In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wreck of the Joan Kielberg

At five o'clock in the morning on January 23, 1930, the four masted Nova Scotia schooner Joan Kielberg caught fire off McNutt's Island. Her crew left the burning ship, probably by life boats. They would have made for the closest shore, which was this one.  They may have landed near the lighthouse. It would be a difficult place to land without breaking up entirely. Cape Roseway, where the lighthouse stands, is edged by tumbles of sharp jagged boulders, steep vertical cliffs and pounding waves. There is a cobble beach to the west of the light; maybe the crew could come to shore safely there.The ship was carrying a load of coal from New York to Halifax.  

I imagine that the crew, wet and freezing, went to the lighthouse, or maybe to the fishermen's houses along the south west shore of the island. Maybe the lighthouse keeper saw the ship on fire and sounded an alarm and the island folk braved darkness and cold to help. I'll bet it was an exciting day for the island children.

The New York Times reported: "... at noon the charred hulk was riding at anchor in the heavy swell off Cape Roseway, McNutt Island." She was later towed into the inner part of Shelburne Harbour.  Joan Kielberg was registered at LaHave, according to the shipwreck database at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. So she wouldn't have been very far from home when she was lost. A four masted schooner in 1930 had probably seen better days. 

The image I've included here is of the Savannah, another four masted schooner, just to give you an idea of what Joan Kielberg looked like. This image is at Ship Wiki and is available for use through the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 License.

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