‘Tragedies on the Un­for­giv­ing Seas’

Lock­e­port fish­er­man re­leases book re­count­ing dis­as­ters

South Shore Breaker - - Homes - VER­NON OICKLE ver­[email protected]­link.ca

While Lock­e­port fish­er­man W.A. “Bill” Wil­liams never set out to be a writer, he’s proud and “re­lieved” that his first book is now in the hands of read­ers.

Tragedies on the Un­for­giv­ing Seas, which was launched De­cem­ber 16 in Lock­e­port, is the re­sult of years of per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence at sea com­bined with decades of ma­te­rial col­lected by him­self and his fa­ther be­fore him.

The South Shore of Nova Sco­tia is no stranger to the deadly power of the icy wa­ters of the North At­lantic and in his book Wil­liams shares his knowl­edge of these dis­as­ters.

Hav­ing spent al­most five decades in the fish­ery, Wil­liams knew many of the sons, fa­thers and hus­bands who went to sea never to re­turn to their fam­i­lies. He is fa­mil­iar with the heart­break that gripped the en­tire area when word spread about these tragedies.

In do­ing the book, Wil­liams ex­plains he wanted to pre­serve the mem­o­ries of these lost men and make sure these im­por­tant events in the com­mu­nity’s his­tory were never for­got­ten.

Draw­ing from his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences at sea and his many years on the boats, Wil­liams paints a vivid pic­ture for the reader who will be drawn into the col­lec­tion of sto­ries by the screech­ing winds, the gi­gan­tic walls of wa­ter, and the des­per­a­tion of men fac­ing a cer­tain death.

Born and raised in Lock­e­port, Wil­liams is proud of years in the fish­ing in­dus­try point­ing out that for all but seven of his 46 years on the sea, he owned his boats. Go­ing to sea at a young age, he worked in a va­ri­ety of fish­eries in­clud­ing drag­ger fish­ing, long lin­ing, ground fish­ing and lob­ster fish­ing.

Grow­ing up in the coastal Nova Sco­tia fish­ing com­mu­nity of Lock­e­port, Wil­liams was in­her­ently drawn to the sea. So it comes as lit­tle sur­prise that his life’s work has re­volved around boats, fish­ing gear and salt wa­ter, the bio in his book reads.

“From his ear­li­est days as a hired hand aboard the fish­ing drag­ger Karen B to his 20-plus years be­hind the wheel of the Christina & Sons II, his ties to the East Coast fish­ery span six decades. Though he re­tired his sea legs fol­low­ing the sale of his boat and lob­ster li­cense in 2011, the long­time Al­len­dale res­i­dent con­tin­ues to serve as chair­man of the South­west Nova Fixed Gear As­so­ci­a­tion.”

“It’s in my blood,” he says, ad­mit­ting that while it was hard to re­tire in 2011 he knew it was time. “I just knew it. It was time to say enough.”

And while earn­ing a liv­ing from fish­ing is an hon­ourable pro­fes­sion most who do it agree that it’s hard and dan­ger­ous work. Wil­liams says he de­cided to do the book to re­mem­ber those who lost their lives do­ing their jobs and in most cases, do­ing what they love.

The ma­te­rial for his book mostly comes from news­pa­per clip­pings, per­sonal ac­counts and pho­tos that his fa­ther, Al­bert Wil­liams Sr. — also a fish­er­man — had col­lected in scrap­books from 1929 to 1955 and from his own scrap­books that he started in 1961.

“It started with my fa­ther and then I started col­lect­ing ev­ery­thing about the fish­ing in- dus­try and the tragedies that hit the com­mu­nity,” Wil­liams says. “Hon­estly, I saved any­thing about the fish­ery that I could get my hands on.”

The idea to do a book us­ing this ma­te­rial ac­tu­ally started to come into fo­cus many years ago when he was at­tend­ing a cer­e­mony in Shel­burne to un­veil a mon­u­ment ded­i­cated to all the fish­er­men from the county who were lost at sea over the years.

“Re­ally, two tourists from the US heard me and an­other fel­low talk­ing about all these sto­ries and the men who were lost,” Wil­liams ex­plains. “They sug­gested that some­body should write that stuff down and keep a record of it be­fore it was all for­got­ten and that got me to think­ing about a book.”

It took years for the pro­ject to fi­nally come to­gether, he ad­mits, but now that it’s out for peo­ple to read, he’s re­lieved that it’s done but he’s proud of the book which he de­scribes as a memo­rial to the men who were lost at sea.

“This has gone way be­yond any­thing I could have ever imag­ined,” he says while quickly adding that he feels good about the end re­sult.

“It’s good to see it done,” he ex­plains. “And I couldn’t have made it hap­pen with­out the help of some key peo­ple.”

One of those peo­ple is Melda Clark, who Wil­liams says rec­og­nized the po­ten­tial of the book and helped to pull the ma­te­rial to­gether to get it ready for re­lease.

“I could not have done it with­out her,” he says. “She did a fan­tas­tic job and it never would have hap­pened with­out her.

Any­one want­ing more in­for­ma­tion on how to ob­tain a copy of the book can email [email protected]­daroacheclark.com.

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