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Port Hood: Two fishermen lost to the sea

Hugh Campbell Watts; Glen Ambrose MacDonald.

-by Rankin MacDonald

    They went out to get lobsters for Mother’s Day.
    In every fishing village in Inverness County this week all heart are broken because we have lost two of our sons to the sea.
    It has been years since we have been forced to endure a fishing tragedy of this magnitude.
    It began to unfold at just after 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning when the RCMP got a 911 call about a fishing boat that had capsized off Colindale.
    Aboard the nine metre Ocean Star II were its captain, 39-year-old Hugh Watts, 58-year-old helper, Glen MacDonald, and Hugh’s son, 18-year-old Elijah Watts.
    Elijah Watts managed to swim to shore but both Hugh Watts and Glen MacDonald lost their lives.
    When Port Hood Volunteer Fire Department Chief D.F. Beaton and the brigade arrived on the scene it was too late. He said Elijah already had the bodies to shore.
    “It was in sight of Hugh’s house,” Beaton said.
    There was a north west wind blowing, some fishermen went out, others didn’t, but as the fishermen pointed out, a boat can be capsized by a large wave anytime the boat is in the water.
    It has always been a dangerous way to make a living.
    Another fisherman, Gary Watts, tried to reach them but he damaged his own boat in the effort.
    The Ocean Star II was out of Murphy’s Pond in Port Hood and as yet the cause of their deaths have not been confirmed.
    The Department of Labour is investigating the tragedy.
    Chief Beaton, who was a close friend and neighbour of Hugh’s, said he was a fisherman all his life, once he could walk, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Roddie.  And Elijah, who graduated last year, was following in Hugh’s footsteps.
    Glen MacDonald lived in Port Hawkesbury and in Port Hood for the fishing season.
    Watts fished lobster, tuna, and scallops.
    Beaton and Watts were firefighters together.
    “He was a legend,” said Beaton. “He was a storyteller, a joker, and the best. When he came to the meetings, they were always better, when he walked in it put a smile on your face.”
    “He always made the fire calls”, Beaton added.
    Watts leaves his wife Sarah, the love of his life, and children Elijah, Madeline, Malia, Gabriella, and Samuel.
    Beaton said MacDonald was also a great and generous guy who fished all his life.
    “He was always helping someone with their boat.”
    “Glen was a great mechanic,” Beaton added.
    A Department of Labour spokesperson said they would have more to say this week.



































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