May 12th, 1897
At Apple River:
An Extract from My Diary.
One would naturally think that the name Apple River, was derived from the fact that apples grew there in quantities, but it is not so, I very much doubt if Apple River can boast of one apple tree either cultivated or wild. The name comes from an altogether different source. Years ago an apple laden vessel was cast ashore, at this place, hence the name. Like all other villages in Cumberland, Apple River exports a large quantity of lumber, particularly boards and deals. At this time there were three vessels loading beside ourselves, two were small wood boat schooners, about 90 tons, the third a new American three mast schooner on her maiden voyage. I speak of these vessels now, but I will tell more about hem later on. But to return to my first impression of Apple River. In the mist that surrounded us, I was unable to form a very favourable opinion. The bluffs seemed a different rock than further down the bay; on a long point stood the light house and other buildings, the only ones in sight. We had anchored almost opposite the steamboat wharf where the Government Steamer leaves the supplies for the light house, which building was almost over our heads. The wharf was a rude structure, built of unhewn timber. High rocks composed the beach, surmounting these, the high bluff, broken only in one place, where the road come down to the steamboat landing, and crowning this the unbroken forest.
The sight was fascinating on account of its wild simplicity, a wildness that is seldom found on this side of the Bay of Fundy. Exactly at sunset, the lamps in the light house were lit, and the bright soft glow piercing the mists made a sight not easily forgotten. Our vessel never looked so pretty riding at anchor since as she did that misty night at Apple River. I wished to remain on deck the first part of the evening, but none of us dared to slumber. Our Captain told us of various exploits of his at this same port, years previously and soon all were joining in the sport. It was late that night when I sought my berth and later when sleep visited my weary eyes. At length I awoke with a start, we were moving up the bay. This at first did not surprise me for it was our intention to go up with the flood tide. But let me say here, that no vessel can proceed up the river without a tug boat and I soon discovered we were unaccompanied. Our vessel not having enough chain, had proceeded to drift up the river, we soon stopped her progress however and lay once more at anchor. But hark! What a noise! It pierced the flying fog and was borne away on the howling gale. Then I solved the mystery. It was the fog whistle on Light house point that had disturbed my peaceful slumbers, every five minutes this deafening roar broke the silence of the still night air. I again retired to my cabin and when I woke next morning we were waiting for our cargo at Apple River. The methods of loading lumber are always the same so I will not describe the process, I will simply describe a few things that I saw there. The next forenoon the captain wishing to show me the sights of the place accompanied me to a place called the flats, where miles and miles of sand lies bare at low tide. There is a great contrast between this sand and the marble beach at Eatonville. Not a pebble could be seen, nothing but sand resembling cornmeal. I wrote my name in it many times and waited for the little ripples to wash the writing away. Then our captain bade me "quit my childish play" and go with him where blue-berries grew abundantly, for which he had brought a small dish, when we arrived at the place not a berry was visible, not even a bush. I said that we were not so fortunate with blueberries as gooseberries, and he suddenly became aware that it was Sunday and he must return to the vessel. Regretfully I followed the captain, but he was either angry or had other business to attend to for unfortunately he never accompanied me ashore a gain. Long wharves and saw mills are not very interesting to a sailor, for he sees them in most ports. We made a few enquiries about the quantity of lumber shipped per year but none seemed to know the exact amount. There are usually one or two vessels load ing all the time in summer months, they informed us and that was all. Anyhow a great deal of timber must be cut in a year, and a great quantity remains to be utilized. One day after our work was done, we all sauntered down to the light house for the purpose of inspecting the light and steam whistle. Unlucky moment that we stopped to pick a handful of wild cranberries in the sight of the buildings. We had not the slightest thought of incurring Mr. Lighthouse-keeper's displeasure, but unfortunately for us we did, and we were compelled to leave the premises without a glance into the interior of either building. We stayed long enough however, to see girls and women with pails picking the little offenders. Half satisfied we marched back to the vessel.
We saw some girls dulsing and ventured to ask a man near the wharf a few questions about that product. He said in a certain spot in the river, dulse grew from ten to twelve feet long, this was quite a stout story so we ventured a few questions about berries, his answer was almost as exciting, he knew of a spot that we could fill our boat in an hour, he even ventured to tell us where it was, but we did not care to go so far. On Saturday we prepared to leave for another port, the name of which I will not give. When we were just outside the harbor, a tug boat came down the river towing two vessels, one a wood boat the other the three mast schooner that I spoke of before, both were lumber laden, and level with the water while we carried hardly more than ballast. The three mast schooner was nearest the tug and the wood boat in the rear. For the benefit of the readers I will say a few words about the wood boat. She was without topmasts and the fore mast was placed in the bow, like a small sail boat, thus leaving her without a jib boom, we seldom see such vessels where there are no lumber to be shipped, which is why I describe her. But a curious thing was happening at the light house. Just as the vessels were opposite the light, the Union Jack waved proudly on the morning breeze, this was saluted by the tugboat, then the old flag lowered to half mast, then hauled to its old position. The tug boat again saluted and again the performance was repeated. The tug again saluted our National Banner. By this time the vessels were beyond the point and the tug signaled for the wood boat to let go, this she did by casting off an enormous hawser that connected the two vessels. Then followed an exciting chase. The three master was putting on sail after sail and the tug soon towed her far from us sailing vessels. The hawser belonged to the wood boat, and was being dragged off by the stranger vessel, this was enough. In less time that it takes to tell it, a man had put out from the wood boat in hot pursuit. For a mile the race seemed on the side of the schooner, but after that the boat speedily gained, and it was not long before the man in the boat rowed back to his vessel tired if not happy. We had a fair breeze and it was not long before both vessels were lost to view and we were heading down Cumberland bay. By this time I was better acquainted with the coast which proved less interesting than a week before. At noon we were heading up the Bay of Fundy and in a few hours Scotts Bay was in sight. But Old Diary by telling you about the places up the bay, I begin to realize I am no longer at Apple River and Minas must go on another page. Hoping you are not weary I will close as the pencil falls from my weary hand. Good Night. Yours Truly,