here, there, everywhere

CBS with a Bonafide Fisherman

In At home, Canada, Newfoundland on December 6, 2004 at 7:30 pm

On the Friday of the Fisheries show in St. John’s, my producer told me to go find a big boat and do an interview with the owner.  I found Dwight Petton who had brought his new fishing trawler to the harbour.  He said to come on down and take a look and I soon found myself on the deck of the Joyful Noise.  It was shiny and clean and I had to remove my shoes before heading inside.  The whole boat was impressive from my point of view but really, what do I know about fishing vessels?  I decided to stick to what I know and so in the interview I mentioned the bit about taking off my shoes.  The rest was mostly about the instruments he had to locate the fish, what he fished for, and how far he headed out to get his catch.  The piece aired on the Fisheries Broadcast that night and when I talked to him the next evening he said that when he got to his boat that afternoon there was a long line of people waiting to check out this boat that is so clean you can’t wear your shoes on board.  How’s that for audience’s paying attention?  That was my first introduction to the power of radio, when you can actually make people “see” what they’re hearing, they want more of it.

After the weekend finished up, in which I also got to co-host a live fisheries broadcast, Dwight extended an open invitation to visit him and his family in Port de Grave on Conception Bay South.  So after my trip around the Irish Loop I decided to head out and take him up on his offer.  First, though, I stopped in a small town en route.  I’ve been staying with Andrea, a cousin of John Crosbie, the infamous politician, and the entire Crosbie family has welcomed me into their fold.  David is another cousin who’s invited me to dinners with his friends so I would get to know other locals, and he had also offered an invitation to visit him in CBS.  We sat around his log house sipping tea and talking Newfoundland history.  I ended up staying longer than intended and when I finally got to Port de Grave, Dwight was waiting and had phoned the local constabulary to find out if I had crashed on my way.  We jumped in his truck for a tour, I thought it would just be a tour of the town, but the rest of the day was spent 4x4ing around the bay and heading up to crab plants on the north end.  He parked on the causeway and ran into the factory to grab some fresh crab cakes and I was fairly certain I would be blown away before he returned as the wind was so strong it almost tipped the truck over.  We stopped at a boatyard and got to check out a boat in production.  We ended with Chinese food at a local restaurant before heading back to his town to meet his wife and kids.  Since it’s the Christmas season the homes all glowed with coloured lights and the inside of his house was no different with a giant Christmas tree in the living room.  Judging by the size and quality of the homes the fishermen must be doing pretty well.

I drove back to St. John’s after 9pm and by that point the first storm of the season was settling in.  Visibility on the highway was almost zero and I had to slow to a crawl to avoid ending up in the ditch like the other 10 vehicles I passed on the way.  Fortunately I got back safely again, dropped off the car and made my way back to the house for one more week with Andrea before heading back to Toronto.  Really, this province is so beautiful if you ever get a chance to visit you really must do it.

A boat yard in Conception Bay South.

A view of the massive scaffolding up the side of a boat in repair.

One of the bluffs we drove on during the tour.

On the northern end of Conception Bay.

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