Friday, July 26, 2013

Wells and Springs along the Southern Shore

On Wednesday I spent the day with Andrea along the Southern shore, meeting some interesting people and visiting and recording some excellent wells and springs. We had a really busy day planned, and started out meeting with Jim Foley, a local man who took me down to the shore and showed me a natural spring he had been using for years to drink from. The spring comes right out of the rocks, and is used predominantly in the summer and fall, as during the winter it gets covered with rocks and ice. He said occasionally some sea water will get into the spring, but there is such a consistent water flow that it never effects the taste or clarity of the water. He said that fishermen used to stop and use it years ago to drink from.

The cement enclosure around the spring was an addition added in recent years by Al Roche, who Jim was kind enough to introduce us to. Al told us that he tried to make it safer to get down there by adding rock steps as well, however the last couple years has seen some deterioration along the shore, and the steps have since let go. There used to be a “spring” sign to show visitors where they could get a cool drink, but has been taken down for safety reasons.

We then met up with Tony Dunn, who had a lot to both tell and show us. He first took us to his own well, which shares space with several other large wellhouses. He told us that at one time there were over 13 houses being served by these wells, which equaled up to 50 people! His well was one of the shallower ones we've seen so far, and he said that he's never seen it run low. There was over three feet of water on Wednesday, and it was also incredibly cold and fresh. He then took us to his brothers well, which was rock lined and protected by heavy plastic siding. Tony also has a hidden talent - he can find underground water with wire! He showed us how it worked, and let us try it ourselves. We both had success, and below you can see Andrea finding some water with wires!

Finally we went and spoke to Andrea's family, Andrew and Dot O'Brien. Over tea and banana bread they shared some great water and well memories with me, including carrying water to the house with hoops, a barrel well in their front yard, cleaning wells, and communal tin mugs left at a community water source for everyone to enjoy. Andrew then took me up to his well, which was by far the biggest one yet, and is shared between several homes in the neighbourhood. It was a great day out in the field!

We are still looking to hear any memories people have about wells, springs, water dowsing, and I would love to hear from you! You can contact me at 1 (709) 739-1892 ext 7, or email 

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