Save the Wharf!!!
In my youth, oh so long ago, I spent a great deal of my leisure time at White’s Bluff Wharf...
White's Bluff Wharf, 2017
...not that I had a great deal of leisure time, being a career girl since the age of three.
Novice Career Girl
The wharf was the place to be in the summertime. Once we were allowed to swim unsupervised, we wanted to swim at the wharf in the deep water, jump off the piers, socialize with friends, maybe even smoke the odd cigarette and partake in some underage drinking! I won't even mention "spooning" and skinny-dipping. The wharf was particularly appealing after a long day in the hayfield.
Experienced Career Girl
I've spent enough time at the wharf over the last 50 years to be considered "experienced", if not "expert." Of course, one does not become a Wharf Expert immediately. There are developmental stages to Wharf Expertise, much like grades in school. Once you have mastered Tiptoeing Down the Side Stairs...
...and slipping quietly into the water, you progress to Grade Two, Side-Jumping. If you are particularly precocious, you might even do it backwards.
It could be a bit frightening at first. Remember, it is deep, and rumour has it there is a jeep, a Lincoln-Continental and two motor-cycles down there!
Once Side-Jumping has been perfected, it is a natural progression to End-Jumping. The current is stronger at the end, so be cautious. Sunsets are an added bonus.
Owen, Evan and George
When you have mastered Side-Jumping and End-Jumping, it’s time to move on to Pier-Jumping. In my day, you stuck your big toe into the date,1934, carved into the side of the pier, and slid your youth-slim body up to the top, took a deep breath, and JUMPED!!
Now a few things have changed. The date is gone from the pier, worn away by erosion and old age. The youth-slim body is gone as well, expanded by excess and old age. And there is some controversy about that date,1934, which is engraved in my mind. My sister and I disagree on that, as on many things. Aunt Gladys says 1938, and she is probably correct!!
As you know, diving requires more finesse than jumping. One has to endure a few BellyFlops before you conquer the smooth dive off the side. Be patient----it will come. And then, when you’re 60, it will go. And you’ll get back to BellyFlops.
Summer Tracy and Grace Duplisea
Perfecting the BellyFlop
You move from Side-Diving to Pier-Diving. It’s a beautiful sight, and a beautiful feeling to cut the water and slice into its surface powered by that extra height of four feet. Stretch your arms out, elbows over your ears, hands pointed. Keep your legs straight and together. Expect a BellyFlop or two in your training period.
As you advance through the stages, you might be fortunate and talented enough to join a Wharf-Jumping-Choreography-Group. You’ll need a coach to master this feat. And a fairly sharp photographer.
Olympic Coach: Beth Quigley
Again, this all takes practice. There will be days when things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Like life in general.
Practice Makes Perfect
There is no official graduation from Wharf School. You'll just know when you've made it!
The wharves along the St. John River were refurbished in the 1930s as a make-work project to counteract the effects of the Great Depression. They served as stopping points for the riverboats that travelled the river until the 1950s, transporting people and produce.
The D.J. Purdy 1924-1946
At the end of the riverboat era, the federal government took over the maintenance of the wharves until 1997 at which time the St. John River Society acquired 13 of the wharves. In addition to providing a site for the leisure activity of boaters, swimmers and scenery-admirers, keeping the wharf public ensures public access to the river.This makes the SJRS, a not-for-profit organization, responsible for insurance and maintenance costs. Not cheap!
Wharves owned by SJRS
The community of the Kingston Peninsula is currently fund-raising in an effort to raise $25,000 for the needed repairs of White's Bluff Wharf, the longest and the BEST wharf on the river.
What manner of fund-raising have they undertaken?
Well, there is the monthly 50/50 draw.
There is Yoga on the wharf every Wednesday evening.
Yoga on the Wharf
There are Wharf-Related Art Prints for sale.
There are Wharf T-Shirts for sale.
There was the "Save the Wharf Party" on July 22nd...
...attended by hundreds of supporters. Thank You!
...And made possible by dozens of volunteers in orange T-Shirts. Thank You!!
Volunteer Tory Burke
If you want to be part of this great cause, you can donate money here: White's Bluff Wharf Repair Donations. Or you could attend yoga, invest in a print, buy a 50/50 ticket, purchase a t-shirt. Then you could say, "Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt!!"
"Got the T-Shirt"
Nora and Ruthie Fullerton
And the fund-raising continues! Upcoming events include a coffee-house, busking at local stores, and a dinner and an auction.
If you have never visited White's Bluff Wharf, drop in for a picnic, a swim, a jump off the pier. Access is still public. Sunsets are still phenomenal. You might even see a River Nymph.
Your contributions are very much appreciated by the community and the generations to come.
.....Until Next Time.....