Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Journey to the “Big Land”

 With the wind in what’s left of our hair and salt water on our lips, we stared at the rugged coastline looming in the distance.

We are on board the ferry M/S Apollo sailing from St. Barbe, Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon, Quebec for a few days of exploring the Southern coast of Labrador.

We took front row seats with a nice view.

Once on shore, we headed North.

This is one of the most difficult places to get to in Canada, with very few miles of paved road.  Almost all roads are gravel and until the 1990’s only a few communities were connected to the Canadian highway system.  Today, winter closes many roads for long periods and travel is often only by snow machine for hundreds of kilometers between very remote villages and can be very dangerous.

  Even in summer, some roads can be closed to all but four wheel drive.  The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, can be seen here 240 nights of the year

 First stop was the Gateway to Labrador Visitor Center, housed in the former St. Andrews church, originally 
constructed in 1919.

Soon after, we found ourselves in the small hamlet of L’Anse Amour, population, 9.

This is the site of the earliest known burial monument in North America, dating back to 7,500 years ago. 

 We stopped for the night at the point Amour Lighthouse, one of the two oldest working lighthouses in Canada today and the tallest lighthouse tower in Atlantic Canada.

                                              The tower is 109 feet high.

                                         The view from the top is spectacular.

First illuminated in 1858, it is probably the best one we have ever seen and it is still a  major navigational aid today.  We spent the night here watching whales and icebergs and listening to the waves crashing into the shore.

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