Cape Breton People: May 23 - 27

Steve, Dean, and Chris fish lobster on the boat Kaplie'L in the background. Kaplie'L is Mi'kmaq for Gabriel, like the angel. They are all Mi'kmaq or Micmac, native Nova Scotians.

Jo Ann is a Lobsterwoman. She is originally from Liverpool, Cape Breton. She fishes out of Ballast Ground Wharf in North Sydney, Cape Breton.

Johnny, the skipper of the Rodderick Rose kisses a codfish, and so do I. Cod often end up in the lobster traps. It might seem like a strange seagoing tradition or superstition, but I believe it is a sign of reverence to the giving sea and the sacred codfish.

Don, a former bus driver, moved to North Sydney a decade ago. He has been working to make his boat, which is drydocked at the Ballast Ground Wharf, seaworthy. He plans to be in the water by the end of lobster season.

Erin, the barmaid at Dooly's, is used to settling down patrons. She sees many Newfoundland truckers waiting for the ferry, students from the off-shore oil rig school, and some other rowdy customers.

Some patrons of Dooly's catch a cab at the end of the night.

The 'chip truck' is run by Georgy Scott. It has several names - Georgy's Fries, Scotty's, Scotty's Chip Truck - but everyone knows it as 'the chip truck.'

Derek and Lorne, North Sydney publishing entrepreneurs, discuss future plans at the table.

Larry is a former Royal Canadian Navy boxer, a notably-published photographer, and the bartender at the K of C.

Jimmy is of Sydney Mines, he stops in for one at the end of a long shift on the Newfoundland ferry.


Louis and Mr. Buttons again. Louis, I heard, ran a community center and among other things is a writer.

I talked to Andrew, in the foreground, several times on the sidewalk in North Sydney. He was in town for a maritime school and is headed back to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the bus.
Is that bus conductor step dancing? (I love Cape Breton.)

An alternative to the bus; hitching a ride to Halifax, Nova Scotia near the Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Tim Hortons.

The MacMullins of North Sydney. I love these people.


Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island: Sunday, May 25

A moose antler near the North River Bridge on the Cabot Trail.

On top of Cape Smokey.

Sitting where a
river meets a brook
sitting where a
river meets the brook
meets the ocean
on Cape Breton
sitting near a pile
of moose bones
sitting near a grove
of uprooted trees
in high brown grass
mashed by snow or
tide or moose
the brook is babbling
and bubbling and
this place is trying
to show me something
and asking me to listen
what, I wonder, will I
hear or will I see a
moose a bird or just
these skies and trees
above me

A cove north of Ingonish on the Cabot Trail.

In a cove north of Ingonish.

A point between Neils Harbour and Ingonish.

A wharf in Ingonish.

Me and my truck, my mechanical horse, at Ingonish.

Car surfing on the Englishtown Ferry.


Lobstering in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Charlie unties the bow of the Rodderick Rose.

Charlie and Sheldon cut bait while John, the skipper, fixes the trap pulley on the way out to the lobster lines from the Ballast Ground Wharf.

Charlie with the gaff, snagging 1 of the 275 traps of the day.

Up comes a trap.

The lobsters are pulled from the traps. If they are too small or females with eggs under their tales they are thrown back. The lobsters that are kept are divided into two sizes; "market" and "shack."

The traps are set in strings of 15. The strings that didn't do well are pulled and reset in other areas. Here Sheldon prepares pulled traps to be reset.

A trap plunges into the sea as Charlie and Sheldon reset a line of traps.

The crew works nonstop the entire 12 hours they are out.

After the claws are band, Sheldon checks for eggs one last time before they are placed in the tank.

The head (water closet) on the lobster boat is small, and with your gear it is often hard to close the door. Charlie laughs that Sheldon doesn't care much about privacy.

Most of the lobstermen know each other and say "How are ya buddy?" throughout the day.

Some fishermen talk about the lobster catch towards the end of the day.

The last trap, what Charlie says he looks forward to all day.

Everyone cleans up on the way back to the wharf.

The skipper, Johnny talks to an old timer back at the dock.

Jamie strings lobster crates. The lobsters are stored in crates in the water awaiting shipment.

Teresa from the wharf's lobster shack shows off one of the big ones.

Shipping out the lobsters.

More of North Sydney, Cape Breton

Fifteen dollar boots, and they're made in Canada.

Emily and her dog Abbie. No milk today. Deliveries are Mondays and Thursdays.

The ferry from North Sydney to Newfoundland.

The Tom Fun Family Orchestra at Rollie's Wharf in North Sydney, Cape Breton.
I met the lead singer, Ian, the night before during the fiddle circle at Rollie's.
I turned to the table next to me and saw Ian, Aaron and Meg. I think asked them something like, "Do you mind if I join you?" Ian said, "Well, it's just like that is it?"


North Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sunset on the way into North Sydney.

JoJo MacNeil jigs at Rollie's Wharf, a restaurant and lounge, during the Thursday night fiddle circle. MacNeil is also a Cape Breton fiddler.

Louis and Mr. Buttons.

A lobstering boat dry docked in the backyard.

Steve is a lobsterman and a native of Nova Scotia, a Mi'kmaq (Micmac).

Graves at a seaside cemetery in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia.