Vacation Daze

by Don McKinnon

Radio Engineering Telecommunications Branch


"Down to the sea in ships" is a refrain that runs through my head and is, I believe, part of a line from a well known poem for mariners.


One August day while basking in the sun on the sand at St. Georges Bay, Cape Breton, I watched a helicopter leap up from the sea from a ship and would that I could utter the thoughts that arise in me - that's from another poem, Bud!


For some years now my family and I have relaxed away our vacations at Seaside, Cape Breton Island. This hamlet boasts of having the best and safest beach on Cape Breton and for more than 15 years I have taken up my position on this lovely, uncluttered stretch of sand and washed away my aches and pains in the warm waters of St. Georges Bay.


This particular day I speak of, relaxed and supine in the hot sun, I was lazily watching a large vessel cruising through the sea across my range of vision when out of her bowels leaped this crazy bird - a helicopter. No doubt doing her duty, this bird skimmed here and there with such ease that I began to take some interest in her activities. After darting from ship to shore back and forth across the water, to everyone's surprise she came and gently settled to earth near the canteen adjacent to the beach. Two mighty men from another world leapt out and ducking under the whirling blades disappeared inside the canteen.


The bird was almost instantly surrounded by every man, woman and child in the area wanting to inspect and photograph this wonder of wonders from outer space. Proudly we viewed the bright, clean Canadian flag painted on her side above the words "Canadian Coast Guard". All too soon the men returned and climbed into their wonderful bird and, while we all waved, with a mighty roar straight up she went and swiftly returned to her home on the sea.


We poor land-bound souls, clutching our cameras, slowly returned to our relaxed positions on the beach to ponder the wonders of travel by air and by sea.


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