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they that go down to the sea in mines

While we waited on the Bay of Fundy for a ferry to take us to Nova Scotia, we walked around on a little patch of shore. There were lots of sea-smoothened pieces of shale there, perfect for skipping on the waves, or for decorating a piece of driftwood.

shale (and coal) on driftwood

You see the slightly sparkly stone, four from the right end? I have another piece like that. That's not shale. We thought it might be coal, but couldn't be sure.**

Later, we were staying in an old house in the coastal town of Port Hood. The house looked, from the exterior, like it ought to be haunted. We found out it had been built by someone who had made money in coal mining. Among the setbacks (disasters, more like) were that the mines sometimes flooded. Gradually, we realized that the mines had been . . . under the sea. As Wakanomori said: they would have found coal seams in the cliffs and then... worked their way down to under-the-water.

I mean, coal mining is always scary work, but PUTTING IT UNDER THE OCEAN makes it considerably more scary. As the housekeeper at the (potentially) haunted house put it, "I don't know how hungry I'd have to be to go down into that."

A cliff (not at the same place... but representative)

Cliff, St. Croix Cove

Then at one of the northernmost inhabited points on Cape Breton, we went on a little boat out to see puffins (and did see them! I hope I can do a whole post about that trip) and other pelagic birds, and the young captain (third-generation of tour-boat operators) was telling us more about erstwhile undersea mines, and meanwhile there were seals out on the rocks, watching us.... and swimming in the water and regarding us with just their heads peeking out...

More seals at Bird Island, Big Bras d'Or

... and now I think, there is a story out there about the dangers of the mines, and flooded mines, and selkies, and when I have it worked out, I'll share it with you.

**The day after the puffin tour, we found ourselves a town called Sydney Mines, a much-boarded-up town that no longer has any mines, but that does have a fossil museum and a room given over to artifacts from the mining days. There was some coal on display, and I was able to confirm that yes, the item I'd picked up on Nova Scotia's southern coast was indeed coal. Maybe if I sleep with it under my pillow, that selkie mining story will come to me faster.

This entry was originally posted at http://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/855580.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Jul. 4th, 2017 09:29 pm (UTC)
Those are terrific photos, especially that last!

Did you get a pic of the haunted house?
asakiyume
Jul. 5th, 2017 12:57 am (UTC)
I didn't, but Wakanomori did--I'll get him to share (eventually).
dark_phoenix54
Jul. 4th, 2017 10:28 pm (UTC)
I don't think there is any way I could go down in those mines! I get prickly about being underground as it is; underwater, too, would be too much! I hope the sea never broke through and got any of the miners.
asakiyume
Jul. 5th, 2017 12:58 am (UTC)
It did, unfortunately! Hence the floods....
puddleshark
Jul. 5th, 2017 06:52 pm (UTC)
I wonder how many Cornish miners found their way there... I'm thinking of Show of Hands' Cousin Jack.

Lovely atmospheric pictures.
asakiyume
Jul. 6th, 2017 02:10 am (UTC)
I wonder! Much of the area has been settled by people from Scotland; in some towns, instead of having the second language on road signs be French, it's Gaelic.
pigshitpoet
Jul. 7th, 2017 02:44 am (UTC)
holy, holy...

; )
asakiyume
Jul. 9th, 2017 07:57 pm (UTC)
^_^
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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