A father and son from Middle River, Cape Breton are celebrating a shared love of sailing on board a Nova Scotia icon.
It's a love that spans nearly four decades.
Brooke Oland and his son Liam, 19, have both experienced life as deckhands on the famed schooner Bluenose II.
They'll be able to swap stories when the vessel docks in Baddeck this weekend, with Liam on board.
Brooke Oland landed a job by chance on the Bluenose II in 1983.
He had just helped crew another boat from Baddeck to Halifax.
"I went along the waterfront to look at the Bluenose, and talked to a few of the guys there, and asked, 'Oh, how do you get on here?,'" Brooke told Cape Breton's Information Morning.
He dropped off a resumé at the government office, but was told there were no openings.
He headed home, but got a call the next day that they needed a deckhand. "So I hightailed it back to Halifax."
Oland worked for the rest of that season and was one of four crew kept on the vessel that winter, living on board and helping various tradespeople as the vessel underwent an extensive refit.
The following year, Oland was on the vessel as it headed to Bermuda to get ready for a visit by tall ships to Halifax in 1984.
"It was, I'd have to say, one of the best times in my life, working on that vessel."
Now, 36 years later, Liam is following in his father's footsteps.
Passion for sailing
"I've always been passionate about sailing," said Liam, who enrolled in sailing lessons as a boy and has taken part in sea school trips every summer since age 14. After that, Liam decided he wanted to join the crew of the Bluenose, which underwent a major rebuild since his father's time.
This year has been very different, he said, because of COVID-19.
"We're not doing any harbour cruises, or deck tours, or anything like that, just visiting ports around the province and doing lots of sailing," said Liam.
Liam said it's hard work, but well worth it.
"The feeling you get when you're under full sail and clipping along at 11 knots, or something like that, it's hard to explain, but it's a very great feeling."
"There's nothing like being at the helm of that vessel when it's under sail and moving along nicely. When you're at the wheel, you can feel every line, every plank in the vessel, it seems. It's so responsive at the wheel"
Brooke remembers one frightening experience as the Bluenose encountered a big storm heading to Bermuda.
"Waves were breaking over the stern and at times you'd be standing at the wheel up to your waist in water before the decks cleared," Brooke said.
"It was pretty hairy and a little bit scary. But after a while, when the daylight came, it didn't seem so bad."
Liam said he hasn't encountered any major storms yet, although he has unsettling memories of some two-to-three metre swells en route to the Bay of Fundy.
"Seasickness is really not a pleasant experience."
One of the high points of his time on board so far has been seeing a great white shark, just west of Seal Island.
Liam said one of the deckhands spotted a fin headed toward the ship.
"It's this big 10-foot great white shark, and it's really close to the hull of the ship. We were all like 'Woah'!"
Brooke and Liam haven't had much time to compare their experiences on board the Bluenose II.
Liam's tour ends in October.
But Brooke hopes to get his first glimpse of Liam on board when the Bluenose visits Baddeck on Sunday.
"I'm very, very proud of him, but pretty envious too. I really miss it, I'd be there in a heartbeat if I could," said Brooke.
Meanwhile, Liam said he's proud to be carrying on the seafaring tradition.
"It's really nice to think that I'm part of this big thing," said Liam.
"It's a very old and special part of Nova Scotia history, and I'm really grateful to be a part of it." MORE TOP STORIES