Sunday, June 23, 2013

DAY 35 Woodlot to St. Barbe Ferry/INTO LABRADOR

Ferry from St. Barbe to Blanc Sablon
June 23, 2013
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy!

Today we begin our drive in THE BIG LAND of Labrador.  Something we have been looking forward to and wondering how our class c would handle on the gravel road (when we get to that part).


Bow of boat flips up to drive on
Up and out early…this is monumental for David!  We decided to just drive and see what we see.  Found one short hike to do White Rock Trail in Flower Cove area on Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.  There were a few other short ones but we decided to head to ferry (as we were really close and had no reservation) and possible come back to do the small hikes. 



Labrador...the big land...lots of it
The ferry terminal was closed but I pumped the waitress at the Dockside Restaurant for information.  We ate breakfast in the restaurant (good omlettes)….and schemed how to get on the ferry.  One guy sat and waited in line after we arrived.  We immediately began the wait with him…so we are number two on the line for people who couldn’t get their act together to make a reservation!  In the end our choice to sit and wait was our ticket to getting on the ferry as many other people lined up after us.  In the end there must have been at least 20 vehicles on the waiting list to get on.  No one that we spoke to was taking the gravel road (which is also somewhat paved) to Quebec but there at least a few going at least ½ way.   The people we spoke to that lived there (about ½ way on the gravel) said we would be fine.   After talking with some Labradorians, I immediately went to the little convenience store to get more bottled water and some beerJ before we went over to Labrador.


First sighting of Labrador
The ferry ride was uneventful – we saw a few whales spouting way off in the distance.  There are a fair amount of Icebergs in Labrador.  Colder here…yay, Keep those biting bugs away.   We scooped up a bergy bit to bring home and put in our freezer.



Here is what we learned about Newfoundland:

Iceberg land L'Anse au Clair, Labrador
In 1992 the government shut down the cod fishing industry because it was overfished and the numbers were just not there.  Overfishing by Canadians and other countries as well (Portugal and Russia among others).  They gave money to the fishermen to not fish and the fishermen were supposed to use that money to reeducate themselves (a couple of year’s worth of money) and find another source of income.
He told us that many did and some just refused to do that (not sure what happened to those that refused).
Donna and a sea of bergy bits - I brought one home!

So the Cod industry shut down.  These were people who had fished for centuries.  It is not until recently that the cod have come back enough to do domestic or recreational fishing…each family/boat has an allotment that they can take (which I thought was pretty generous).  

Cold beaches

In the early 1960’s the roads were built to connect all these fishing villages; prior to the roads they were only connected by boats.  When the roads were completed a few years later modern conveniences like electric, etc. were added.  Then people began LEAVING as they now had the roads to explore their world.  SAD.

Many of the “towns” are very small with populations in the 100’s.

Lighthouse at L'Anse Amour/Amour Point

Tidbits:  almost every male in Newfoundland has a fairly new, big pick up truck, many families have an ATV of some kind and/or a snowmobile (that sounds like fun).  Firewood is mainly how they heat their homes (we do this as well) and they have SERIOUS piles of firewood.  Fried food is BIG on the list of eatables.  Frozen food is way more represented here than in the states.  If you want fresh foods, shop only in the biggest of towns.  If food/water/milk is expensive in Newfoundland, Labrador takes the prize for most expensive. Someone told us that Canada would have to have a draft for the armed services if Newfoundlanders/Labradorians didn’t sign up in such numbers.  Many of the men (young especially) go off to work in the oil industry in Alberta and commute home periodically...their nice homes in Newfoundland tell us that story.  There are a lot of nice, newer homes in Newfoundland.


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