Fog is a part of our life here in newfoundland, especially on the East Coast. Many of us have had our share of fog adventures, either on the water, while driving on our highways or in the country on the open barrens.
The following stories are from my life , friends, relatives and from our visitors. Please feel free to e mail your story.
The trip to my Grandmother’s funeral.
My grandparents, on my mother’s side of the family, lived in Marystown. I recall, back in 1967, getting a call at work .that my grandmother had died and that my grandfather was in hospital in a coma.
Apparently, they were to the general store for groceries and had gotten a ride home. he was sitting in the back of a pickup truck on the side panel. When the truck stopped at their house, he fell and struck his head. My grandmother, when seeing him on the ground and not moving, died.
It was one of the worst calls I had ever received, up to this point in my life. We left that evening to drive The Burin Highway. It was the old gravel road. I recall we were in the area just before Swift Current. The fog was so thick that it was hard to see the tail lights of the car in front and hard to see the shoulder of the road. We were crawling along doing maybe 10 mph. Trying to find a place to pull over was difficult. We knew the highway but there were no lights. After what seemed like hours we saw a light flicker in the window of a house in Swift Current. It’s amazing what a little light can do to arouse your adrenaline. We were only a few miles from Jack Beck’s where we would stop until the fog lifted. It was morning before we continued our journey to Marystown.
Note: My Grandfather was in a coma and he passed away about a week later
Lost o the barrens
Trouting or hunting were two of my favorite outdoor activities. Truting still is! Most saturdays were spent, during trout’n season, either in the Split Rock area on The Witless Bay Line, behind the towers in Holyrood or across The Salmonier River. We, my friend and my young son, would decide on Friday night where we would go trouting early the next morning.
On this particular Saturday, my friend had to work so my young son and I headed for Split Rock. We walked about an hour to one of our favorite fishing areas. There are a lot of ponds in the area and we had a circular route that we often traveled that took us near the wilderness area . We had a pretty good day, it was getting late, it was time to walk out to the car. Then the fog rolled in and we lost the path to the main trail. It wasn’t too cold so I wasn’t concerned about our safety but I knew that my wife would be worried. We walked, I guess in circles for awhile, we strained to hear the sounds from the vehicles traveling The Trans Canada but the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. A compass, did I have a compass in my knapsack. I had been lost before and made sure I had a compass with me. Now, I very seldom used a compass as my sense of direction was good and if I had to use a compass, I had to admit to my son that we were lost.
Well we were only lost in the fog..an ego boost. I found the compass, took a bearing that we knew would lead us to Witless Bay Line and began walking. You have to trust your compass! After about a half hour we could hear the cars and trucks on The Trans Canada. Finally, we hit the trail that led to Split Rock. It was a good day!
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Fog on The Grand Banks
My father spent a couple of seasons, fishing from a dory, on The Grand Banks. They would sail to the banks on schooners and launch their dories to jig for cod. He told us stories about his trips, especially the difficulty of getting back to the schooner when the fog rolled in. The fear of being capsized by larger vessels that couldn’t see those small dories in the fog.
Tuna fishing in the fog.
One of the pleasure paying jobs I had as a teenager was as a mate on the tuna boat Ashtar, We were among the many tuna boats that cruised Conception Bay in search of blue fin tuna. Hooking and lading one of those giants was a fisherman’s dream.
i recall one sunny morning, we left the wharf at about 8:00am and headed down the bay towards Topsail. We ran into a bank of fog. It was a thick fog that was down on the water, It would eventually burn off but we had to be careful not to run aground. We kept doing soundings. When the fog cleared we were about one hundred feet off Chamberlains beach.
On this particular day, we hooked and landed one tuna.
Chamberlain’s Beach with an oil rig and Bell Island in the background.