Change Islands Song (Gerald S Doyle)

Change Islands is our native home,
a place you all know well.
I have no time to put in rhyme
the things I'd like to tell.

It's all about a hearty crew
who on one day in June,
Like all the rest, they did their best,
and sailed one afternoon.

They are tackling for the salmon,
the herring, and the cod;
In boist'rous winds and weather,
bakeapples was their job.

They talked about bay seals,
the mushrat, and the bear,
And canning up the berries,
the money they would share.

Before I go much farther,
I'll speak about the trip,
And where they went and what they did
from Change Islands to the Creek.

The wind was light across the bay,
the ship did sail like smoke,
And on the following evening,
we motored her in Croque.

St Anthony was the next port,
it was there we had to call;
It took a week to make a trip
from Change Islands to Cape Bauld.

Across the Strait they then did go
and anchored safe and sound,
And their motor boat they then did get
and took a look around.

No sign of salmon on that shore;
discouraging was the news;
No pirate money could be found,
and not a fish for brewis.

They talked about the foxes
and what they thought was best,
And if they could get the salmon,
they would leave out all the rest.

It was down the shore they then did go,
and blacker was the news;
July was fast approaching,
no time to pick and choose.

They searched for seals in Makeses Bay,
but nothing could be found;
The more they searched, the less they got;
no use to go farther down.

In searching for the salmon,
no time left for delay.
They turned around upon their tracks
and tried in Lewis Bay.

A lot of men lived in that place
had nets out in galore;
They could not see there what to do,
nor room for any more.

The weather still got hotter;
plenty nippers, flies and stout;
A decision they arrived at
and a cod-trap was put out.

The sign of fish got better,
they thought it would be thick,
And they'd get it a great deal quicker,
if they anchored in the Creek.

It was on a Monday morning,
the sea and fog quite thick,
With motor boat and canvas,
they got her in the Creek.

'Twas there they spent the summer,
as you may understand;
They got three cases of berries,
minus of one can.

They had a patent sealer,
driven by the second hand;
Torreville turned the handle;
'twas he who spoiled the can.

There's one thing more I'd like to tell -
that's if I'm allowed -
The schooner's name was Neta C;
now listen for her crowd.

Thomas Hines the captain,
Walter the second hand;
Also three more before the mast;
I'll name them if I can.

Arthur was the captain's son,
Raymond was Walter's b'y;
The other one you ought to know,
you'll guess him if you try.

####.... Crew of the Neta C, 1926 ....####
This variant was published by Gerald S Doyle in Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 2nd Ed, p.61, 1940. Doyle noted that the song was previously collected in 1929 from the singing of Wilfred Hoffe of Change Islands and published as #124 on p.250 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

From The Story Of The French Shore:
Croque - settlement near Conche, Grandois/St Julien's and Main Brook located on the east side of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula along a stretch of coastline known as the French Shore.

From Wikipedia:
Cape Bauld - headland located at the northeasternmost point of Quirpon Island off the northeastern tip of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. It delineates the eastern end of the Strait of Belle Isle and had a lighthouse constructed on it in 1884.
Change Islands - outport community spanning two small islands of the same name which lie off the northeast coast of Newfoundland between Notre Dame Bay and the Labrador Sea. The southern tip of the larger South Island is accessible by the provincially-operated ferry service from Farewell, NL that also services Fogo Island, NL further to the east.
St Anthony - town on the northern reaches of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula.
St Lewis Bay - sheltered bay along the Labrador Coast near the small fishing community of St. Lewis formerly known as Fox Harbour. The most easterly permanent community on the North American mainland, with one of the earliest recorded place names in Labrador, depicted on maps as early as 1502-1503 as Ilha de Frey Luis.

Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf noted that "Nippers, flies, and stout" means mosquitos, black flies and a horsefly which can give a wicked bite - the usual annoyances of inland Newfoundland.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Bakeapple - low plant growing in bogs and producing an amber berry in late summer; cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus).
Brewis - also brews(e), broose, bruis, bruise, bruse - sea-biscuit or hard tack soaked in water and then boiled; such a dish cooked with salt cod and fat pork.
Nippers - large biting mosquitos; garnippers; gallynippers.
Stout - vicious fly as large as a bee with a savage bite; gad-fly; deer fly; bulldog.
Tackling - fishing with a net.


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