Friday, February 13, 2009

PhotoHunt Saturday - Nautical

I took this photo during a visit to Woody Point, Bonne Bay, Newfoundland for the Writers at Woody Point event in 2007 and thought it was a good fit for today’s PhotoHunt theme - nautical. My faithful traveling companion, cousin Deborah, and I were staying at the lovely summer home of her city neighbours, Jane and Jerome Jesseau. Pictured in the photo within the photo is Dr. R. Dove, Jane’s father, next to his boat the Marailsa on the slip. I asked Jane if she could tell the story about her father and the boat, and here it is in her words:

The boat was a 35-foot cabin cruiser, with a 25 H.P. Gray Marine engine capable of making seven knots. She was built by Bill Ryan of Norris Point in the early 40's. My Dad called her the MARAILSA which was a blend of my Mom's two names, Margaret and Ailsa (Scottish).

Dad had lots of seafaring experience, having accompanied his Uncle, Capt. Bob Bartlett on at least four trips to the Arctic. He did so as a summer student while attending medical school at Dalhousie in Halifax. In 1939 he became the first doctor in Norris Point, and that year construction of the Cottage Hospital began.

In 1940, after their wedding in Harbour Grace, Mom joined Dad and worked along side him doing lab work (translate - taking blood for analysis and x-rays) among other things as she had a BSc. in Biochemistry.Very quickly they realized many of the communities in Bonne Bay needed medical help so Dad bought the MARAILSA which became their mode of travel, thus reaching Lomond, Glenburnie, Woody Point... I'm sure she also served as a means to "get away" from the busy 24/7 medical practice which existed in those days - no medicare then!!

And there were no Dove babies yet, Mom & Dad were accompanied on their runs around the Bay by their two Labrador Retrievers, Peter & Patch - one black the other yellow. Of course, in winter the mode of travel changed to a motorized toboggan which the local, ingenious people made so Dad could cross the ice and get to his patients.

But the chore, just before Christmas that faced Dad was getting the MARAILSA out of the water for winter. The bay would freeze solid in those days. The last boat to come out of the water was the Doctor's. And so, a few bottles of rum to reward the men would be purchased prior to the day. The slip was ready and greased the boat cradle in the water and the boat was gently edged into it. Attached to the cradle was a long heavy rope and a crowd of about twenty men would gather. Lead by Byrant Harding, the men would spread themselves along the rope and, with Byrant leading the singing of the song 'The Jolly Poker', they started to haul and up she came. Finally she was in position on the slip and would remain there until she was put off the next spring. All hands repaired to Bryant's house where they each had a good tot of rum (or several tots) as a way of thanking them...never had any trouble getting men to help with that task!

I have hazy memories of Dr. Dove from when he moved his practice to Corner Brook and became our family doctor when I was a small child. I remember visits to his office with my mother who was being treated for a relapse of rheumatic fever after the birth of my brother. Come to think of it, he probably delivered my brother and me. I also have a memory of him sitting in a chair next to my brother at the barber shop when my brother was small enough to be sitting on a booster seat in the chair. Dr. Dove chatted with my brother as they were both having their hair trimmed.
Please visit . Thanks go out to tnchick for herding all the participants!


  1. what a wonderful photo and a such fabulous story to go with it. Happy PhotoHunt and Valentines Day to you. Judith

  2. Good post.
    I knew a young Dr. Dove back in 1967 in Wales.

  3. Dr. Dove Sr. also had a daughter, Sue, who followed her Dad into the profession. So, along with the one you knew, there were at least 3! I think it's such a lovely, gentle name for a doctor.

  4. Great take on the theme. I love the name Dr Dove. Happy weekend

  5. That's a great shot -- and it's so nice to have the story to go along with it.

  6. Nice photo and interesting little story to go with it.

    I enjoyed stopping by your blog. My Garnadparents are from Newfoundland and my Dad was born there. I still have lots of family there. My aunt was also born there. I haven't ever been, but it is a dream of mine to go there to see where my is from.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!