Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ode to Captain Molly

The Bay of Fundy lost a seafaring pioneer recently: Captain Molly Kool, passed away at age 93. I didn't know Molly personally but, as a youth, I remember being captivated by her story in a book of famous Canadian women. You see, at age 23 - 70 years ago!! - Molly became the first registered female sea captain in North America.

Molly grew up in the Bay of Fundy village of Alma, New Brunswick, where she learned a love of the sea and sailing from her father, a Dutch ship captain. At 23, she made history by earning the title of captain, after the Canadian Shipping Act was rewritten to say "he/she" instead of just "he".

Captain Molly certainly blazed a trail in a career then dominated by men. I'm not sure how many women have since chosen the life of sea captain but she certainly made a Fundy-women-can-do-anything impression on one young Bay of Fundy girl: me.

Her ashes will be scattered on our Bay...


David de Jong said...

Hi Terri

I love your blog

I'm considering grad school at a city near the Bay. The Bay is one of the draws for me. Can you tell me if it's safe to swim in the waters around St. John? The only info that I could find regarding water safety was the city dumps six Olympic-sized swimming pools of raw sewage every 24 hours.

I'm a pretty hardy (avid Lake Ontario swimmer), but that sounds daunting. Does one simply need to catch at the right time, so that the sewage is moving away from the beach, and not towards?

have a great day!


Terri said...

hmmm that's a good question, David. yes, well, embarassingly enough it's not uncommon for cities and towns to dump sewage into the water on the east coast...this includes also Halifax which has only recently begun to treat.

The one 'good' thing about the Bay of Fundy is the twice a day tides...a 'flushing' of sorts. I'm not 100% sure about going in the water downtown, however, I believe the St John River is clean (avoid Reversing Falls, haha!) and I've been in the water at Irving Nature Park on the outskirts of town and lived to tell the tale.

Try contacting Saint John Tourism - they would have a more detailed list of acceptable beaches or times of year when restrictions are normally in place.

There is also an awesome Olympic Aquatic Centre in UpTown (which, as you have probably figured out by now, is what they call their historic downtown!)

Hope this helps!

David de Jong said...

Thanks for your thoughts on my two posts, Terri.

take care,