Final Voyages 51 results

Pop’s Pride – Part III

On September 6, 2016, the 22-foot fishing boat Pop’s Pride left port in St. John’s Newfoundland between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. with four fishermen onboard. Three of the men were from a single family. The fourth was a family friend. All were from Shea Heights, a tight-knit community within the city limits of St. John’s. As the men hauled their nets that morning, winds increased to approximately 30-32 knots (56-60 kilometres per hour) along with seas of two metres (six feet). It appears the ...

Pop’s Pride – Part II

Three members of one fishing family, along with a family friend, all from Shea Heights-St. John’s, N.L., went fishing on September 6, 2016 in a 22-foot open boat. When Eugene Walsh, his son Keith and Keith’s son, Keith Jr., along with Billy Humby, had not returned by early afternoon, family members and friends became concerned. Winds had increased to 25–30 knots and waves reached six feet high outside the St. John’s Narrows — not good conditions for a small boat. This is Part II of ...

Pop’s Pride

Sonya Walsh didn’t hear her husband Keith get up on Tuesday morning, September 6, 2016. Neither did she hear the alarm clock that always woke Keith. She didn’t hear her husband and their son Keith Jr., age 18, having breakfast and chatting before they left the house at approximately 5 a.m. to go fishing. Ordinarily, 36-year old Sonya would have merely dismissed her deep sleep that morning as nothing more than extreme tiredness, but events later that day makes her wonder about some ...

Survivor Extreme – Part V

After surviving a brutal trek over a mountain through snow and ice, a partially frozen river and ice-covered rocks in bare feet, Dave Barnes eventually made it to the relative comfort of a small cabin located on Ten-Mile Bay, south of Nain, Labrador. For a while, it seemed the remainder of his journey home would be in relative comfort compared to what he suffered in the previous nine hours. But comfort would prove to be elusive. This is Part V of “Survivor Extreme” The cabin on Ten Mile ...

Survivor Extreme – Part IV

Following the sinking of the tug Sea Alert just south of Nain Labrador in the fall of 1995, Dave Barnes faced what most would find insurmountable odds to survive. After swimming a mile in freezing water, he managed to make it to land but a mountain lay between him and safety. He climbed the snow-covered mountain in bare feet and finally made it to a small shack on the Labrador coastline. But surviving the night would be a major struggle. This is Part IV of Survivor Extreme.   F...

Survivor Extreme – Part III

On Wednesday, November 1, 1995, an 85-foot tug struck a rocky shoal about 10 miles south of Nain, Labrador. The Sea Alert sank within 10-12 minutes. The captain and two other crewmembers were lost with the vessel. The engineer, 30-year old Dave Barnes made it off the boat, but his journey to survival defies logic and some would say also defies medical science. This is the continuation of Survivor Extreme.   After two agonizing hours swimming and paddling a wooden crate-like raft ...

Survivor Extreme – Part II

On November 1, 1995, a tug with four men onboard, struck a rock in waters approximately 10 miles south of Nain, Labrador. Within a few minutes, the severely damaged Sea Alert sank. One man, engineer Dave Barnes, managed to get off the ship. His struggle to survive over the next 16 hours is almost incomprehensible. This is the continuation of Survivor Extreme.   When Dave ran from the engine room to the deck, he saw his three shipmates, Eph Skinner, Dave House and the tugboat’s ...

Survivor Extreme

Northern Labrador was a very busy place in 1995. The huge Voisey’s Bay nickel development was starting to swing into full gear in a remote part of the Labrador coastline just 21 miles south of Nain, the most northerly major town in Labrador. The early signs of winter are obvious in that region by late October with snow on the ground and ice forming along the coastline, while many ponds and lakes are often frozen solid. Marine shipping is crucial for the transport of nearly everything in ...

A Red Sky at Morning — Part II

(Above) John Gillett sitting on the deck of his house in Twillingate during an evening of story telling, 2014  On October 28, 1971, John Gillett and his friend Clarence Oxford were turr hunting when John had a sudden premonition of impending danger. His strange feeling was strong enough for John to suggest they should turn around and head for home in Twillingate. It was a calm morning and turrs were plentiful, but Clarence knew the forecast called for strong winds in the afternoon so ...

A Red Sky at Morning

Like most veteran fishing skippers, John Gillett has plenty of good yarns to spin about his many years on the water. Some are funny, some are about boats loaded to the gunwales, some are about bad years and others are about close calls — all are interesting. A few years ago, I had the opportunity one evening to sit and chat with John on the veranda of his home in Gillesport/Twillingate on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. Overlooking Twillingate Harbour while sipping a cup of tea ...