Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney was first settled in the early 1600's, with the first coal mine in all of North America opening in 1620.  In the early 1700's, an Italian by the Anglicized name of John Cabot, forged a trail in the Cape Breton area of Nova Scotia, outside of Sydney.

Sydney really began to develop shortly after the American Revolution due to the emergence and development of its steel industry.  A few decades ago, the coal and steel industries fell on hard and mismanaged times, and eventually shut down.  Life was not easy for the inhabitants for awhile, but a burgeoning tourism industry,mwith an influx of summer travelers to take in and hike the Cabot Trail, helped transform Sydney into a once again productive and viable area.  

Sydney, as with most of the Nova Scotia province, has a long heritage of Scottish and Irish immigrants. Here on Cape Breton, Gaelic is still spoken regularly and many road signs are in both English and Gaelic.  

Today, besides a booming tour industry, lobster and crab fishing is a big business during the summer season, and logging takes over during the winter months. It is very common for families to fish in the summer and log in the winter. Most logging is spruce, and individuals sell to the paper mill.  For fishing,the only way to get a license for lobster is to purchase one from another fisherman who is no longer going to fish, or to inherit it from a family member, as the government no longer offers new licenses.  A lobster license, if purchased, will run you about $100,000.  A snow crab license will run you $1,000,000.  That's not a mistype.

Coming up over the next few days, we've got Halifax, St. John, New Brunswick, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport.  Then, and only then do we get two wonderful sea days in a row.  I live for my sea days.  They're the best days!

We had a possible chance to see the northern lights a few nights ago, but alas they did not materialize.  But there was a beautiful full (or nearly full) moon last night and its shimmering silvery glow woke me up early this morning, hanging just outside my balcony.  It wasn't a bad way to wake up. I'll take that any day.

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