Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Point Amour and Gros Morne

2013_NL_F22_059Battle Harbour was the apex of our tour, and from there it was time to retrace our steps back to the island and to St. John's. "Retrace" is not quite accurate, as we planned to stop and see many places we didn't see on the way up to Battle Harbour, such as the lighthouse at Point Amour.

I didn't write much about the Trans-Labrador Highway in the posts about our trip northward, but the road was pretty bad. Or at least the gravel section from Red Bay to Mary's Harbour was. I am tempted not to call it a road at all, but a cow-path. I was glad we were driving an SUV because the potholes were deep and frequent, and the extra axle clearance of the SUV was required. Certainly no low-slung sports car would make it through. This particular stretch of the road wasn't too bad, though.

Note: Click on any image to see a full-resolution version on Flickr.

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There is not much in the way of scenery, as the landscape is pretty barren, so your mind can wander as you drive.

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The monotony is broken when you come over a hill and see a small outport, which can be quite picturesque. In this case we found ourselves back at Red Bay, which marked the end of the gravel road.

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One of the things that is hard to explain to city people is what it is like to live in a place where people do not live on top of one another, but I think this photo will help. Going to the neighbours to borrow some sugar can be a bit of a trek, especially if you live out on an island in the middle of a harbour!

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One of the places we wanted to stop in and see on the return half of the tour was the lighthouse at Point Amour. The lighthouse is a Provincial Heritage site, which I find funny, since it was a foreign government (Canada) that built it. The Canadians were interested in putting a lighthouse here because so much of their sea traffic came through the Strait of Belle Isle. The Strait has notoriously strong currents, and there is usually plenty of ice to deal with, so I can see the need for them to chip in to have the structure built. The light house is the highest in Atlantic Canada, and the second highest in the country.

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Normally you can see the other side of the Strait, which would be the Island of Newfoundland, but on this day, there was bad weather on the other side and nothing could be seen except nice, puffy clouds.

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Built in 1857, they had no fancy building materials and to get the strength they needed, the walls had to be very, very thick. Here you can see the passage from the lighthouse back into the house. The open door does not span the thickness of the wall at the base of the lighthouse!

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From Point Amour, it was a very short trip to the ferry terminal in Blanc Sablon. We were early and with a couple of hours to kill, I grabbed my camera. An oil-tank farm caught my eye, as I have been photographing them since I was 16. I love their lines and shapes.

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As I was shooting these gulls sitting on a roof, I noticed how strange the sky was in the background.

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The sky was an odd combination of dense overcast, with a gap on the horizon, and a layer of surface fog. I saw the same thing all the way up and down the Strait. It made for an interesting background for these two fishers and the gulls watching over them.

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A small fishing boat in the offing also caught my eye.

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There was quite a bit of small, inshore boat traffic, as fishers came in from their morning's work. I guess that's why everyone was hanging around at the wharf - they were looking to catch up on how everyone fared that morning.

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After making the crossing back to the island, we headed to The Arches, a natural rock formation at the sea's edge.

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The rocks are pretty big, as you can see by the size of these people standing on them.

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Wave action has eroded the rock into the arch pattern.

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It does get very, very windy in Newfoundland. In some places, like The Wreckhouse, the wind is strong enough to blow a locomotive off the tracks. Not surprisingly, the locals have had to adapt their construction to suit the environment. Who would want to use an outhouse prone to blowing over?

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As we were driving away from The Arches, I saw a colony of Purple Loosestrife, a weed native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and oddly, southeastern Australia. It was somehow introduced into Newfoundland in the 80's and found the environment very inviting. While I didn't see any as I grew up on the island, the plant is now everywhere.

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On the way through Gros Morne National Park, I saw a couple of Parks Canada's red chairs, so we stopped to add them to our growing collection of Red Chair photographs.

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The view from the chairs was remarkably relaxing.

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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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