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ANDREA MACEACHERN: Hanging onto summer

Two schooners aground on the sandbar near Lingan around 1935. Dawson City is the ship in the foreground.
Two schooners aground on the sandbar near Lingan around 1935. Dawson City is the ship in the foreground. - Contributed

Fall weather arrived earlier than expected

I thought it was just me who thought this summer went by super-quick until I started hearing other people making the same complaint. It could have to do with the fact that summer didn't really start until mid-July, the hot temperatures only lasted a few weeks and fall arrived rather suddenly.

Although I didn't get out and about around the island as much as I usually do during the warmer months, I still had a pretty good summer.

Andrea MacEachern
Andrea MacEachern

Except for a few day trips to Ingonish, a long weekend getaway to Margaree and a camping trip to Framboise, I spent most of my summer around home, mostly between New Waterford and Dominion.

I try to drag summer on way past the official end of the season. I do this by delaying taking my winter clothes out of storage no matter how cold it gets. I've even been known to swim well into the second week of October.

This year, the fall weather arrived earlier than expected but not without granting one last day of hot weather.

The first day of fall officially arrived and with it came sunshine and hot temperatures that enticed me back to the beautiful waters of Dominion beach.

Thankful that I hadn't yet swapped my winter clothes out of storage, I donned my swimsuit, sundress and signature beach hat, grabbed my beach towel and rushed to the sandbar to enjoy the best part of the afternoon.

A couple of weeks earlier, I went for a swim thinking I would be back again soon. However, the cold temperatures came and summer just got up and left without allowing me the chance to say goodbye.

When I arrived at the beach that beautiful fall day, it was sunny and a hot 26 C. I was expecting to see many people in the water but was disappointed that only a couple of people were wading near the edge.

The Schooner Dawson City aground on the sandbar near Lingan.
The Schooner Dawson City aground on the sandbar near Lingan.

I remembered the same thing happened last year after news spread that Hilton the great white shark was prowling nearby waters. That had to be it; three sharks tagged off Cape Breton only days earlier. I thought to myself "this must be what's keeping everyone out of the water." Not me, though.

I made my way down the beach to my favourite spot and headed for the water. It didn't take long for my entire body to go numb and for me to figure out that it wasn't the sharks that were keeping everyone onshore; it was because the water was unseasonably freezing cold.

I came all that way expecting to enjoy a nice refreshing dip in the ocean so I forced myself to stay in as long as I could hack it. I lasted 15 minutes and headed back to shore when the numbness turned to stabbing pins and needles in my feet and legs.

At least I could say I had my official close to my favourite season. I got my last swim in and could move into fall gracefully. This final goodbye helped me to officially let go of summer.

That had to be it, three sharks tagged off Cape Breton only days before. I thought to myself "this must be what's keeping everyone out of the water.

I love getting feedback from readers and one column I wrote about the remains of a shipwreck found on Dominion Beach generated some feedback and theories as to which ship it could be.

As quiet as it is now, Lingan was once quite a busy seaport with ships coming and going. One such ship, a schooner named Dawson City, ran aground near Lingan in the mid-1930s.

The schooner couldn't be saved so it was stripped down and burnt and her keel lay buried on the sandbar for many years. Could this be what resurfaced on the beach last winter? We may never know but it's certainly something to consider.

With the number of shipwrecks that have occurred in the area, it could be any number of ships but this lead is conceivable except ... what about those very old brass nails?

I've received a few leads from readers over the last few months including accounts of shipwreck debris washing up on Dominion beach several times over the years. However, until someone is able to look at those pieces, we may never know for sure.

The debris has once again disappeared deep beneath the sand and it could be years before it resurfaces to stir intrigue in another unsuspecting beachcomber out for their morning walk.

Andrea MacEachern was born and raised on the beautiful bay of Lingan. After a decade-long hiatus from the island, she returned to her roots and settled in downtown New Waterford where she enjoys blogging, writing, taking pictures, travelling, walking The Loop and spending much of her time outdoors exploring Cape Breton. If you have a story or event you would like to share, she can be reached at

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