Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sarah Desgagnés - close approach and a Book Note

 The Canadian tanker Sarah Desgagnés made a close approach to Halifax today September 18. Coming to a stop off Chebucto Head for only a few minutes, it was soon on its way again, eastbound. It has been a while since the tanker has been in Halifax, and it was too far offshore (and in fog) for a photo today, so this March 2020 file photo will have to do.

The ship is returning from a trip to Philadelphia and I assume it came in close to shore to get into cell phone range for crew members to phone home.

Its current AIS signal is not giving a destination, but its heading is well offshore, possibly for Newfoundland or the St.Lawrence River.

Book Note

The Musée maritime de Charlevoix, in St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC has recently published a fascinating book (in French only) which is in fact two books under one cover. The village of St-Joseph-de-la-Rive is the ancestral home of the Desgagnés family, antecedents of the current Transport Desgagnés companies, and founders of the museum. It is therefore appropriate that the subjects of these two stories are the Desgagnés family over two centuries and Maurice "Jimmy" Desgagnés, pioneering schooner captain and the inspiration behind the founding family of the current company.

It will interest Nova Scotia readers to see references to trips by Maurice Desgagnés on his schooner Marie Vigilante to "Cow Bay",  Nova Scotia in 1890. This is not the present day Cow Bay, very close to Halifax, just past Eastern Passage, adjacent to Cole Harbour. That Cow Bay was named for an early settler whose name was Cowie. It has no coal (with an "a").

The Cow Bay that Desgagnés called on is today known as Port Morien and is the site of one of the oldest coal mines in Nova Scotia. (It supposedly received its name after a cow jumped off a ship into the harbour and made for land.) Desgagnés had a contract with the Caledonia Coal Company of Glace Bay and made several trip to load coal at Glace Bay and at nearby "Cow Bay". In October 1890 he opted to return to Quebec by way of the Strait of Canso rather than the Cabot Strait but encountered a severe October storm (possibly a hurricane) and ran aground. After jettisoning all of the cargo, he was able to reach Port Hawksbury for repairs.

Les Desgagnés, deux siècles en goélette du quai des Eboulements à la Terre de Baffin - Catherine Melançon // Maurice Jimmy Desgagnés et ses goélettes: une vie pour les moins aventureuse 1849-1912 - Michel Desgagnés.

Available from: La Musée maritime de Charlevoix, St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC.

ISBN 978-2-9801964-1-6, soft cover, 136 pages including a lexique (glossary), family tree, more than a dozen illustrations, including a map, general arrangement drawing (fold out page), priced at $19.95 (postage will be extra)


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