Seagulls And Schooners

   There was plenty of down-time during our road trip. Time spent sitting sipping a beverage, with no place to be and no time to be there at. I would call it leisure time. The only real decision to be made was what and where to eat. Some places we were didn’t offer many choices, as in like, one. This was the case in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. We were there after their tourist season was basically over, and most of the eateries were now closed until next year. It was only the third week of August!! One restaurant was all they had. We spent three days there. A person can only stare at lobster dishes for so-long. By day-three, I was craving something else, and Honey’s suggestion to just stay-put and eat ‘Peanut butter’ sandwiches was not it. I was craving beef!

We drove 30km to Sydney, N.S., and ate in the parking lot outside Burger King. I didn’t say steak! I said beef!! As I ate my double-whopper and fries, I looked to the right, and there is a seagull standing staring at me. Seagulls are not in short supply in Nova Scotia, they’re everywhere. But this one stood alone and then I noticed it was missing a flipper. Not the whole leg, the majority hung straight down like a stick, beside the left leg. It just came up a foot short. I know!!… Aaaaaw, so sad, right?!?

   I have a real soft-spot for animals, and seeing this poor maimed bird standing alone, staring at me as I snarfed-down half a cow, made me roll down Ruby’s window and toss it a fry. It caught it on the fly, which was a good thing, because from above comes another gull, twice the size of ‘Foots Solo’. Letting out a war screech as it landed. This made the other four gulls, that had also seen the flying fry, land short of Solo, and take a short hop back from the larger bird. So did Foots Solo, for that matter. This Seagull was bigger and whiter than all the rest. The bird stood squarely between me and Solo, it faced the other scavengers and let out another screech, that made them back up another hop. But Solo had hopped forward to its original spot, and was looking me squarely in the eye. I let the fry fly! Bingo!! Right in Foots Solo’s beak and gone!!!

The Imperial Stormtrooper-gull went into a rage!! Squawking furiously, he charged towards Foots Solo, who immediately retreated. The large white gull slowly paced about in a circle, enlarging its perimeter while never taking its eye off me, sensing that more fries would fly. The crowd had now increased to seven seagulls, Solo included. I also noticed that a pigeon had come down to see what the ruckus was all about. I decided to sacrifice a fry as a distraction and throw it to the rear of Ruby, towards the increasing crowd. It worked, all the birds went that direction, the problem was so did Solo. Okay, maybe we weren’t as in sync as I thought we were.

   The last fry that Foots Solo got from me was pure luck. I meant to lure the Stormtrooper by lowering the fry down the car door, making him lower his head, then quickly flipping it over the gull’s head to Solo. The fry slipped out of my hand and instead of flying in an arc, it went ricocheting off the asphalt at Stormtrooper’s feet and past him right to Foots Solo, the one flippered seagull. Needless to say, Stormtrooper was some pissed. The time had come to leave, the crowd now included, three more seagulls, two more pigeons and four sparrows. I gave Foots Solo a nod, put Ruby in gear, and returned to Louisbourg.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. Sure, I hadn’t preformed an animal rescue and paid to have a robotic flipper attached to Solo’s leg, so he could live normal life, and perch on parking lot lamp posts. He seemed to be okay to me, he moved pretty quick for a one-flippered fowl. He had great balance and didn’t fall over once. I figured giving him a few fries was alright with him, and quite respectful. He wasn’t looking for pity, he was just working the lot like the rest of them. I felt I had done the animal a good deed.

   We got back to Louisbourg around 7pm, a little later than expected, because of the lengthy dinner show, but still well before sunset. The town was vacant by then, except for the one open restaurant, that was packed. To our left we could catch glimpses of the Louisbourg harbour, through the buildings on our way back to our cabin in a parking lot. I thought I saw the mast of a large sailing ship and Honey confirmed it. Not in any hurry, we drove down to investigate. There before us, sitting at anchor, was this ancient fishing schooner. It was large for a schooner, but not huge for a sailing ship. It was the Bluenose, sitting at anchor, right in front of us. There was no crowd, just a small family having a picnic dinner in the harbour park. Probably PB&J sandwiches, or lobster rolls. It was currently the only thing available in Louisbourg. Honey and I stood and looked at the vessel, then took some bad pictures.

The Bluenose is a storied ship in Canada. A working fishing boat, its captain claimed it to be the fastest schooner on the seas. Then it proceeded to beat down every other boat that tried to challenge that claim! To a Canadian, the boat is famous! A picture of the boat is on our currency! Beavers and the Bluenose, have been jingling in my jeans my entire life!! How do I know it was the actual Bluenose? Honey has an app! It gives the ‘real-time’ location of the schooner!! Later when she checked, it said Louisbourg harbour!!!

This was actually a very big deal. It was on Honey’s hoped to see list. Honey was jazzed over this sighting! Even though we were going to Lunenberg, which the Bluenose considers its home port, the schooner travels all summer long to festivals along the coast, and the chances of it being in Lunenberg at the same time that we were scheduled to be there, were very remote. Sure enough, it wasn’t there when we were. So, seeing the vessel at all, was a fluke, or was it?

   The next morning as we departed Louisbourg, we checked the harbour and the schooner was gone. Spotting the ship had been an unexpected highlight, to a day that was simply a leisure day. A day when the only decision to be made, had been to go out to eat, or just stay put and eat PB sandwiches. The decision to drive to Sydney had benefitted all concerned. Foots Solo got fries, Honey saw the Bluenose and I got beef!! Nothing but winners! Everybody happy! That’s the way every leisure day should end.









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1 Comment

  1. //

    What a great story!!

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