Fly­ing for the mis­sion

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM GREEN

There were many places I had to go to now and then along the Labrador Coast. The list is long if I can re­mem­ber them all:

Hen­ley Hr, Pitts Arm, Plea­sure Hr, Mary’s Hr, Lodge Bay, Cape Charles, Fox Hr, Petty Hr, Mur­rays Hr, Sandy Hook, Fish­ing Ships Hr, Fran­cis Hr, Fran­cis Hr Bight, Port Hope Simp­son, Wil­liams Hr, Ge­orges Cove, Ship Hr, Oc­ca­sional Hr, Char­lot­te­town, Tri­an­gle, Dead Islands, Square Islands, Pin­sents Arm, Veni­son Tickle, Snug Hr, Tub Hr, Tri­an­gle, Hawks Hr, Squasho Run, Boul­ters Rock, Seal Is­land, French­man’s Islands, Par­tridge Bay, Sandy Is­land, Bat­teau, Black Tickle, Spot­ted Is­land, Cartwright, Par­adise River. I flew to these com­mu­ni­ties in the sum­mer on floats and to some in the win­ter on skiis. (There maybe a few I have missed.)

In win­ter I would go to, Pitts Arm, Lodge Bay, Marys Hr.,Fox Hr., Port Hope Simp­son, Wil­liams Hr, Char­lot­te­town, Pin­sents Arm, Nor­man Bay, Par­tridge Bay, Black Tickle, Cartwright, and Par­adise River. All on the har­bor ice be­fore any airstrips were con­structed.

But my fa­vorites were Tri­an­gle, Dead Is­land, Square Is­land and Veni­son Tickle. They were in my mind, beau­ti­ful lit­tle com­mu­ni­ties, oc­cu­pied only dur­ing the sum­mer fish­ing sea­son, but they were just lovely as far as I was con­cerned.

Tri­an­gle was a small place with only one way in and one way out , with high cliffs on three sides and a small shel­tered har­bour with only one open­ing. You ei­ther had to land out­side and taxi in or try and dive down over the Cliffs and round out in the small har­bor and land with full re­verse on the pro­pel­ler. It all de­pended on the wind di­rec­tion. I’d wait un­til a boat came out ei­ther to pick up or take off a pa­tient.

Dead Is­land was a small place with one or two fam­i­lies from Char­lot­te­town there for the fish­ing sea­son. It was at the mouth of Michaels Bay. I would land in the small shel­tered har­bour and wait un­til a boat came out to meet me with the pa­tient or to pick up the pa­tient. It was quicker to wait rather than try and dock the air­plane and a lot eas­ier in quite a num­ber of those com­mu­ni­ties.

Square Islands was a shel­tered com­mu­nity where the Pow­ells of Char­lot­te­town used to col­lect fish and salmon from the fish­er­men fish­ing in the area. Quite a few peo­ple lived and fished there for the sea­son. I can re­call on one oc­ca­sion in the spring when the salmon were nu­mer­ous along the coast, one fish­er­man I knew asked me to cash a cou­ple of cheques at the bank for him and bring the money back some­time when I was pass­ing through. I told him I would and he passed me the cheques and I al­most died! The value of the two cheques was in ex­cess of $30,000. . . . . .

I re­turned to St. An­thony and the next day I took the cheques to the bank and spoke to the man­ager about them. He picked up the phone and called the branch of the bank in St. Johns where to cheques were writ­ten. He found out the cheques were bad as there was only $1500.00 left in the ac­count. Be­sides that he pointed out the cheques only had a stamp on them from the fish­ing com­pany and no ac­tual sig­na­ture! Sadly within a few days I was back in Square Islands and re­turned them to the owner. The fish­er­men had a chance to make

lot of money that spring, but I be­lieve most of them lost it to this com­pany. I re­mem­ber that fall they were still try­ing to re­cover their losses, and this hap­pened in the spring. I went ashore that day and the salmon were stacked about 3 feet high in the stage wait­ing to be cleaned. “OK,Tom”, he said “How many salmon do you want”? I de­clined as I don’t like fish.

Veni­son Tickle was a place I grew to like very much and went there quite a few times. I went there one day to pick up a fish­er­man from Car­bon­ear. His name was Jim For­ward, a nice gentle­men, who had ar­rived there in the spring on the “fish­er­man’s spe­cial”. This was a coastal boat that used to pick up fish­er­man from New­found­land and bring them to places where they fished along the coast for the sum­mer. Jim ar­rived and they put his trap boat over the side. Jim got in it and pro­ceeded to start it up. It was a “make and break” en­gine and as some­times hap­pens, the pin flew out of the mo­tor when he cranked it over and broke his leg. Not the first per­son this hap­pened to. So Jim and I be­came great friends that year with me pick­ing him up and bring­ing him back and forth af­ter a doc­tor’s visit in St. An­thony. It was a year or so later that I took an Ottawa artist, Richard Gill, into Veni­son Tickle, among a dozen other places one sum­mer’s day. I had taken my son Peter and Martin Penny along for the ride, Martin and Peter were about the same age, and Martin was the only one on the list for home that morn­ing. He lived in Port Hope Simp­son. I re­mem­ber when we landed and tied up to the same trap boat Jim broke his leg on, Peter and Martin went miss­ing. They were up on the hills sur­round­ing the har­bor. They came back and we had a great dinner at Jim’s house and soon af­ter we left. That same house caught fire one spring day a few years later and was com­pletely de­stroyed. The coastal boat had left Car­bon­ear, and they turned it around to go back and pick up the mak­ings of a com­plete house and de­liver it to Jim in Veni­son Tickle. Peo­ple came from ev­ery­where to help in the con­struc­tion of the new house. It was up within a cou­ple of days. Sadly, Jim passed away a few years ago.

Those were the few places I re­ally liked on the south east Labrador Coast. Now hardly any­one goes to those com­mu­ni­ties be­cause of the shut­down of the fish­ery.

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