Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Mary's Harbour

859849_10151915533415480_982053480_oFrom Red Bay, it was on to Battle Harbour to see Jan Hardy Walsh. Jan and I went to high school together, and I remember she spent her summers "down on the Labrador" in Battle Harbour. I had always wanted to go visit this place and now seemed as good a time as any.

Battle Harbour is a hard place to get to. It is an isolated island, and you have to reserve a room in order to stay overnight - you cannot just show up and hope for the best. The combination of challenges means that you had better plan on a stay in Mary's Harbour if you are going to Battle Harbour. Mary's Harbour is where the small ferry that services Battle Harbour is based. We decided to spend our "wait" time taking in the Mary's Harbour annual Crab Festival.

The challenge in visiting anywhere in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is finding a place to stay and a place to eat. In Mary's Harbour, the only place to stay was in a very small, one bedroom apartment in a 4-unit complex. There was no restaurant in town so we scrounged groceries at a couple of the local stores, and settled in for a three-day stay.

After getting our groceries stowed, we went for a walk around the harbour for a look-see. As with most outports, the houses are clustered close to the water.

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There were quite a few boats out in the water. Some busy, some not.

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Some were in danger of sinking.

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Some where serenaded by a rainbow.

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We got out for a couple of hikes. One was to a watering hole that seemed to be frequented by teens (judging by the empty beer cans).

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St. Lewis, a small community next to Mary's Harbour, caught my attention because it was founded by the Loders (my grandmother's maiden name). It is the most easterly permanent community on the North American mainland. We drove through the community for a look around and decided to stop in at the local heritage society museum.

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The building was manned by teens, who were very eager to get us to sign the register. I suspect they were hired on a government grant, which the visitor log helped justify.

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There were the usual fishing artifacts scattered about, but not much more to see or learn.

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Every museum, every store, and every shop in Newfoundland and Labrador seems to have the same artifacts on display. I fear that we may start killing the tourists with boredom, and I hope someone, somewhere, will devise a more interesting story to tell than what is usually on offer.


Back in Mary's Harbour, I discovered that Jan was not actually in Battle Harbour, but was in Mary's Harbour with her mom. She took us out for a walk to see some of her favourite haunts.

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Jan invited us over for a "cup of tea", which in Newfoundland really means being served more food than you can normally eat in a week. Her mom, Olive, was there. She is a delightful soul with a sharp memory of how things were back in the days when Battle Harbour was a busier place. I convinced Olive to let me take her photo, as I was drawn to the strength of her character, and her joy for life.

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The Crab Festival was held at the local school gym, and most everyone showed up for the social.

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Even the mascot was there.

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There was the usual assortment of musicians, which is always a nice touch to an event like this. Unfortunately, there were also far too many politicians ranting against everything and anyone not from Labrador (Someone should tell them this is not a good subject to talk about if the idea is to bring people into an event like this).

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We were also treated to royalty, although the "king" seemed a bit uncomfortable with the whole concept.

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Here is a list of links to all of the blog posts from my 2013 tour around Newfoundland:

Cuckolds Cove to Carbonear
Signal Hill
Boat Tour!
Bird Watching!
Whale Watching!
Fogo Part 1: Getting There
Fogo Part 2: Walking Around
Fogo Part 3: The Fishery
Fogo Part 4: The Fogo Island Inn
Twillingate Part 1: Getting There
Twillingate Part 2: Wine, Music, and Whine
Twillingate Part 3: An Iceberg and a Lighthouse
Twillingate Part 4: Down to the Sea in Boats
Trout River and Gros Morne National Park
St. Anthony: Grenfell House and Big Boats
St. Anthony: A Whale of a Tale!
St. Anthony: Ice, Ice, Baby!
Red Bay: A World Heritage Site
Mary's Harbour
Battle Harbour
Point Armour and Gros Morne


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