YARMOUTH, N.S. – Not only has a local tour business in Yarmouth County offered a new harbour tour this summer, they’re offering their guests another new experience as well – people are getting bluenosed.
Tusket Islands Tours, which this summer is also offering tours of Yarmouth harbour, is giving out official Bluenoser certificates to those who sail on their tours.
The experience literally involves a blue nose – don’t worry, the blue comes off – and some rum supplied by Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg. You can be a deck hand, a mate or a skipper, depending on how much rum you take in your small shot glass. If you’re really brave you can attempt a shipwreck.
“We have a friend who pitched the idea of being bluenosed to us. He just kind of threw it out there any my brother and I kind of mulled it over and thought, what better place to get bluenosed than on a fishing boat,” says Lucien LeBlanc, who operates the tours with his brother Simon.
The brothers have been operating their successful Tusket Island Tours and this summer have added a Yarmouth Harbour Tour to their offerings. The Tusket Islands tour feature history on subjects that cover a wide gamut, include lobster and tuna fishing, murders, World War 2 spies, shipwrecks, disasters, treasure, and more.
Among other things, the Yarmouth harbour tours introduce people to different types of fishing that takes place from this harbour, provides a close-up look at the lobster industry, includes tales of local landmarks seen on the shores and gives people a unique vantage point to view the Cape Forchu Lighthouse. And on some nights throws in a lobster supper for an added cost.
Both tours include lots of music.
The brothers are excited to be offering a bluenoser experience as well.
“We thought it’s a great idea,” Lucien LeBlanc says. “Ironworks had a Bluenose Rum, which coincidently is my favourite rum, always has been.”
When the brothers pitched the idea to Ironworks they likened it to being screeched-in as they do in Newfoundland, but without the cod you have to kiss.
LeBlanc says the partnership is good cross-promotion for the Nova Scotia product and adds they are also looking to tie in local businesses in Yarmouth County as well.
“We’ve been lobbying a few local businesses, that when you get bluenosed, and you have your certificate, you could go into (one of the businesses) and maybe get a free beer, or something like that, so we’re going to try and do that to help cross promote other businesses,” he says.
An inaugural bluenosing recently took place during a tour of Yarmouth’s harbour with invited guests, prior to the full-scale launch of this initiative as part of the tours happening this summer.
Ever the gracious host, and good sport, Simon LeBlanc – who impresses people on the tours with his knowledge of local history, in addition to his musical talent – took on the shipwreck when it came to sampling the rum and getting bluenosed.
"As Nova Scotians, we pride ourselves in working hard and taking nothing for granted. Our fishermen get up early, and go out tirelessly in cold weather to catch and sell a product they can’t see with their eyes, to the mercy of a terrain that does what it wants. The Bluenose is a symbol of the pride we take in calling the Maritimes home. Her tall sails make it easy for the world to see that we are still here. If you work hard and believe in what the bluenose stands for, then we invite you to be one of us."
“We call upon those who sail the sea, where the salt in the air makes it easy to breathe. Where your livelihood relies on merely a hunch, while the rest have their breakfast, we have our lunch. The bluenose is gone but her legacy will sail, from the Tusket Islands to the Cabot Trail. The deckhand, the mate, the skipper and faith, stay clear of where the shipwreck awaits," he quoted. “So we drink a strong drink as a toast to the land, like our grandparents before us, with iPhone in hand. These words that are said let them always ring true: May your eyes be red, but your nose be blue.”