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Interviewee: Arnold “Woody” Bowers

Role: Retired Commercial Fisherman

Date of Interview: 9/25/04

Collection: Working Waterfront Festival Community Documentation Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Retired fisherman Woody Bowers talks about his start in the industry, how dogs were used to keep track of other vessels in the fog, superstitions and storms.

Transcript: "I was born in a fishin' village in Nova Scotia named Volger’s Cove which is about 30 miles from the big fishing port of Lunenburg. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. As a boy, I fished on my father's boat there for up until World War II.

"Fishin', it was codfish, haddock, flounders, yellow tails, all those different species. And at the time, we was allotted just so many pounds of each kind. We couldn't get a whole trip of one, one species. So you had to, you know, you'd go to the ones that would keep the longest and the best, we'd get them first, the amount. And then you'd -- Of course, that boat, god, she'd carry two hundred thousand pounds of fish easy.

You take those old vessels there, they'd usually have a cat or a dog on board of them. I tell you what the dog was mostly for. Those times, they never knew what a radar was, or a sounding machine, or anything like that, but if a vessel was laid anchored in the fog and you'd hear a dog barking, especially if you was on the lee side, you could hear that dog barking for maybe 2 miles. You knew there was another vessel in the vicinity.

Where I come from, the people in Nova Scotia are very superstitious. They never said pig aboard a boat. Oh my god, that was -- a swear word had no comparison with that! Just say that word and that was supposed to be an automatic gale of wind.

I had plenty, plenty gales of wind. I went through plenty of those. I guess after every gale that blew I happened to be out in it. I was always lucky enough to be there at the right time when the gale blew."

To read Woody's full transcript, click here.