The Outermost Engine

| June/July 1993

R.R. 2, Box 227 M Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568

Engines are where you find them, and sometimes they turn up in places where engines are the farthest thing from your mind.

Cross Island lies several miles off the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, near Luwenburg. It is a wild, windswept place, uninhabited except for a handful of small camps occupied only in summer. There is also a lighthouse; in the late '80s it was the last one in Canada with a resident lighthouse keeper, but inevitably the fellow and his family were replaced by batteries that are serviced by Coast Guard helicopter.

Last summer I was invited to go cod-fishing with a Luwenburg friend, Robert Tanner. After a morning of fishing out in the open ocean, Robert decided we should try our luck along the shore at Cross Island. We anchored in a small cove for lunch. I was finishing my sandwich and gazing at the lighthouse at one end of the cove when I saw what looked like a piece of rusty machinery perched on top of a rock cliff.

'What's that old iron up there on the bluff?' I asked Robert. He had been fishing these waters all his life and nothing happened without Robert knowing about it.

'That's an old engine been there for 50 years. Some rusted up, it is.'