An Incredible Journey: From Nova Scotia to Ireland to Lunenburg's Fisheries Museum!
By Susan Corkum-Greek
September 24, 1997: Eight-year-old Lindy Wilson was walking along the beach in West Cork, Ireland, when she spotted a piece of bright blue plastic. Closer inspection revealed it was a band of some sort but the word on the band was what really caught her eye.
Canada, it read in bold black letters. So Lindy, knowing she and her family were coming to Canada this fall, decided to keep the oddity.
She did show it to her parents and sister, who together surmised it had something to do with lobster. "It had the letters L-O-B," said Lindy's mom, Liz McMahon. They thought it was an identification band, similar to those placed on birds.
The real purpose of the tag was revealed last week when the family, residents of the county Wicklow, visited the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg. While there, they approached museum attendant Brenda Tanner.
"They said they had a question - they wondered what this was," said Mrs. Tanner, who immediately recognized the object as one of the tags used to identify the traps of licensed lobster fishermen. It had the number 32 on it, meaning district 32 along the Eastern shore, and the year 1991. "Imagine washing up in Ireland after six years!" she said. "I told the men (who operate the museum's aquarium): nobody can get over it!"
And the lobster tag wasn't the only mysterious beach find the family was able to identify during its trip. Staff at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax recognized a heart-shaped seed pod they had collected as a tropical bean.
"It's something that washes up on Sable Island from time to time and originates in the Caribbean," said Mrs. McMahon, who described Ireland as "a wonderful place to beachcomb. You find things from all over the world."
As for Lindy, she said she's glad to solve the mystery behind the blue band's purpose and plans to keep it as a souvenir of her time in Nova Scotia.
The family is visiting the province for three weeks while her dad teaches at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
"My husband was here three years ago and thought it was so lovely, we decided the whole family would come this time," said Mrs. McMahon, whose father once fished for lobsters. "But that was years ago," she said.
She and the girls learned all about the lobster fishery during a museum talk led by exhibit attendant June Miller-Stewart. They also watched as the replica HMS Rose sailed into the harbour that afternoon.