Downhome Magazine

Memorable Day Trip

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"Great day to head up the bay!" My brother, Randy, was always excited to get away to the cabin in Ireland's Eye. I was lucky enough to tag along many times over the years. With our things together for a night or two we were off to Old Bonaventure where Randy would meet up with us. From Old Bonaventure the boat trip to Ireland's Eye would take about an hour.

With a good forecast and a calm, sunny day we're were on our way. In our glee we headed to the home of our ancestors, Toopes, Hodders, Coopers and Kelleys. Once outside the harbour we could easily view the islands, Ragged Island, Green Island, Anthony's Island and Ireland's Eye. Suddenly it seemed out of nowhere we had no visibility. Thick fog descended upon us. Not to worry! We figured it would leave as quickly as it came. Not so! Just inside Ragged Island Randy slowed the boat's engine. Moving at a snail's pace, it was soon decided to idle the boat's engine. We would do the best we could and wait and watch. After another half hour or so, it seemed the fog was lifting so Randy slowly started the engine steering towards Ireland's Eye. In the blink of an eye, the fog rested "on the water" again and unfortunately for us, it stayed.

On this late August afternoon, after another hour and the fog again lifting, we spied on our left a stretch of land we believed to be Ireland's Eye. Happily we steered close to the land and then looming to our right was another stretch of land unrecognizable to us. Realizing that in idling the boat we had inadvertently drifted into Smith Sound. We were on the opposite side of Ireland's Eye Island and the entrance to the harbour. This meant we would have to continue towards Thoroughfare and navigate through the "tickle." We knew darkness would soon settle in and unsure of the fog we continued on with much care. My brother had not navigated these waters previously so this would be a new and uncertain adventure for us all. With their daughter and myself on "Rockwatch" at the head of the 22ft open boat, we guided Randy and the boat through the narrow tickle. One of the biggest challenges facing us that day was looming before us. We both remembered our father and grandfather telling us of a treacherous shoal rock in the middle of Thoroughfare tickle and we needed to safely get past that. Somehow we did!

Then we were faced with the longer navigation past Ivanhoe and the upper end of Ireland's Eye Island. By this time the evening sky was closing in. Slowly we made our way past Traytown and finally entered Ireland's Eye harbour under a shroud of fog. This was to be our home for the next four days. The fog settled in and so did we. Our two night stay resulted in almost four. Relieved and thankful we retired to the coziness of the tiny cabin and the eery stillness in the harbour. My brother, Randy, joked about Gilligan and his three hour tour. He the wrote in his logbook and said "Stories will be told by Berdina." This is one of them!

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