Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rock formation at the end of Swallowtail

Not only were light houses important to navigation before Loran C and now GPS but also having precise knowledge of the coastline and various landmarks or rock formations helped mariners find their way. Around Grand Manan there are many unique rock formations, many of which are named, such as Seven Days Work, the Bishop, King Point, Southern Cross. These are so distinctive that they are often printed on the nautical charts but some are small and are not documented but are local knowledge.

There is a unique rock formation at the eastern tip of the Swallowtail peninsula beneath where the fog bell and small building (now attached to the lighthouse) were located. From a certain angle these rocks look like a woman with a baby on her back or children climbing the rocks with a dog waiting beneath them. Even if the light house wasn't visible in thick fog, if these rocks were glimpsed, the mariner would know where they were. Of course, at Swallowtail, the fog bell and later fog horn would be another clue, but most of these formations are not located at a lighthouse.
I first learned of this when I was sailing around Swallowtail with one of the older fishermen. He pointed out the rock formation and had described it as a woman with a baby, but it was later described as a girl and a boy, a boy with a backpack, etc. The dog, however, is always the lower rock.

Next time you are travelling on the ferry, look for these rocks. They can only be seen from certain angles.

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