HEATHER BARNES

More of Our Canada - - Writer's Block -

An ed­u­ca­tor, writer and world trav­eller, Heather cur­rently makes her home in Van­cou­ver. While she thor­oughly en­joys West Coast liv­ing, she makes a point of re­turn­ing to the East Coast at least once a year to savour the hu­mour and warmth of the peo­ple of New­found­land. Her travel writ­ing has ap­peared in sev­eral publi­ca­tions in­clud­ing Yummy Mummy,the Evening Tele­gram and Tran­si­tions Abroad.

the salty, fishy air. The open sea is calm, but a slight breeze is pick­ing up. She hopes it will help to keep the bugs away. Mike peeks his weath­ered, lined face out from his car­pen­try work­shop door to the right of the church.

“Well, well,” he tells the chil­dren. “Looks like I bet­ter get a move on!”

“Oh, yes, Mike. They’re here! We gotta hurry!” says Robert as he runs down the road, im­pa­tient to be on his way.

“How many do you think we’ll get?” Mike asks the chil­dren as he bangs his work­shop door shut.

“Don’t know. My mom wants me to get a good few. Maybe 30,” young Tom says.

“My dad’s al­ready gone down, and he gave us two buck­ets each,” Glenda smiles as she sways the white buck­ets in her hands.

“Come on, ev­ery­one. Let’s go get them!” He­len shouts with high spir­its as she heads down the cove road. The chil­dren fol­low their en­er­getic leader, look­ing like the Von Trapp fam­ily and Maria in The Sound of Mu­sic, al­most ready to break into song. As the lit­tle en­tourage heads down the path to the peb­bled beach, they can see sil­ver caplins flash­ing in the blue wa­ter. Peo­ple of all ages, dressed in colour­ful rub­ber boots and hip waders, stand in the shal­low wa­ter, hands grab­bing at the wrig­gling, danc­ing fish. Frank Mercer, a re­tired fish­er­man, is pulling in his big green net, teem­ing with hun­dreds of squirm­ing caplins. The Dal­tons’ fa­ther and Mike help grab the net, and ev­ery­one pulls to­gether.

“Whale!” some­one yells. A white spray can be seen not far from the beach. Then a sleek black tail sur­faces. Humpback and minke whales had been sighted off the head­land just last week. To­day, two minke whales have ven­tured into the har­bour with the gulls, seals and ea­gles, fol­low­ing the caplins’ path.

He­len has packed a pic­nic lunch, and soon all the chil­dren are munch­ing on bread, cheese and wa­ter­melon. Ev­ery­thing tastes de­li­cious and satisfying in the fresh sea air. With the warm sun heat­ing the beach rocks and work­ing bod­ies, He­len’s home­made lemon­ade goes down quickly. Af­ter lunch, some of the adults sun­bathe on the rocks, while the chil­dren beach­comb, look­ing for the per­fect sea urchin or crab shell. But it’s not for long, as more white buck­ets need to be filled. Just be­fore ev­ery­one heads back to work, He­len and Mike take their an­nual photo.

“Photo time!” says Mike, as all the chil­dren and fam­i­lies squish to­gether. No need to say “cheese,” for there are only smil­ing faces sat­is­fied with an­other won­der­ful caplin day in Ad­mi­ral’s Cove! ■

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