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Labrador bound

End of July 2022

For weeks we had wondered if we were up for the challenge of adding Labrador in to our itinerary. I had reservations at Pinware Provincial Park in case and the ferry ride is short and cheap plus the dogs had shown they could handle a sea voyage so off we went. After giving the dogs their doggie CBD biscuits and their Dramamine hidden in peanut butter they licked off my fingers, we left them set up with water and went up and out to the forward outside deck, after purchasing a quick meal of sandwich and soup. It was a calm mild day and enjoyable on the benchs.

We looked and looked but saw no whales. Halfway across a fog started to build. We didn’t notice until the alarming fog horn went off! Soon we saw land and then it was time to disembark. The road took us through small coastal towns and up and down hills but remained misty. It was not long before we turned into the park to discover we were in one of the magical pull through sites along the beach road. A path up through the flower strewn grasses lead up and over onto a wide strand of beach out to a point where the Pinware River met the Labrador Sea. Even the quick discovery of massive clouds of black flies failed to completely disenchant us.

On our one full day we started the morning north at Red Bay - yet another UNESCO world site. The Basque whalers in the 1500s set up a whale processing site here for the whale oil for the lamps of Europe. They left in the early 1600s and the history was only discovered recently through archived documents and archeological work. Parks Canada operates a center here that has fascinating artifacts and stories. They have a shuttle boat across to the island where most of the excavated foundations etc were found. We thought about it as they said the dogs could come but then a tour bus and several other dogs showed up and that’s old have been pushing our luck.

Before we went to the center we had found the “Boney Shore Trail” - this runs along an area where they discovered the whalers had tossed bones and skeletons. At first the fog stayed, giving me great shots of the offshore islands and a large whale skull. There were plenty of rocks to check out as well. All of the whale bone there is protected so as to preserve the setting for all. Much had been removed early on for carving etc but there is still plenty there to happen upon as you hike.

After lunch we went south to the Point Amour Lighthouse. It was by now a beautiful sunny day and that made for nice photos. We followed a trail along the shore that led to the metal wreck pieces of the HMS Raleigh, a British ship that ran aground last century. There were also “patch reefs” - 530 million year old remains of sponge like prehistoric sea denizens that have fossilized into what looks like stone quilt patches. Back at the lighthouse I checked in on an art exhibit by a woman with a connection to the lighthouse housekeeper back when it was manned and peeked into the parlor of the lighthouse but ducked out of the tour.

On our way out we stopped at the burial mound of a Maritime Archaic child who lived their short life 7500 years ago, part of a people that inhabited that whole area then. That puts things in perspective in multiple ways! There was interesting info on how the coast and land had changed as well.

The next morning we got a good beach dog exercise in then off to the ferry. It leaves from Blanc Sablon just over the border in Quebec to go to St Barbe in Newfoundland. Now, Newfoundland is on it’s own time - an hour AND A HALF (!) past Eastern time that Quebec is on. (Nova Scotia is just the usual hour behind). The ferry schedule states that all times are listed in Newfoundland times. Confused yet? We kept doing the math to make we were on time for the two hour beforehand deadline for lining up. We were old hands at ferries now and enjoyed another mild crossing with nothing but a few seabirds to enliven it.

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