I am very concerned to see the response of many regarding the recent “falling in of the monkey room,” atop the SS Kyle.
That room was never originally on the Kyle. It was added by my father, Captain Guy Earle. This is according to Captain Chas Dowden, of Carbonear, who worked alongside Guy and with his own father, Captain Steve Dowden.
If Chas doesn’t know then no one does. He was there, lived it, and it was Guy who added those rooms.
The very top room, known as the monkey room which just recently fell into the wheel room is of no significance to the remodeling of the Kyle.
I have recently met with Bill Maybee of Poseidon Marine, his assistant Aaron Mercer, and Bob Rutherford, another well known engineer. They say to rebuild a ship you have to start form the bottom up, not the top.
All the rest of the important parts of the Kyle are still intact such as the hull.
Has the hull of the Titanic gone anywhere over the last 100-plus years? And she’s way down below in Davy’s Locker.
The Kyle is at least partially above water.
The Titanic was built with blue steel, and that’s what the Kyle is built with.
The part you see degenerating is regular steel and the special blue or wrought iron of the lower and vital part of the Kyle, is still there.
That blue steel, that’s what we need.
And not to besmirch my late father, his monkey room is not a necessity to what we are trying to do.
It would be nice to rebuild all the rooms on top, but that’s for later on.
I feel that this recent occurrence is just an excuse for all these naysayers to come forth with their negativity, their further condemnation of our heritage, our Kyle.
My father fought hard to bring her back from Nova Scotia and change her name back to the Kyle. And again to get her, the men and the seal back from the Labrador.
All that work just to let her go? What are some of us thinking?
In response to the Compass where I recently read that Steve Kent, MHA of Municipal Affairs said he would write a note supporting anyone who wished to privately donate to restore the Kyle, but did not have any funds to contribute from the government coffers. That is almost the exact words of Terry French, the once minister of tourism.
His letter was written in 2008, when this mission was started up again. There has always been many supporters over the years called, “friends of the Kyle.”
I have copies of all their letters. I have other comments and letters too. Many of them I don’t agree with.
For instance, the idea mentioned to tow her out and bury her, the “dignified way to end the Kyle.” I absolutely don’t agree with that. I do respect the commenter’s brutal honesty, but comments like this just hampers our efforts to save it.
Another spoke about the use of the money to scuttle the Kyle, where it could be better spent.
To scuttle her could come to six or seven figures. That money should be used in a more positive way, I agree. But not to scuttle her, to restore her.
As I have already said, any other province in Canada would have already restored her. She is an iconic monument of us and our forefathers.
Just as the Lunenburg Fisheries Museum sits 100 kilometres form Halifax, the SS Kyle Museum could sit 108 km from St John’s, attracting tourists from everywhere.
Dave Paddon said in October 2013, “We need a Bluenose of our own.”
We don’t need a Bluenose, we have one. We need a fisheries or maritime museum on the Kyle.
I was in St John’s this summer at the visitor information center on Water Street. I was there to donate a model of the Kyle, built by Greg Drover, who was recently featured in the Telegram.
They said no.
But the most disturbing part was, not them turning it down, but when asked by tourists what to go see in Conception Bay, no mention was made of it.
I had to tell them myself, and I did.
And yes, the tourists where interested and did want to go see it.
Maybe our MHA’s can ask the centres around Newfoundland to do so. I would really like that.
In all my travels I see no mention of her anywhere, only in the Compass and the Kearney Chalet, (which sits alongside her). That’s it.
What is missing from this picture? What is with this opinion, and this ostracization of our beloved and iconic ship?
Please take the blinders off, and see what can be done.
— Libby Earle is the daughter of Captain Guy Earle, the last captain of the SS Kyle
Note: The website for the Kyle can be viewed at www.sskyle.org. It was created by Libby's husband Brian DePiero.