand bar was no longer cov­ered in wa­ter and there were many snails, conches, her­mit crabs, starfish, and white clam shells to see af­ter we pulled up the boat onto the bar.

Then it was off to the South Bar Buoy where we would climb onto the buoy if the waves were not too big. There we would peer down into the wa­ter to see what fish might be swim­ming around and some­times we would see sev­eral dog­fish (small sharks about a me­tre long) swim­ming around.

The buoy was al­ways rock­ing to and fro and if it was wavy, the big bell at the top would gong so loud it was deaf­en­ing.

We would then change oars and head for the South Bar Lighthouse (only found on­line as Sydney Bar Light) for more excitement. As we ap­proached the south sand­bar, dif­fer­ent seabirds would fly into the air be­cause we had dis­turbed them from their nest­ing places.

Fi­nally we ar­rived at the iron lad­der at the base of the lighthouse. The base (or wharf) was cov­ered in iron and par­tially rusted. Be­fore we started to climb, we tied the painter (the rope at the bow) to the sec­ond rung up in case the tide came up be­fore we got back down. One af­ter the other, we got up on the wharf and waited for the oth­ers to do so.

We walked around the perime­ter to see the sights then came to the up­per lad­der. You re­ally had to hold on be­cause it was dan­ger­ous get­ting that high up; it took you all the way up to where the bea­con was flash­ing night and day.

It was ex­cit­ing. We’d hear the click of the big green light when it would come on and go off. And we were so high up, we could see all around es­pe­cially the north bar at the In­dian Beach, our house in Ward Four, North Sydney, Point Ed­ward, Whit­ney Pier, South Bar, all the way to New Vic­to­ria and the mouth of the har­bour.

Then we’d re­al­ize the dan­ger we might be in and who might be watch­ing. We’d climb back down very gin­gerly and wait at the spot near the lower lad­der while each one of us climbed back down to the boat.

I was the old­est so I would undo the painter, throw it into the boat while hold­ing the bow with my foot. I’d quickly jump into the boat and take the oars. I’d keep the boat steady near the bot­tom of the lad­der while each of the other four ex­plor­ers jumped in, one at a time.

Once we cleared the lighthouse, we would give the Kea­gans a chance to row the boat on the way back home.

In the mean­time, if the wa­ters got rough, we would point the bow into the waves for safety, not side­ways be­cause it might tip over, and head for the red buoy and then the In­dian Beach.

Some­time af­ter I came back from eight years in Que­bec with my wife, Eve­lyn, and our three chil­dren, Anita, Mark and Carl, I was very dis­ap­pointed to see that the lighthouse was gone. I couldn’t be­lieve it. It was such a part of my child­hood and our view of the har­bour from Ward Four on the North­side.

It was a tall, red-and-white struc­ture, so pleas­ant to the eye. A lighthouse is a beau­ti­ful thing.

And what a loss it is to the cruise ships pass­ing by Point Ed­ward and into Sydney.

That’s why I am so glad that the Low Point Lighthouse is be­ing pre­served. Deb­bie Lee Pear­son, Larry MacSween and other mem­bers of the Low Point Lighthouse So­ci­ety are very ac­tive in this pur­suit. Along with Fort Petrie and the “Sailors’ Church” (for­merly St. Alphon­sus Church, of­ten called the Stone Church), there will fi­nally be at least one area de­vel­oped on Sydney Har­bour of in­ter­est to all es­pe­cially the tourists.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTOS

This photo taken from the end of the break­wa­ter at the In­dian Beach shows the wharf (just to the left of the flag pole), which was the foun­da­tion of the South Bar Lighthouse.

Pic­tured above is the Low Point Lighthouse which is be­ing pre­served at present with fund­ing from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The photo was taken from the beach at the bot­tom of Brown Street in New Vic­to­ria.

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