Harbour of Deception
For almost two centuries, Yarmouth's False Harbour has lived up to its name. Located at the end of Cape Forchu, False Harbour's rocky shores have fooled the most experienced and capable of mariners, especially during storms and heavy fog conditions, when they often mistook it for the adjacent Yarmouth Harbour. As a result, this area has been the site of many shipwrecks and tragic losses.
While its rugged shores were once a source of fear and danger to many mariners, today False Harbour is a favourite destination for local and visiting photographers, who capture breathtaking images of the Cape Forchu lighthouse overlooking False Harbour's dramatic waves.
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· Cape Forchu Lighthouse, overlooking the rugged surf of Outer False Harbour.
· For many years, False Harbour has lured mariners to its rocky and dangerous shores.
While today's mariners rely on GPS (Global Positioning System) and radar to navigate the seas and coastlines, mariners of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries depended on navigational aids on land, including lighthouses, harbour lights and foghorns.
Storms, fog, and human error, resulted in many shipwrecks along this treacherous coastline. Today small pieces of coal, their edges rounded by the surf, are
still found on the rocky beach at the end of the point, where many of these unfortunate vessels ran aground.
City of Monticello (Novembver 10, 1900)
Caught in a northwest gale at Cape Forchu, the paddle steamer foundered and sunk five miles west of Yarmouth Cape during a heavy gale. Thirty-six lives were lost.
SS Mira (February 3, 1902)
Headed to Louisbourg, Cape Breton, the large steamer ran aground at Chebogue Point during a snowstorm. No lives were lost.
SS North Star (August 8, 1919)
Carrying passengers from Boston to Yarmouth, the steamer foundered on Green Island in dense fog. No lives were lost.
SS Linton (December 4, 1930)
This freighter [r]an aground on West Cape, adjacent to False Harbour, during a heavy snowstorm. Her entire crew of eight was lost.
City of New York (March 19, 1952)
After delivering coal to Yarmouth, the tern schooner was being towed out of Yarmouth Harbour when her line broke. She ran aground on the Chebogue Ledge. No lives were lost. City of New York is best known by her former name, Samson, the mystery ship that failed to come to the aid of Titanic before she sank on April 15, 1912
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· Freighter SS Linton
· Steamer NorthStar wrecked on Green Island
· Background: Wreck of SS Mira, Chebogue Point
In addition to its shipbuilding, fishing, and shipping industries, Yarmouth is best known for its passenger ferry service. With operations dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, the Yarmouth ferry was the beginning of this region's local tourism industry, as we know it today.
Yarmouth's close proximity to Maine, Boston and New York, made it a natural location for the transport of goods and people between Yarmouth and Boston, as well as between Yarmouth and New York, Maine, and Saint John, New Brunswick. The most famous of these lines was the Yarmouth Steamship Company. This pioneer tourist line between Yarmouth and Boston, operated from 1885 until 1901, when it was purchased by the Dominion Atlantic Railway (DAR).
Passenger ferry service between Yarmouth and Boston, as well as other destinations, continued under other companies throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In most recent years, the high-speed catamaran, HSC The CAT ferried passengers between Bar Harbour, Maine and Yarmouth until 2009.
Today, the cruise ferry NovaStar makes seasonal crossings between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine.
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· A steamship docked at Evangeline (Dominion Atlantic Railroad) Wharf, Yarmouth, c.1910.
· Yarmouth's newest ferry, cruiser NovaStar
· Travelling between Boston and Yarmouth, S.S. Prince Edward was part of the Dominion Atlantic Railway (DAR) fleet of steamships. DAR took over the Yarmouth Steamship Company in 1901.
· An advertisement for the Yarmouth Steamship Company, which operated between Yarmouth and Boston from 1885 to 1901.
What can you see from here?
To your left, is the deceptive and sometime treacherous False Harbour, the site of many shipwrecks for almost two hundred years.
On stormy days, and even some clear days, you can see the power of the sea, as large waves crash against False Harbour's rugged shoreline.