During the four days that that the Titanic sailed the Atlantic Ocean in April 1912,  she was the largest passenger steamship in the world. From keel to funnel tip, she stood 175 feet tall.

After the iceberg collision, it happened that Halifax, Nova Scotia was the closest city with rail links to the rest of North America. The city became the center of the recovery effort.  Some 150 unclaimed bodies and various ship debris that came to Halifax remained  there — the bodies buried, the debris destined to become the most popular permanent exhibit in the city’s Maritime Museum  of the Atlantic.

The Halifax Public Gardens are somewhat inland from the harbor, but also boast a water feature, called Griffin’s Pond.  There, in the late afternoon sun, Titanic plies water once again.

She seems complete in every way — her four funnels proudly pointing towards the sky, tipped with a black stripe, and her gleaming white hull, reflected ripplingly down towards the depths.

Titanic with Ducks in Halifax Public Gardens

Titanic shares the pond with about a dozen American Black Ducks. From bill to webbed foot, they typically stand about 20 inches tall. These particular ducks looked shorter than that, but next to the ship, their height was still impressive.

The ducks dipped their beaks into the water, preened, wiggled their tails and flapped their wings.

A breeze turned Titanic broadside. Reeds, dead ahead.

The ducks cackled, a boisterous barnyard quacking that sounded like laughter: ha ha ha.

Tourists approached the pond with digital cameras extended in front of them,  a gesture of offering.  A black-clad young French couple wandered over to the banks.  “Titanique! Ha ha ha.” Without another word, she posed, within view of the ducks and the ship. Her partner, bearing a large backpack, snapped her photo.

They ambled away towards the bandstand, erected in 1887 in honor of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

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Alison J. Stein

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