Ross Mason is one of those intense, involved people you meet perhaps once in a lifetime. Adventurer, explorer, outdoorsman, prospector, conservationist and by his own account, a gentleman -- Ross Mason is all of these things and more.
his youth, he was stationed for three years in Germany with the Canadian
Army where he learned to speak and write fluent German. When he returned,
he spent nine years with the Halifax Police Department.
Ross Mason is a also a treasure hunter. He was involved with commercial diving for many years, exploring more than 50 shipwrecks off the coast of Nova Scotia, finding artifacts such as coins and bits of relics, but no great wealth. At least not yet.
For 17 years, he was also an active prospector, travelling at times with a mule and saddlebags. Mason still has several claims staked in the province. He is reluctant to let them expire, as though he clings to the memory of the long years of work and effort he put into 'fiinding the motherlode'.
It never happened. Today, Mason lives modestly on the Eastern Shore.
His experience enables him to teach prospecting and conduct field trips
for groups of hopeful treasure hunters. In the winter, he does research
and plans the opening of his gold museum and in summer, he works as a
park supervisor with the province.
Island, a windswept snake of sand off the coast, is famous throughout
history for its shipwrecks, and now for its vast reserves of offshore
oil. It is one of the few places in Canada that is restricted to visitors.
In spite of his busy schedule which he shared with two other men, Mason's restlessness and quest for knowledge took him to the isolated parts of Sable -- to study, to observe and to record what he learned. Today, Ross Mason has some of the most hauntingly beautiful photographs of mysterious Sable Island ever taken, which he guards closely. He'll do a book someday, he says.
But for now, he's happy to reflect on his days on Sable Island, that
mysterious drift of sand that has so imprinted itself on history. Sable
is only a bit more enigmatic than Ross Mason himself.
This article has been adapted from an original 1997 interview by Elisabeth Schwartzer. - G. Martin
Photos © Ross Mason
© 2001 Highway 7
"The best time
to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now".
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