View From The Glen

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Newfoundland Trip: Red Bay

After our leisurely few days exploring gorgeous Bonavista (well named) and eating traditional CID-based food at small cafés, and visiting John Cabot's museum (he also landed in this part of the world, setting up the start of the cod fishery....riches more valuable than the spices of the Indies he set out to find), it was time to move on.

                 The Matthew, a replica.

From our lovely cottage, we drove (with the westy part we picked up in St. John's earlier in the week) all the way back across the island, back up to the north when we caught the ferry back across the Straits of Belle Isle and back to Labrador. It was a long drive, but we made excellent time and as a result were able to catch the earlier ferry. We drive about a half hour down the paved part of the Trans Labrador to a small village calked Red Bay where we had secured renovated old whaler cabins to stay. The plan was for Andrew and Erik to get up early, drive back to Port Hope Simpson, get the van fixed, and return the same day to a Red Bay. We had rearranged our trip, and though it meant we missed the Burin Peninsula, we reasoned returnng to the East was something we could do another time. Our new plan was to catch the west coast ferry and so avoid a third pass across the long interior of Newfoundland.

The whaler cabins were charming, right on the water. Red Bay is also charming in that wild, isolated way. We ate world famous chalupa flush and chips at the restaurant. Chalupas are the smaller 6-8 man whaling vessels they took out to hunt whales with their harpoons. There was a restored one at the museum, and I thought, Crazy.

The next morning, the girls and I got up, explored the whaling museum with a great movie about the underwater archological dig of the 70-80s to find and examine what they believe might be the now 500 year old San Juan, lost here in a storm. Then we took a short and tippy boat ride out to Saddle island (which you can see from our big window) in the mouth of the harbour to hike the archeological remains of whaler stations from long ago and walk the windswept cliffs to be awed by the relentless North Atlantic as it sweeps into the straits.

Excerpts from a Journal
July 21
Now we are back, got a few small gifts and a card for Andrew tonight, and Anna drew Viking Daddy. Girls now exploring beach and I showered the salt away and am mesmerized by choppy gilded waters.

Seagulls, floating on the wind. Letting it take them. A lesson in how to ride out a storm. They are also making a terrible mess out of crab parts on a nearby rock.

We can hear the waves lapping against the cottage dock, and the creak of wood in the wind. Whipping up quite the storm out there. Easy to feel alone, solitary, even morose.

late: the lighthouse casts its beam. 1..........2, 3, 1.......2, 3. I watched it fall through the night sleepless. At the time, it irritated me. Only now that Erik and Andrew are back, falling in (with van) at 3 am (damn lack of communications in this part of world) does it once again seem friendly. Strange how a benign light can mean so much.

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