Visiting Machias Seal Island to see the puffins has been on my bucket list for a while. Despite its proximity to Grand Manan, I had never been there. The island is part of a bird sanctuary and the number of visitors per day is limited. While the Machias Seal Island is owned by Canada, it is also claimed by the United States, so those visitors are split between the two countries. Tours normally sell out within a few weeks after they go on sale in the winter. In the summer of Covid, things are of course different. Visitors outside Atlantic Canada being unable to visit created openings on the tour this summer which was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. After one bad weather cancellation, we set sail this morning. Despite the fog, the puffins were so close and easy to see. I’m not a bird watcher (despite the abundance of birds around Grand Manan) but this was an incredible tour. Puffins make a weird noise, somewhere between a chainsaw and a cow, which I did not realize until we were ashore. We spent 45 minutes in a blind watching and listening to the birds. A quick sail around North Rock to see seals, and we were back to the Seal Cove wharf about 5.5 hours after we left.
I’ve worked for the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association for 25 years. It’s been a good career; there’s always something new in the fishery. I’ve gotten to know some great people both locally and across the country. I come from a fishing family; my father, brother, and brother-in-law are all fishermen. I have a strong attachment to what I do and…
This fall I read my second murder mystery set on Grand Manan. As a disclaimer, I should mention murder is pretty rare on the island as is most violent crime. I sometimes forget to lock my doors and I leave the keys in my car while at work. I still have my car but sometimes the wind will blow my door open.
That being said, I really enjoyed the story in this book. It was written by an ex-RCMP officer who, while never stationed on Grand Manan, did work a few shifts on the island. There were some inconsistencies between real life and the book (some of which he acknowledges) but I didn’t find them jarring or disruptive to the narrative. The fact it was set in the 1960s also helped in that regard. In fact, it was easy to picture some of the places and events in the book: the unrelenting fog for days springs to mind. The mystery portion was intriguing enough to keep my interest without being so tense I couldn’t sleep at night (an important component of my nighttime reading). I’d definitely recommend this book as a mystery and for its Grand Manan connection.
Fall also means a rash of birthdays with a double whammy in the middle of the month. Since their birth, my nieces have worn pink and purple which was sometimes the only way I could identify who was who. So, their birthday mittens reflected those colours. (My own pattern in Knit Picks Swish Worsted Brights Vibrant Violet and Pucker).
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A couple of weeks my Facebook feed was abuzz about a mystery novel that was set on Grand Manan. While it wouldn’t necessarily be a book I would choose to read, the idea of a book set on the island was too good to pass up.
I have to admit, I struggled to get into the book. Parts of the book (particularly the geography) are so bang on that the parts that aren’t are even more jarring. Some of the descriptions of the island residents, their values, and the fishery aggravated me because of some of the inaccuracies. About a third of the way into the book, I began to accept that while the book was set on Grand Manan, it wasn’t set on “my” Grand Manan. I started to enjoy the parts that rang true and let slide those that didn’t. I even realized that one of the things that bothered me from the beginning was actually part of the resolution. 😀
Had the book not been set on the island, I likely wouldn’t have stuck it out to the finish, but by the end I was anxious to see “who done it”. I guess in the end it “got me”.
Meanwhile, I’m in the midst of seven days of travel for work. There hasn’t been a lot of knitting time until today’s meeting, but I’m working on finishing some travel knitting that I’ve been carrying for a while, namely a sock and a dishcloth.
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Today we had the opportunity to tour the island with representatives from the provincial government’s “Buy Local” team. The purpose was to talk about our local fishery for background for future stories for social media. For me it’s always fun to play tour guide for a day, and who could resist a spring day out of the office.