Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Stories From Red Cliff: Aloha

Red Cliff photo by the Conservation Corps Green Team 2007
Construction at the American Air Force Radar Station at Red Cliff started in 1951, and the base was operational from 1954 until 1962. The facility was one of a number of radar stations throughout North America and Greenland which were called the Pine Tree Line. The purpose of the Pine Tree Line was to act as a defence system against enemy aircraft. Gander, Goose Bay and Argentia were all part of this defence system. Their goal was to protect North America from potential invasion, and day-to-day operations at Red Cliff involved contacting and identifying all incoming aircraft to Newfoundland airspace, directing said aircraft to Gander or Torbay, facilitating distress calls and aiding the Coast Guard search and rescue efforts, and being at the ready in case of unidentified aircraft needing to be escorted or intercepted.
Red Cliff photo by the Conservation Corps Green Team 2007

Red Cliff was a semi-remote, self-sufficient base constructed on an exposed area of the coast in what is now Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer cove. When it was fully operational, Red Cliff had a contingent of between 120 and 160 military personnel and over one hundred civilian workers. Many of the military personnel came from much favourable climates, and found the harsh weather of Newfoundland to be a shock.
Red Cliff photo by the Conservation Corps Green Team 2007

This letter was found in our archives. It is from Jeremiah “Jerry” Alapai Pahukula who served at Red Cliff for 1 year and 8 months as a radar operator. During his time at Red Cliff, he met and married Ellen Margaret Roche. They were married on April 24, 1961. Since leaving Red Cliff in 1961, Jerry returned three times, and noted that “All of the buildings are gone now; site is now overgrown with bushes”.

My name is Jeremiah PAHUKULA. I am of Hawaiian-Japanese ancestry, and I live in the state of Hawaii, USA.
My wife is Ellen Margaret PAHUKULA, nee ROCHE, born and raised in Logy Bay and now living in Hawaii.
I was a member of the U.S. Air Force and my tour of duty at Red Cliff Air Force Station began on December 13, 1959. the date sticks in my mind because it was my 20th birthday.
Prior to coming to NFLD, I was stationed in California. When I got my orders to transfer to Newfoundland, I wondered, “where in the world is NFLD?” I had not heard of this New Found Land before that order to transfer there. When I did find out where it was, I thought, “wow that’s snow country.” I was not disappointed. There was snow on the ground the day that I got here. Later, throughout my first night on Red Cliff, a snow storm came. There was 6-7’ snow drifts blocking the front door of my barracks. Being the newest member of my work crew, I was assigned to shovel all the snow and clear the sidewalk to the barracks. What a cultural shock it was. From Hawaii’s sun, sand and sea to 6-7’ snowdrifts. And this was only my first full day in NFLD. I spend 20 months here.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Museum Highlights: St. John's Regatta 1926 Silver Cup

Looking through the Sports section of the museum, the dominant theme is of course the 1901 Outer Cove Crew. But Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove has a long history with the Royal St. John's Regatta that goes well beyond the championship races of 1901 and 1982.

1926 Regatta Silver Cup [999.1.1]
One item that catches the eye among the Regatta programs is a silver cup. This cup reads:


Sir William Lamond Allardyce was the governor of Newfoundland from 1922-1928. According to the program for the day, Allardyce was offering the Governor's Cup for the quickest time of the day, which came with a bonus of $20.
Lady Allardyce, Hon. W.J. Higgins and Governor Allardyce at the Regatta during Sir Douglas Haig's visit, 1942. Maritime History Archives [PF 315.318]

This cup was won by the Outer Cove crew in the Star of the Sea with a time in the championship race of 9:41:00. The crew was L. Rodgers, cox; W. Power, stroke; S. Power, D. Houston, J. Coady, N. power and M. Smart.
A hand-written note in the Souvenir Regatta Programme notes the time, the racer and the crew for the championship race.

The cup was found in the church, and Father St. John was going to throw it away when Katherine Lynch, the parish secretary at the time, asked if she could take it. Later, it was donated to the museum by her husband, Cyril Lynch.

The program for that Regatta features the caribou of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, it being only ten years since the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel. The introduction in the pamphlet reminds everyone that there are medals offered by Earl Brassey for the crew that beats the 1901 Outer Cove time, and mentions the recent retirement of the racer Blue Peter. Blue Peter II was present at this regatta.
Cover of the 1926 program. From the Digital Archives Initiative

Over the lunch hour, dory races between bank fishermen of Nova Scotia that were in port at the time were planned. An announcement for the Grand Regatta Dance for that night at Prince's Rink is hailed as "The Big Outstanding Event". At 70c for gents and 50c for ladies, the dance would feature two big brass and reed bands; The C.C.C. Band and the Mount Cashel Boys' Band, and would follow the "Old Time Regatta Proramme". As someone who loves a waltz or foxtrot, I believe this should start up again, complete with competition (and perhaps some lessons for those unfamiliar with the dances).
A Moonlight Dance sounds quite romantic. From the Souvenir Regatta Program.

As always, the Regatta is a lot of fun, and here at LBMCOC Museum, we are proud of the Outer Cove crews who have, and continue to, do great at the Royal St. John's Regatta.


The Newfoundland Tourist and Publicity Association
1926  Souvenier Regatta Programme. Available at the Digital Archives Initiative:

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Museum Highlights: Seed Sowers

A little while ago we posted an article on the museum facebook page from Decks Awash that talked about the dairying business in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. While we may all be focused on #CapelinRoll2016 and waiting for those little fish to roll on to the beach at Middle Cove, it is important to know that there is more to the area than just the fishery.
Capelin would often be caught in large quantities to be used as fertilizer for local farms and gardens. From This Way to The Grotto... 1984.

This week we turn to the agricultural history of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. A tour of Marine Drive and Outer Cove Road shows the farming history of the area, with many residents using fishing to supplement their livelihoods, and hoping every spring that they can get their small farms established before the fishing season started.

Seed sower [007.1.10]
One tool used in farming was the seed sower. There are two different styles of sower at the museum, a simple one and a more complex device.
Seeds would be inserted in the hole and would fall down through other, smaller holes along the wheel. [007.1.10]
The simple seed sower was used by filling the wheel with whatever seed was to be sown (as long as it was small enough to pass through the holes in the wheel) and pushed along the row. This style of sower had very little control, but certainly served its purpose.

This sower was donated by Jack and Fay Hickey and is showing its age and how much it was used to sow the fields.
Complex seed sower with the name Ed Thomas written on the handle. [000.6.4]

The second sower we have is a little more complex. It consists of two wheels and a small well for the seeds. Pulling a wire connected to the handle would open the bottom of the well, allowing the seeds to fall to the soil. This style of sower did not space the seeds as much as the simple one, but did allow for less wasted seed as the flow of seeds could be stopped by pushing the wire back down, closing the bottom of the seed well.
Closer view of the seed well and wheels. [000.6.4]
This sower was donated by Nicholas Roche.
Top view of the seed well [000.6.4]

Saturday, 9 July 2016

First Giant Squid Caught By Logy Bay Fishermen


Squid are strange creatures. To this day little is known about many of them, least of all is known about the giant squid. But it is a fact that the first picture of a giant squid was made possible by fishermen from Logy Bay. Before then, it was considered a creature of mythology, and the fishermen in Newfoundland that were attacked by these creatures were considered by some -- in the new age of rationality -- to be fools. This photographic evidence would serve as a photograph which "could not lie and would silence the gainsayers", according to the buyer of the squid, Moses Harvey.

A year before this picture was taken, fishermen from Portugal Cove who were manning a small boat, had cut off a couple of tentacles from a giant squid. One of these tentacles served as a meal for a dog, another 19 foot tentacle was brought to a Presbyterian Irish priest as evidence of their small battle for survival. This priest, apparently quite homesick and lost in the natural, estimated the creature to be 72 feet long. “He was known in St. John’s in the mid- and late 1800s as just being crazy after all things from the land and the sea.” says Matthew Gavin Frank, author of the 2014 book Preparing the Ghost.

The fisherman discovered this giant 27 foot long squid thrashing in their net and decided to bring it to the priest who was offering a reward of 10 dollars per tentacle. They were paid 10 dollars for the entire squid, since that was quite a lot of money back then. A dollar or two would be enough to buy a year's subscription to a newspaper.

News of the squid spread quite quickly around the world. P.T. Barnum, famous circus promoter, purportedly offered his bid for the carcass of the wild beast. Even scientists considered it to be "the problem of the giant squid".

The condition of the body of this squid was not good however it allowed Addison Emery Verrill, prominent Yale University zoologist, to produce the world's first accurate depictions of deep sea giganticism in animated form, ending millenia of superstition on the topic of "sea monsters".

Other examples of bizarre squid

Aside from the giant squid, many other strange types of squid exist of which little is known. One very bizarre kind dwells at the bottom of the ocean, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, or the vampire squid, can be found throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world at depths of 600 to 900 metres (2,000 to 3,000 ft). This habitat is known as the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) and at around 3% oxygen saturation, creatures must make very special adaptions to survive here.

One such adaption is a very low metabolic rate. They cannot swim for very long due to the weaker muscles which they possess due to the need to economize energy. The main source of energy at the bottom of the ocean comes from energy generated at the surface, falling as "rain" to the murky depths. A single dead phytoplankton cell could take ten years to make this journey, but more realistically it will stick to mucus and sand and form together in clunks. This is a major energy source for creatures at the bottom.

This means that predators of the vampire squid are quite rare, and inhabiting the very bottom of the ocean where oxygen levels are so low is surely part of its' survival strategy. However, if something comes along and attempts to eat it, it can be quite fast for a short period of time. Most interestingly, if it is cornered it can release a sticky cloud of bioluminescent mucus containing innumerable orbs of blue light which is ejected from its arm tips instead of ink -- like many creatures at the bottom, in this lightless environment, it must generate its' own light. However this is very metabolically costly and only done in extreme situations.

As you can see there are still many strange and exotic creatures at the bottom of the ocean - squid perhaps topping that list. These strange creatures, which evolved from snails, still possess a portion of their shell. This is known as "the beak" and it is strong enough to cut through human bone. That just goes to show how impressive an accomplishment this was - for the fishermen of Logy Bay to finally prove that the danger lurking at these depths was real... and formidable!

Written by Andrew Young

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Capelin and Climate Change

Capelin are what is known as an r-selected species, which means that their strategy as a species is focused on quantity or high growth rate, instead of investing heavily into any single member of their species (such as humans, whales, etc). As such, finding ideal conditions to reproduce in are fundamental in the same sense that education is fundamental to people, as a strategy.

El Niño is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific and this can affect global climates in a variety of ways. Its impact on the Atlantic is generally considered negligible as far as Newfoundland itself is concerned when we are specifically looking at surface ocean temperatures. However it does have the effect of heating up waters to the south such as in the Gulf of Mexico.

This may be important because capelin are pelagic fishes, "pelagic" is derived from Greek πέλαγος (pélagos), meaning "open sea". These are essentially fish that live near the surface of the sea but not around the coast. Therefore, climatatic events such as El Niño affect them adversely because surface ocean temperatures are the most susceptible to change.

As one could imagine, the bottom of the ocean is the most impervious to light for example, in fact it is fairly resistant to any particular variable because the surface is there to absorb most of the impact (although the species that live below the surface are heavily dependant on the surface). The surface ocean temperature has been heating up over the last hundred years or so in general, but climatic events such as El Niño could have potentially altered conditions further.

To add to the complexity of these conditions, the pelagic or "open sea" areas off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador are either one of or perhaps the only location in the entire world that has been experiencing cooling. Fish like capelin actively seek cooler waters. Locations such as this area of water that is approximately 500 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland allow these capelin the opportunity to avoid the adverse effects that El Niño and global climate change could have upon them.

Why might this area be cooling when the rest of the world is almost positively heating up? It is thought that the melting glacier water from Greenland, which is fresh water, is entering the Atlantic. This cold, fresh water - which has a tendency to rise above the warmer salt water - is weakening the warm Gulf current. These factors may have been involved in the weakening of the cod fishery in Newfoundland. The heart rate of cod fish can change drastically with temperature change of a few degrees. Cod tend to go deep into the water during the day and closer to the surface at night.

It may also perhaps affect capelin in some way. It remains to be seen how. Perhaps it is not a negative situation as far as capelin are concerned, but it is just important to understand what the unique conditions are out there so if we notice sigificant increases or decreases within this species, then we may be able to attribute these quantity changes to a particular event. This is especially important to consider as we are actually inside an event known as "La Niña", which more often than not, tends to follow El Niño. La Niña generally means cooler temperatures in the Pacific, but warmer in the Atlantic. We are in a La Niña event right now.

La Niña 

Written by Andrew Young


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Museum Highlights: WWI Bayonet

In honour of Memorial Day, July 1st in Newfoundland, this week's museum highlight features a First World War era bayonet.

Bayonet donated by Gordon Flynn [999.4.4]

Bayonets are a knife or dagger shaped weapon which is attached to a gun, typically a rifle, to create a longer reach. They bayonet is used as a last resort combat weapon, but are also used to control prisoners, check to see if a body is dead, and as utility knives.
Bayonet. Note the modifications made.

This bayonet is a Ross Rifle Co. blade that was made in Quebec. The maker's mark reads "Ross Rifle Co / Quebec / Patented 1907" and it is date stamped 3-10 (March 1910) with  a faded arrowhead in a circle which indicates ownership by the Canadian Government. The characteristic I I indicating a Mk. II is absent, instead it reads 08, and the inspection number is also 8. The crown over the inspection number is also faded. This type of bayonet was not adopted until 1908, even if the patent was for 1907, and not issued until 1910. This style is best known as the Ross Rifle 1910 Mark II Bayonet and was used by Canadian soldiers in WWI.

Top: Faded encircled arrowhead indicates Canadian Government ownership. Meaning of 08 unknown (if you know, please leave a comment), inspection mark is also faded, manufactured March 1910 (3-10)
Bottom: Ross Rifle company mark
This bayonet is heavily modified. It is rare to find one that was not modified in some way or another, usually in the reshaping of the blade. The Ross bayonets had a "butterknife" style blade, but this one has been sharpened into more of a hunting knife style point. As well, the part that attaches to the barrel of the rifle has been removed completely. The push-button/internal-spring latching mechanism for attaching it to a rifle is also missing.
Ross Rifle bayonet attached to a rifle. From Russell 2008.
Unmodified Ross Rifle bayonets. Note the difference from the bayonet in the museum's collection. From Dorosh 1999.

There is a strong likelihood that this bayonet was used more like a knife, at least at the end of its life. Such a knife is always useful in the hunting, fishing, and agriculture industries.

Donated by Gordon Glynn, 999.4.4.

Sources include:
Cahill, M.
2006    A Comprehensive Analysis of the Bayonet. One file at LBMCOC Museum.
Dorosh, M.A.
1999    Bayonets, Accessed July 5, 2016.
Russell, C.A.
2008    Canadian Model 1905/1910 "Mark II" Ross Rifle Bayonet, Identification of Bayonets. Accessed July 5, 2016.