© Geraldine Brophy
The Crystal Waters Boat Tour returns to Frenchman’s Cove from Woods Island Tuesday. The trip was part of the Town of Humber Arm South Come Home Year celebrations.
CORNER BROOK Lloyd McCarthy was born on Woods Island and spent the first 19 years of his life living there. So, when the opportunity to go back for a visit arose the Pasadena man couldn’t miss the boat.
“I sure enjoyed it,” he said after returning from the island Tuesday.
McCarthy, 72, was one of an estimated 600 people to visit the island, a once thriving Bay of Islands settlement, as part of the Town of Humber Arm South’s Come Home Year festivities.
When the island was resettled in the 1950s and ’60s many of its inhabitants moved to either Frenchman’s Cove, Halfway Point, John’s Beach or Benoit’s Cove, the communities that make up Humber Arm South. McCarthy’s family went to Benoit’s Cove and within a year he up and moved to the Mainland. He returned to the province in 1987 and settled in Pasadena.
The last time he went back to the island was in 1991.
“There’s nothing really different,” he said.
“The landscape hasn’t really changed all that much. You know that old harbour rock is still there and you’ve got to stay away from them because if you don’t you’re gonna go aground getting in the harbour,” he said with a laugh.
The biggest difference is that the homes of the island have been replaced by cabins.
While he walked around part of the harbour he didn’t get the opportunity to go to the side of the island where his family home once stood. He said his family used to have a cabin there.
“It was nice,” he said of the excursion he shared with his wife Peggy Welsh.
“I enjoyed it and I met a few older friends. And we talked about a few different things. What we used to do when we were kids.”
The Come Home Year committee had arranged for Crystal Waters Boat Tours to ferry people to the island, but with the large response a local family of fishers lent a hand in transporting people.
Also among those to visit the island were some people who had no connection to the community.
“We just kind of wanted to get out into one of the little communities today,” said Carolyn McMillan of how she and husband John ended up on Woods Island.
The couple from Kenosee Lake, a resort town in southeastern Saskatchewan, have been spending the past week touring the province.
“We got caught up with the tourist ads on TV this last winter,” said McMillan of what drew them here. “One day my husband said to me ‘You know maybe we should go there’ and I said ‘I was thinking the same thing.’”
They learned about the Woods Island Day event at the tourist information office in Deer Lake and McMillan said they didn’t know they were going to a resettled community until just before they left from Frenchman’s Cove to make the trip over. “But we love history and so we were quite interested in the history of that.”
“It was fascinating,” she said of the trip that in Saskatchewan would be called a “rural experience”. “We love experiences like that.”