As usual, I woke up early the next morning. I assumed, no one had pressed the red button, or if they had, Nova Scotia had been spared. I got dressed and grabbed my camera to go out and do some shooting. I knew I’d have a few hours before Lori and Chris were up and ready to go out for breakfast.

Despite gray skies and heavy fog, I set off on my bicycle back toward town. On the way to the motel, the night before, I had noticed a side road that looked liked it would lead to the coast where I would surely find some photographic fodder. I was not disappointed. The road led to a harbor of weather beaten buildings and derelict boats. For these subjects, the less than ideal weather, worked in my favor, adding a sense of foreboding and mystery.

As the sun rose in the sky, the fog began to lift. Satisfied with the images I had made, I was ready to head back to the motel. The great thing about touring on a bicycle is that you can stop the moment something catches your eye, like orange fisherman’s gloves hanging from a clothes line. As I was taking the shot from the side of the road, a woman appeared at the screen door, looking a little puzzled. I lowered my camera and pointed to the gloves. She stuck her head out the door, looked at the clothesline, nodded in acknowledgment and went back inside.

I stopped once more to photograph two men laying fish out to dry and two other men talking next to a forklift. While the people I meet were gracious they all seemed a bit melancholy.

Later, while having breakfast at a restaurant we learned that four teenagers, two boys and two girls, had been swept out to sea the night before. The couples had climbed out onto the rocks at Forchu lighthouse to watch the waves during the height of the storm. All four were from Yarmouth and had just graduated from high school.

Being a small town, the tragedy struck Yarmouth hard. Much of the population was related in some way to one of victims or had known at least one of them. Suddenly, we felt out of place, vacationing in a town in mourning. We decided to return to Bar Harbor on the next ferry. From there we would head North to Acadia National Park.


Orange fisherman

Orange fisherman’s gloves hanging on a clothesline, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Let’s delve into the archive once again. Like any photographer that’s been shooting for a quarter of a century, I have a lot of photos, and as the cliché goes, “Every picture tells a story.”

One summer, while visiting my friend Pete, in Maine, my wife Lori, Brother-in-Law, Chris and I, decided to drive to Bar Harbor, and take the Blue Nose Ferry over to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The name Blue Nose comes from the nickname for people from Nova Scotia because they eat so many blueberries. The term also means: a person who advocates a rigorous moral code. The Original Blue Nose was a Schooner built in 1921 as a racing ship but when it wasn’t racing it worked as a fishing vessel, gathering scallops and other seafood.

We parked our car in Bar Harbor and rode our bicycles into the cavernous belly of the ferry. Once on board, we where told by a crewmember to tie up our bikes securely, a hurricane was coming up the coast.

As we made our way across the ocean, the weather continued to worsen. Increasing winds made for spectacular waves and sheets of sideways rain. We had not considered the possibility of a hurricane when we planned our excursion. Spending the night in a tent was out of the question.

After landing in Yarmouth, we unloaded quickly, donned our rain gear, and rode to the Visitor’s center hoping to find lodging for the night. After several phone calls we were able to book a room in a motel not far outside of town. We set off on our bicycles, arriving at the motel just before dark.

Once safely in our room, we turned on the television. A special news bulletin had pre-empted the regular programming. There had been a Coup in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev was missing! My first thought was, “Who has control of the Button?” You know, The big red button that will initiate WWIII bringing about a nuclear Armageddon? “Damn, I can’t even go on vacation without the world blowing up!”

There was nothing I could do about the situation. I turned off the t.v. and crawled into my sleeping bag. If the world was going to end, let it end while I’m asleep!

To be continued……