Amy Bishop has always been drawn to the water.
Whether it was scuba diving, swimming, kayaking or rowing, being on the water brought her a sense of inner peace that few things could match.
It’s not surprising, then, that when she moved to Corner Brook last year, she immediately sought out aquatic activities.
“We pulled into town (on a) Monday night, Tuesday I was in a boat,” she said.
Her passion for those sports, especially rowing, which she did competitively in St. John’s, led her to the presidency of the former Humber Valley Rowing Club. The club was reincorporated last year as the Humber River Rowing Club Inc.
No. 1 on her list of offseason tasks right now is to ensure those who want to row actually have something to row.
The club is in possession of four boats — two of which have long been unusable. The other two, which are about 80-90 years old, served their purpose, but suffered damages in separate incidents last year. One swamped during last summer’s local regatta and had the rudder torn off during attempts to pull it back to shore. The other suffered a stress crack during a winter storm that blew over the club’s storage trailer at Brake’s Cove.
Bishop is looking for someone to help repair the boats, or better yet, build new ones.
But that’s been easier said than done, as her search across the island has provided no leads.
“Basically, I’ve been told it’s a dying art and nobody wants to do it anymore,” she said.
She’s hoping someone out there still does that sort of work and would be inclined to help.
The club has been looking into fundraising and grant applications to finance the undertaking. Getting boats from St. John’s is no good because out east they row on the fresh water of Quidi Vidi Lake, so the boats are lower and prone to tipping more easily.
“We need the tanks we have out here,” Bishop said.
The club won’t know how bad the stress crack in one of the boats is until they get it back in the water, but the other boat that had the rudder torn off is a definite no-go right now.
With the club just reincorporated, the goal is to start from fresh, so new boats would be absolutely ideal, Bishop said.
There was a plan in place to get the Corner Brook Regatta promoted along with the other provincial regattas — including the annual main event in St. John’s — and Bishop believes interest in the sport on this end of the island is climbing steadily.
Now, they just need the boats.
Fixed-seat rowing is a big part of Newfoundland history, she said, so she believes there will always be an appetite for it in this province.
“Just to preserve it is a big deal,” she said. “The fact people are still so interested in it is amazing.”
Anyone able to help the club in their search for suitable rowing boats can contact Bishop at 216-8425 or comment on the club’s Facebook page, which is still currently titled Humber Valley Rowing Club, but will likely be rebranded as Humber River Rowing Club Inc. by next week.