Three Canadians, two kittens and one raft
September 4, 2012 9:14 AM   Subscribe

"Only the kittens kept us sane." In 1956, three Canadians lashed together nine old telephone poles to create a raft, loaded up on some comforts of home (including two kittens), and set off from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The kittens snoozed on the deck and climbed the masts. The men tied scarves around their heads, grew hipster beards, played chess, and drank coffee and liqueurs. Everyone ate the sardines. 88 days later, they reached Falmouth harbour in Britain. The kittens lived lavishly and happily ever after with the Duke of Bedford. The men had their ups and downs. Pictures. The Pathé newsreel from 1956. CBC Newfoundland reunites one of the sailors and a Newfoundland sailor who intercepted them over 50 years later. Radio summary of the tv story.
posted by maudlin (29 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
grew hipster beards

Really?
posted by OmieWise at 9:16 AM on September 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ouch splinters.
posted by goethean at 9:17 AM on September 4, 2012


What some people will do to avoid quarantining their pets during an overseas move.
posted by orange swan at 9:18 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


grew hipster beards

Really?


I didn't see any derailleurs on their raft, either.

OK, beards. Not hipster beards. Just plain beards. Scraggly beards within which secrets were whispered, gulls built nests, and unshared sardines were cached.
posted by maudlin at 9:19 AM on September 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Just be careful to not confuse this story with Three Canadians, Two Kittens, and One Cup.
posted by kmz at 9:20 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was just on C'est La Vie on CBC Radio One!
posted by Kitteh at 9:24 AM on September 4, 2012


He said his reasons for making the voyage are more complicated than simply fulfilling some male whim, as the British news announcer suggested. The journey was the tonic he needed to fight the depression he suffered after his experience as a French resistance fighter during the Second World War. “I felt empty,” he said, explaining why he found it hard to set down roots in his new country.

Wow. That just really hit me. An amazing story and one I had never heard before. Thanks for the post.
posted by Isadorady at 9:24 AM on September 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


This was just on C'est La Vie on CBC Radio One!

Yes, that's where I got it. I linked to that episode's page at the end of the post.
posted by maudlin at 9:26 AM on September 4, 2012


Thanks, Maudlin. I heard this on C'est La Vie too, and wanted to send this story to my dad, who's in Dartmouth and used to sail with the maritime fishing fleet and merchant marine. Your post puts it all in one place.
posted by angiep at 9:38 AM on September 4, 2012


I can't believe these jerks don't know the rule about including kitten photos.
posted by elizardbits at 9:49 AM on September 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


It was the first sentence that grabbed my attention. Thank you for the post.
posted by infini at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2012


I just came here because I saw a DIY mid-century modern teak danish transatlantic pallet raft with a stenciled defunct airline logo on Pinterest.
posted by srboisvert at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2012


Awesome story but I did in fact click around looking for more kitten photos.
posted by pointystick at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2012


Put the kittens on the new C$100 note. They can be peering into microscopes too if you insist.

problem solved!!
posted by Bwithh at 10:32 AM on September 4, 2012 [15 favorites]


There is a kitty picture in that globe and mail report - slide 4 of 6
posted by Bwithh at 10:35 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next time I run away from home, I'll bring some kittens. (obl photo, sadly stock and $45?!?!? Why did I take the tag off of that $3 beanie and only buy one!?!?)
posted by tilde at 10:38 AM on September 4, 2012


It's a good thing they only two kittens. After all, un deux trois quatre cinq.
posted by maryr at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awesome story but I did in fact click around looking for more kitten photos.

Ha ha, you're not the only one! MORE KITTENS PLEASE

(Thanks for posting this--I read it and then right afterward the C'est La Vie episode you mentioned came on the radio.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:15 PM on September 4, 2012


From one of the photos, the raft looks very Kon-Tiki like. Thor Heyerdal's raft is still preserved in its museum in Oslo, Norway.
posted by larrybob at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2012


Ms. Comeau Mahar ceremonially smashed an empty champagne bottle over the mast of the raft before a tugboat took it out to sea. "We drank the champagne the night before, rather than waste it," said Mr. Beaudout, now 85.

How practical ... and endearing.
posted by headnsouth at 1:45 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Kittens)
posted by The otter lady at 1:46 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


You forgot about the poles.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:24 PM on September 4, 2012


I have lived in Nova Scotia all 43 years of my life. I work in Dartmouth every day. I have never heard of this. Thanks for posting.
posted by datter at 3:22 PM on September 4, 2012


I actually read the beginning as In 1956, three Canadians kittens lashed together nine old telephone poles to create a raft and was briefly intrigued by those implications.
posted by dhartung at 5:26 PM on September 4, 2012


That does it, I'm growing an ironic Canadian lumberjack beard.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 6:37 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I heard this story earlier this year on CBC and was awestruck.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 PM on September 4, 2012


I took kittens on a boat once but the captain made me remove them because they were too young. It was a cat-amaran.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:29 AM on September 5, 2012


This is great, I'd never heard about this before. The fragments of photos in the G&M tease too much, I'd love to see their full set of photos, especially the shark one which looks totally badass.
Just amazing.
posted by holycola at 7:42 AM on September 5, 2012


From now on hipsters must refer to their beards as 'kitten rafts'.
posted by moneyjane at 8:38 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older What kind of book reader are you? More types of bo...  |  Harry S. Truman would make a g... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments