Craig, Roxanne, Stephen, Ian, Jake & Goldie arrived at the Blue Charm Inn by boat in the dark of a Friday night as the very last of twilight faded from the sky. For those who don’t know, Craig built the Blue Charm Inn and it is always very special to be able to share the cabin and all the wonders of the pond. The much needed rain came in on Saturday and we played many board games, started a jigsaw and in between showers, Ian and Stephen learnt to captain the boat.
We learned from experience the previous week as Nettie caught an eel at night that they can be tempted with worms from the end of the jetty. Not knowing what do with it we let it go. By Saturday we had another eel writhing in the bucket. We kept it over night while we decided whether we really did want to skin, gut, smoke and eat it. Decided not. Although we had seen eels in the lake before we never imagined the large numbers until neighbour Don caught thousands over a three week period. About 6,000 pounds of eel!
Sunday morning, Craig, Stephen, Fran and Nettie went for a boat ride up the mirror river through Tibbit’s Point into the top reaches of Mann Pond, a four mile stretch through schools of salmon. Loon parents, who pair for life and reproduce one chick per season, acted out a noisy decoy routine to distract us from their baby which was diving up and down trying to stay out of sight. A bald eagle perched on the highest dead tree kept a watchful eye on our progress up and down the river while waiting for the perfect salmon dinner. Beaver lodges and trails were in evidence but no sightings of the inhabitants. Craig, province guide and nature boy after our heart, carefully poled us through the deep waters where we saw hundreds of large salmon in layers swimming slowly as they are tapped in the deep pool unable to head upstream to spawn due to the low level and warm waters caused by this unusually hot & dry summer. Incredible sight for us, tragic for the salmon. An event not unknown to the islanders, the effect will be felt in about five years time when the numbers of mature salmon will be low. Salmon season is still closed and eventually these mighty Atlantic fish will give up and turn back to the sea passing by our cabin via the Ragged Harbour River. Amazingly salmon don’t eat until they return to the salt water.
After a delicious Jig’s Dinner cooked to perfection by Roxanne (salted meat with root vegetables and cabbage) the Topsail family returned to the Avalon Peninsula hoping for time to go into the ocean for some cod jigging on the last day of the season. We are still enjoying the big bag of codfish they brought for us. Another memorable visit.