Sydney Nova Scotia and the Coal Mine

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We were already docked in the Maritime Metropolis of Sydney when we got up. Looking over the ships railing was the enormous fiddle (rather like Vegreville's Easteregg) The only plans we had were a vague idea about going to see the Miner's Museum. We stopped at the information desk in the port and the nice old sailor behind the desk said he didn't know how to get there! Hopefully he had more helpful information for others ! Anyway I did some quick googling and found the city bus terminal, found out we had about three minutes to get there and get the once an hour bus to Glace Bay. So our 55 min long bus ride with lots of colorful Nova Scotians took us thru lots of rolling country side and a few communities and finally we arrived in the famed Glace Bay. Then we had a good 20 min brisk walk uphill to get to the museum. By now I was definitely getting Mike's 'this better be good' vibes!!
Well it was!! We took a tour down into the mine... Waaaaay down with a retired miner, who told us lots of heart tearing stories of the ways of life of the miners in the 30's. We heard about the pit ponies (the horses that hauled the coal that spent their whole life underground) the 10 year old boys forced to 'replace' their fathers once their fathers got hurt or killed in the mine because really the men were slaves to the mine owners. The mine owners owned the homes, the stores, the schools etc. Then if you owed too much you were given the worst jobs in the mine. So the men with the most mouths to feed often had the most terrible jobs - like standing in cold water all day to pick out the coal when a seam had flooded. We learned about the little canaries in the tiny cages on the end of a stick that told if there was a build up of methane gas. These little birds went home with the miner each night ( if they survived another day). See photo of the canary cage and the pit pony.
So anyway, we endured the tour for about 90 min in a shaft approx 4 1/2 ft tall - our backs throbbing. But none of us complained - us nor the 17 grade 12 students we were with, as we thought of the miners spending their whole working life bent like that. At one time the miner turned off his lamp and of course it became pitch black - just showing us another if the terrors of the mine. Not to even think of the fear of rats the horror of fire and the ever present dangers of injury with no WBC and no accountability.

Then we took the same bus back ... Groan ... Some things are just chalked up to experience!

Once back in Sydney we walked about the downtown a little at our leisure now that we weren't running to catch buses - even found an awesome shoe store where we both got some new footwear. Mike said he had completely wore his right out and left his old ones there in the garbage! That tells you how much walking we've been doing! Sailaway was a pretty again and we had some fun memories as we glided passed Celebrity Summitt.

Again we've been completely pampered by our awesome dining staff. Olena and Olex cater to us hand and foot. Godwin and Gerosso check on us each night. In the International Cafe, Yulia is there immediately to get Mike a diet coke and me a latte! It's gonna be hard to get back to reality one day sooner than later. But we sure are enjoying well it lasts.
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Comments

Judy on

Think we have some of the same memories of the Summit as you do.
Enjoying your blog.

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