Sunday, January 10, 2016

October 24, 2015 – Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada – Mostly Sunny – 52F

Distance from Quebec City to Halifax: 842 Nautical Miles

Here comes the sun in Halifax, Nova Scotia…

Port Background.  Halifax is the birthplace of British Canada.  The city is named after the Second Earl of Halifax, George Montagu Dunk.  Halifax has the world’s second largest harbor (next to Sydney, Australia.  Colonel Edward Cornwallis came to Halifax in 1749 with 2,500 settlers with the goal of making the town a military outpost.  Halifax is the Provincial Capitol of Nova Scotia and home to 373,000 people.  The city played a key role in the Titanic disaster and suffered its own calamity with the catastrophic munitions explosion 0f 1917.

We have a tour today at 1:00 PM but the Shorex folks want us to help out with dispatch so we have to be in the theater at 8:40 AM.  This meant setting the alarm which I wound up beating by 15 minutes.  After breakfast in the Horizon Court (an omelet today), and bringing Ellen her special room service breakfast, we met up with Shorex in the Princess Theater.  Dispatch was smooth and we were done at 9:30 AM.  This gave us the whole morning to see what the pier had to offer.

We started walking along the pier, which is a series of stores and restaurants.  The issue was the cold – the sun was out but the wind over the water made it feel very cold. 

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Yes, It’s COLD

Cunard has a terminal here and along the pier we found a statue of Samuel Cunard.  I believe that Samuel Cunard was born in Halifax.

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Another statue, down the pier from Mr. Cunard and across from the Canada Immigration Museum, was dedicated, appropriately, to those individuals that entered Canada between 1928 to 1971.

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Canada Immigration Statue

After walking in and out of several pricey stores, we went into the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market.  The Farmer’s Market is huge stretching at least two blocks down the pier.

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Farmer’s Market

The sign in the center of the bottom photo says “Eat More Lamb.  50,000 Coyotes Can’t be Wrong”

The Market was a perfect spot for grazing with samples everywhere.  I tried all sorts of jellies and some salsas.  Ellen shamed me into buying some Cranberry Chutney after I practically ate all of the chutney at one booth.

We returned to the ship for lunch.

We joined our Tour - “Peggy’s Cove and Titanic” out on the pier.  The bus had 110V outlets at each seat for charging electronics (need to bring along a charger next time).  Our guide was a school teacher so she gave us lots of interesting facts and figures about things we would see along the way.  Her information on the Titanic was spot on with the exception of a few things (did Bruce Ismay really dress up as a woman to get into a lifeboat?  Seems unlikely to me.).  Fortunately, she left out some things about the ship and didn’t mention much if anything about how Sidney Goodwin was identified.

Our first stop would be Peggy’s Cove.  The little fishing village was established in 1811 with its iconic Peggy’s Point Lighthouse finished in 1914. 

The area around Peggy’s Cove is a nature preserve.  We were able to get some pictures of the terrain from the bus.

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Enroute to Peggy’s Cove

We spent about 45 minutes at Peggy’s Cove. That gave us just enough time to snap plenty of pictures.  The weather and position of the sun was just perfect.

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The Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse Sequence

We then joined the photo collage.

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We are at Peggy’s Cove

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Looking Out Toward the Atlantic Ocean 

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Postcard Perfect

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Me and the Anchor

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Peggy’s Cove Fishing Village

A local artist worked six years to try and complete the relief below – he died before he could complete it but it is still amazing.

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The house pictured below was decorated by an artist as well.

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Our next stop was the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, home to 121 victims of the 1912 Titanic Disaster.  It is not a long drive to the cemetery and the bus was able to park right in front of the entrance.  Twilight Zone Alert – As I tried to take the picture below, my cell phone “flew” out of my hand and crashed on the gravel surface.  OK, it could have slipped but I haven’t dropped any cell phone since I got my first in the early 90s.  I am thinking that one of the Titanic Ghosts decided to make its presence know and what better way than when someone is trying to take a picture of the sign at the Cemetery Entrance.  The screen has hairline cracks (that you can’t see when the phone is in use) but it still works fine. 

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Signs at the Entrance to Fairview Lawn

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The Titanic Grave Section

The White Star Line paid for identical granite tombstones for the Titanic Victims buried here.  They all have the same “Died April 15, 1912” inscription along with the body number (the order in which they were recovered).  If someone was identified, their name is added and if families opted to put their own stone down, it was at their own expense.

The graves are all on a granite pedestal which are terraced as the graves move up the hill.  In the photos below, the headstones are uneven due to families putting their own stones in place.  The incline is clearly visible.  We were told that the graves form the shape of a ship.

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My Shadow Got in the Picture

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Titanic Graves

I also looked for graves 240 and 281, the two individuals initially slated for DNA identification.  No remains were founds in these graves, which were flooded due to their location at the bottom of the hill.  They were there, side by side.

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Bodies 240 and 281

There was also an ornate headstone for Ernest Freeman (Body 239).  What made this headstone unusual and controversial was that it was donated by J Bruce Ismay (and he made sure everyone knew).  Ismay was the owner of the White Star Line. who made it onto a lifeboat and was saved.  He was labeled a coward and had to answer for his actions during the inquiry. 

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At the top of the hill was the Monument to The Unknown Titanic Child.  When you look at pictures of the monument, you cannot get a good feel for the size of the obelisk.  It is actually quite small, maybe about three feet high.  It is at the top of the hill, which kept it from flooding and prevented degradation of all of the remains.

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Several Shots of the Unknown Titanic Child Monument

Nearby, as I knew, was the grave of Alma Paulson, Gosta Paulson’s mother.

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Back at the ship, we had dinner in the Island Dining Room.  Although not a big fan of rockfish, I thought the Blackened Rock Fish was pretty good.  I also like the double-sized Cesar Salads they bring.

We attended Showtime in the Princess Theater.  The headliner was Tom Franek – Comedian Pianist – we last saw him on Island Princess in 2010.  He is still as crazy as ever, doing over the head leg kicks and playing the piano on his back or from underneath (it’s hard to describe).  He still has the same Minnesota jokes but they are just as funny heard again. A very entertaining show.

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Tom Franek

Playing in the Piazza was Duo Angels, who I found out are from Ukraine.

In the Crooner’s Bar, David Williams was playing a wide variety of tunes.  I requested “Hallelujah” and he did a great job on it (even though, he only sang three verses).

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David Williams’ Hallelujah

A great day in Halifax…

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