Friday, July 8, 2011

The Labrador Trail

We left St. Andrews this morning driving south along the Labrador Trail.  To our west is the Strait of Belle Isle and Labrador and to our south is the Viking Trail and Gros Morne National Park.

                                  We are still seeing iceburgs close to shore.

Here, each small fishing community is accompanied by large piles of lobster traps and the largest stacks of cut firewood that we have ever seen. 

 People have lived along this harsh coastline for thousands of years and all have been dependent on the sea.  Maritime Archaic Indians, Dorset and Palaeo-Eskimos, the Basque, the French and the English have all fished here.

Winter here is long and mean and these people are well prepared and ready to deal with it.

We passed this European tour bus along the way.  We occasionally see one of these in our travels.

   They are self contained with their own sleeping area and outside kitchen.

We have not yet been able to go inside of one of these, but would find that to be quite interesting.
   Everyone here has at least one ATV, snow machine and large wood pile.  Many yards have several of each.  Seals are still harvested here on a limited basis. The framed seal skins are first taken to a warm fresh-water pond. 

 The skins are placed into the water with the hair facing upward. Large rocks are placed onto the frames, sinking them below the surface of the water, thus preventing the sun from burning the skins. In 3-4 weeks, micro-organisms in the water remove the fur from the skins.  The skins are then dried in the sun.

The Flowers Island Lighthouse, with Labrador in the background, is the prettiest one we have seen.

The St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Flowers Cove is very picturesque in a very photogenic setting.  It is known as the Seal Skin Boot Church because it was financed by selling seal skin boots.

                         The inside is very pretty in it’s simplicity.

                     It reminds us of some small village churches in Mexico.
The harsh, cold wind along the coast causes vegetation to become stunted in it’s growth.  Trees and shrubbery lean away from the wind and greenery on the coastal side is absent.  This vegetation is referred to as Tuckamore.

Newfoundland is known as “The Rock”and the geology here is truly varied and unique.

                                 We found this ship unloading salt in St. Barbe.

                                 We saw this type of boat in Alaska several years ago.

The large boat drags a long net in the water with the small boat attached to the other end.
   The small boat travels in a large circle behind the larger one and traps any fish in it.  When the circle is nearly complete, the net is pulled aboard the large ship and the catch is removed.

We stayed tonight in the village of Port au Choix.  Traditionally, the Cod fishery was the most important fishery here.  It has not fully recovered from over fishing.  Salmon fishing was also important at one time but closed in the 1980’s.  Seal and herring are still harvested,  but lobster is the most important fishery today.

The view from our window is typical of the area.

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