Archive for August, 2008

Drip, Drip, Drip

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

72 km, 4h 40 min ride time.

Today was very wet. When we left in the morning, it was raining lightly, however, it didn’t take too long to pick up. It was not nearly as bad as Friday, but still bad enough that we were quite wet and soggy when we pulled into Pat’s Place restaurant in Victoria Cove. We were still debating whether or not to go straight to Gander and skip the coastal road or take the coastal road which would add 100 km to our journey. The coastal route would definitely be more scenic, but 100 km at our current speeds is a day and a half. We are hoping to make it to St. John’s in time to attend Sunday church service at the Avalon Unitarian Fellowship.

We discovered at Pat’s Place that there was a new B&B in Carmanville. This was definitely a high point for Becky, as she wasn’t sure where she would find the energy to make it an additional 50 km to Gander or 57+ km to Musgrave Harbour in what had now become a downpour. The 30 km to Carmanville and the promise of a warm dry place to stay helped us decide which route to take: the Coast Road, since Carmanville is 20 km after the turn-off.

It turned out to be a fortuitous decision. When we reached Auntie M’s B&B in Carmanville, we discovered that the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) was closed between Gander and Gambo. This meant that every place to stay in Gander was packed, so it would have been a challenge to find a home for the night.

This is the first time the Newfoundland TCH has been closed in the summer! Apparently the heavy rainfall has made the ground soggy enough that traffic on the TCH may cause it to collapse into the houses in Gambo below. There have already been some minor landslides in the area. Hopefully by the time we get to Gambo, all will be resolved.

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Twillingate, but not Fogo

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

60 km, 4 hours ride time (no gear)

Our original plan was to ride unloaded to Twillingate, then ride back (50 km – 60 km round trip), pack up and go on to Farewell to catch the ferry to Fogo (another 47 km). This turned out to be just slightly unrealistic, since the hills between Dildo Run and Twillingate were pretty much constant, and the hills to Long Point were quite brutal, with sustained 20% grades in a couple of spots. Combine that with headwinds, and even unloaded, that was a bit much for us.

The views from the Long Point lighthouse were worth it though – gorgeous vistas, and a variety of whales feeding below. We probably had a better view than the tour boats, albeit not as close. Also, with the cliffs so close, the ocean swell and reflections made for confused seas – a sure recipe for seasickness on the tour boats.

There was also a fudge shop with ice cream – both were delicious. Between the views and the fudge it was a worthwhile trade for the hills.
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We stopped for lunch at the R&J restaurant – typical Newfoundland fare. Scott had the Fisherman’s Brewis: boiled cod with hard-tack (a hard bread which lasts forever) soaked in cold water, then boiled and mixed with the cod. (With a salt pork gravy including little bits of “crackle” aka pig skin). It doesn’t sound too appetizing, but it was very tasty and quite filling – just right after the ride.

We headed back to camp, but headwinds continued to slow us, and we decided to spend another night in at Dildo Run.

Unfortunately we didn’t see more of Twillingate Island – it looks quite interesting, lots of history, and interesting activities. We’d like to come back and see “The Iceberg Capital of the World” during iceberg season (May and June) sometime.

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… Moreton’s Harbour, all around the circle

Friday, August 15th, 2008

We awoke to pouring rain, and it continued throughout the morning. We took that as a sign that this would be a lazy day, and we’d stay at Dildo Run for two nights. Also, looking at the map, it was a 50+ km round trip to Twillingate, and that isn’t much fun in pouring rain. We had a relaxing breakfast under the picnic shelter near our campsite, and even got to make toast! (thanks to the loan of a campstove toaster from Trevor – he and family were also using the shelter to avoid the rain).

By 1:00 pm, Scott was bored. Yesterday he had been singing “I’s the b’y that builds the boat” all day, especially the part about “Fogo, Twillingate, Moreton’s Harbour, all around the circle”, so despite the rain (now downgraded to a “steady rain” from “downpour”), he decided to ride out to Moreton’s Harbour. Becky decided that staying in the tent with a book was a much better idea, and at first Scott was thinking she was probably right.

It was a very wet ride, but he made it to Moreton’s Harbour, and there was an unexpected bonus at the end – a museum! And not just any museum, but one which served a traditional Newfoundland “Mug Up” in the afternoon: tea, toast and jam, biscuits, molasses cookies and more. He was in heaven!
After being plied with goodies by Angie, Gordon gave him a guided tour of the museum – lots of artifacts from the 1800s and early 1900s showing how the folks in Moreton’s Harbour lived. Beautiful dresses made from dyed flour and sugar sacks, lacework and crochet, improvised tools as well as lots of antiques. Until recently, this entire area was only accessible via water, with the “CNR Boat” providing mail and freight service.

It was also interesting to hear about the Schooner Fishery from the other side. At Battle Harbour we heard that the schooners had it much easier, since they could go out and find the cod, even offshore, and got to live in much more hospitable climes than Labrador. From the Moreton’s Harbour perspective, while the schooners were effective, it did mean fishermen were away for weeks and months at a time, and if a schooner was lost, it was a major blow to the village, since few men would survive to reach shore or another schooner.

It was a neat little museum, and nice to see people working to preserve their heritage. (There’s a similar sort of museum back home in Nepean, but have we ever been there? Nope. Makes us wonder if there’s similarly interesting information in that museum…)

It was also interesting to get a perspective on housing prices in rural Newfoundland. Angie and her husband have recently moved back from St. John’s, and were able to buy a good-sized, recently-built house for less than $25 000! That seems like a pretty good deal, even if it did need some work. This area isn’t even that remote. It’s less than 1 hour to Gander, and a few hours to St. John’s, but there isn’t much work available. They were originally from the area, so they knew what they were moving back to, and it does seem like a great place to raise a family.

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Glad to be back on The Rock

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

5h 30 min, 84 km

The ferry got in early, which meant we didn’t get quite as much sleep as we would have liked. We had one night sleeping on the floor of the bar, which wasn’t too bad with earplugs and eyeshades, but not totally restful. Last night we had berths – much cheaper than a cabin, and quite comfortable, just not long enough. We did have breakfast on the ferry, so once we were off we were able to get on the road relatively quickly.

Lewisporte was a bit of culture shock, even though we’d been in Goose Bay for a few days. Not just paved roads and traffic lights, but an actual McDonalds! (We didn’t feel the need to go in though). It is nice to have paved highways again – much faster and easier than gravel.

We stopped to pick fresh strawberries and raspberries at a “u-pick”. The actual fields turned out to be a 1-2 km diversion each way (and they were not attached, so we added about 6 km to our day). The berries were wonderful, so the detour was definitely worthwhile – especially after two weeks of poor and expensive produce in Labrador. Both the strawberries and the raspberries seemed much more flavourful than the ones we normally get in Ontario, even though the strawberries were at the very end of their season.

We stopped at the Beothuk Interpretation Center … Scott slept through the film and Becky wished she could take a power nap, as a wave of exhaustion hit her at the center. I guess we both needed a little more than 6 hours sleep last night! The exhibit was centred around an archeological discovery in 1981 which gave some clues about their way of life, and was interesting, but with the last Beothuk dying in 1820, there’s very little we know about them.

We didn’t quite make it to Twillingate because we were both a little too tired to continue on. We decided to stop at the Dildo Run Provincial Park, about 25km early. Perhaps a 110km day with hills after a 6 day break wasn’t the best plan.

We do wonder who names these places… Dildo Run Park is just outside of Virgin Arm on New World Island!

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Hanging out in Happy Valley – Goose Bay

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

20 km around Goose Bay

We arrived on the ferry shortly before 8 am, and our bikes continued to entertain other travelers as we loaded up and rode into Goose Bay. It’s 8 km from the ferry terminal to Goose Bay, which wasn’t what we were expecting. Fortunately the road was asphalt, which was novel enough after our last week. We also saw our first traffic light since St. Anthony, so we’re definitely back in the big city now!

In Goose Bay we are staying with a friend’s cousin. Thank-you Susan for putting us in contact with Joanna, and thank-you Joanna for giving us a home for our two nights in Goose Bay. We had a great time visiting with Joanna and playing with Paige and Audrey. It was the break we needed from bike travel and we are very glad we made the side trip to Goose Bay. We even got to meet Joanna’s husband Peter for a few minutes. He works at the Voisey’s Bay mine, and is on a one week on/one week off rotation, so got home shortly before we left for the ferry.

On Monday (Aug 11), we ran some errands around town with our bikes, then borrowed Joanna’s truck to go see North West River. We arrived a little later than expected, so only had time to visit the Labrador Interpretation Centre (the museum was closed when we went to see it).

On Tuesday (Aug 12), we finished packing up and headed out to the ferry. We managed to get the tent professionally patched, so looks almost good as new (and hopefully just as waterproof).

We are now on the boat for 36 hours, including a 2 hour stop in Cartwright. The boat does not appear to be nearly as busy as it was on the way to Goose Bay, which hopefully means a pleasant ride.

Bond vs. Ranger – how to get to Goose Bay?

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Becky awoke at 7 am and figured she’d go for a walk around Cartwright rather than wake Scott up. We wanted to be at the ferry terminal when the office opened so that we could get on the appropriate wait list for the ferry. When she got to the terminal, she discovered the office didn’t open until 9 pm, so she went for a wander-around town.

Becky soon came upon Debbie, whom we had met the day before in our wanderings. Debbie was standing on the porch enjoying a cup of coffee, so Becky asked if she could possibly have a cup. Debbie invited her in and she had a great visit with Debbie and Mik. Debbie and Mik live in Goose Bay and were in Cartwright visiting Mik’s sister Sharon who works at the weather station in Cartwright. Mik grew up in Paradise River – this was interesting because both Adrian and family (where we stayed last night) and Barb (at the B&B in Port Hope Simpson) grew up in Paradise River. We were amused by the number of people we met from Paradise River given that it currently has a population of 18!

We had not yet decided which ferry we were going to take. One option was to take the Northern Ranger to Black Tickle, and then up to Goose Bay. This would mean departing Cartwright at about 5 pm and arriving in Goose Bay at 10:30 pm the next evening. If we could get a cabin on the boat, the trip to Black Tickle would be interesting and give us a point of comparison from our trip on the Nordik Express up the North shore of Quebec.

The other option was the overnight ferry (the Bond), which left at 7 pm and arrived in Goose Bay at 8 am. This is the same boat that would take us to Lewisporte on Tuesday. When I called from Port Hope Simpson, the reservation agent told us the boat was sold out and we couldn’t make a reservation even to walk on. When talking to the locals, they all said we would have no trouble walking on, but it was highly unlikely we would get a cabin. Given the fullness of this boat, the Northern Ranger looked like a more interesting option.

The Northern Ranger arrived at 3 pm, and we looked into getting on it. Unfortunately the purser could not guarantee us a cabin and we would not know for certain until after the boat sailed. The boat did not have a decent loading ramp, so we would need to load our bikes by lifting them over a 4 foot gap between the wharf and the boat. In addition, a lot of the folks from the boat entered the Northern Store in Cartwright and proceeded to clear out the beer, wine and liquor section. This did not bode well for a peaceful trip to Black Tickle. Given that, we decided to pass on the Northern Ranger.

In the end, we had no issues with getting walk-on tickets for the Bond for the evening sailing. We were very low on the room list, so we knew we needed to find our own place on the boat for the night.

The boat (MV Bond) has a very negative reputation with the locals, but we didn’t find the experience too bad. The food, however, is awful. If you plan to take this boat, also plan to bring enough food to last your journey. It was good that we only needed one meal on the way to Goose Bay.

We spent the first part of the evening hanging out in the bar with Kraig and Kara from BC. They were on a two month road trip visiting all the provinces for their honeymoon before Kraig starts practicing medicine, and Kara goes back to her Physiotherapy clinic. Scott got creamed by both of them in crib, while Becky took advantage of the free wireless Internet to do some blog updates. The free wireless on the boat will come in handy during the 36 hour trip to Lewisporte. At one point in the evening Becky noticed an iceberg in the distance. It was really cool to actually see an real iceberg. Unfortunately, it was rather far away, so it was difficult to capture in a photo.

We didn’t have a cabin, so we setup the tent on the upper deck and slept in it. It worked out pretty well, except we foolishly moved it around with a bag in it (so it wouldn’t blow away). The rough deck surface and the heavy bag made several small holes in the floor, which we now need to repair. For some reason we thought it would hold up OK without being anchored. Given the winds on the deck, that was a foolish assumption. After setting it up, we tied it down to various pipes and benches, but it still flapped a bit. Next time we’ll anchor the corners down before setting the tent up.

We slept quite well on the deck and awoke to the smell of bacon. Unfortunately we had placed the tent a little too near the galley exhaust. For the next trip – if we don’t get a cabin – we’ll need to find a better location. There is a ton of deck space, so we shouldn’t have an problem finding a better spot. We’ll have two nights on the Bond on our way from Goose Bay to Lewisporte.

Farther from Paradise

Friday, August 8th, 2008

77 km, 6 h 30 min ride time

We awoke to a few isolated bouts of rain and a collection of mosquitoes clinging to the outside of the tent at about 6 am. It appears that Labrador has mosquitoes in addition to black flies! It wasn’t nearly as warm as yesterday. Scott hoped that the rain would make the bugs go away – Becky knew better. The flies began to swarm us the moment we got out of our tent.

We gobbled down a quick snack and jumped onto the bikes. We were riding by 7 am – a record for us. Once we were moving the flies released their grip on us, and it was quite pleasant. Becky was still getting bitten occasionally under her head net, so Scott offered to trade. That only lasted about 30 minutes before he decided to actually fix the net, rather than suffering as Becky had been doing. Just after he stopped, another car stopped to take photos of us, and a lady with much nimbler fingers helped him re-feed the broken elastic through the channel. Re-tied, it was good as new.

We had been told by Cyril and Barb of a spring by the side of the road at around the 90 km mark, and were starting to run low on water, so starting at 90km were keeping a close eye. At 100km we were afraid we’d missed it, but fortunately Scott spotted it – signed by a rock with a white hardhat and orange spray paint. (for future reference it’s at N53.03909 W57.43160). We filled up all available water containers, since we weren’t sure if we would be camping tonight. This added an extra 8-9 litres to Scott’s load, which helped to slow him down on the climbs.

By 11 am, we were hungry and in need of a break. We came upon the intersection of the 516 and 510 (where the road will go to Goose Bay when it is complete) and found ourselves a flat place to set up our tent and have a cooked breakfast. Scott boiled the water while Becky set up the food inside the tent. It was nice to escape the bugs for a few minutes. Scott even found some ripe blueberries, which made a nice treat.

During lunch we had an animated discussion about how to proceed. Becky suggested that this really wasn’t fun and that we should hitch a ride with the first truck that could take us. We had only been passed by 3 vehicles all morning, so the options were limited. Scott wanted to keep riding, thinking we might make it to Cartwright if the road leveled out, and if not, at least we had enough water to camp and make dinner and breakfast, leaving a short ride tomorrow. At this point, Cartwright was still 90 km away, so we had a fair ways to go yet. We agreed to keep riding until 4:00, and keep an eye out for vehicles which could pick us up – leaving things to chance.

After our lunch break, the wind picked up and the flies fled. It was nice to ride without the bug nets over our heads. It didn’t get any flatter though, so riding to Cartwright today looked pretty unlikely.

At one point Becky said to Scott “I feel like Paradise River has been 10 km away for the last 5 km”, Scott replied “That’s because it is still 11.5 km away”. At that point, Becky almost lost it, she was exhausted and getting frustrated with the slow pace on the dirt road, and the inaccurate road signs.

At 3:30 pm we passed a grater on the road. The fresh grade took the good road and made it not quite as nice for us on bikes. The road was smoother, but it meant that the road was more uniform and the soft spots and hard spots were not distinguishable. It still wasn’t as bad as the road yesterday, but further dispirited Becky. At 4:00 the grader operator caught up with us in his pickup truck. Once Becky spotted him in her rearview mirror, she stopped her bike and stuck out her thumb. “Peter the grader guy” stopped and was happy to give us a lift into Cartwright. Paradise River was still 10 km away and Cartwright was an additional 42 km from there. In his pickup truck we didn’t make it to Cartwright until 4:45 (just before the gas station closed). This was Peter’s last week as a grader operator, since the company he is working for lost the contract for road maintenance. He’s hoping the new company will need to hire him – there aren’t many people living here year-round who can drive the heavy equipment, but it’s the company building the road to Goose Bay who won the contract, and he hasn’t heard anything from his application yet. Good luck Peter!

Peter dropped us off at the hotel near the ferry, where we hoped to get a room for the night. Cartwright is a rather spread out town, covering more than 5 km of roads. There are two hotels, one near the ferry and the other a full 5 km away at the airport. Unfortunately, Kraig and Kara (folks from British Columbia on their honeymoon) took the last room just before we arrived. We called around to the B&Bs, but they were either closed or full. The other hotel only had 1 smoking room left. After our experience with a “just cleaned” smoking room in Oswego, we figured sleeping in our tent was a better option.

After an OK dinner at the Mug Up café, we hung around town visiting with various people and talking about our bikes, trying to kill time until it was late enough to set up our tent in the ferry terminal parking lot. When we mentioned our plans to Adrian and Joy, they invited us to camp in Adrian’s family’s backyard (now his brother Brian’s home). We were happy to accept a place that was a little more private than the ferry terminal and gave us a shed to store the bikes and some of our gear for the night. As an added benefit we had tea and a delightful visit with Adrian, Joy, and their little daughter Madison.

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Caught my eye… a blackfly that is…

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

72 km and 6h 30 ride time.

Today we began something of a crazy journey, riding our bikes from Port Hope Simpson to Cartwright. The road is 195 km long. The only sign of civilization along the road is Paradise River, which is 40 km outside of Cartwright and has a population of 18. Per usual, we started late. We didn’t leave Port Hope Simpson until 1:00 pm, after visiting more with Cyril and Barb. The weather was sunny and hot – a bit of a challenge when you need to cover up to avoid the flies.

The road continued to diverge dramatically from what Google and the Topo Maps told us. We have no idea where they got their information, but it was clearly incorrect. See the GPS track below if you’re interested in where the road actually goes…

Update:The road shown below is from the Google Maps API, which uses TeleAtlas data. It turns out to be much more accurate in this instance than, which uses NAVTEQ map data. Here’s some commentaryabout the differences.

Our progress was slow. Becky used the excuse that we spent most of the day climbing – but the road also didn’t help. It was a nice gravel road without much loose gravel. Most of the time we found a solid track, but gravel is still much slower than asphalt.

A few kilometers outside of Port Hope Simpson, Isabelle (who we met in Battle Harbour) passed us. She and her daughter Katie were headed to Charlottetown and just stopped to say hi. Her son David and his friend are riding their bicycles from St. John’s to Vancouver, but they weren’t foolish enough to ride the Trans Labrador Highway.

Once we passed the Charlottetown turnoff, there was very little to distinguish one section of the road from another. There were a few muddy trickles which crossed under the road, various mounds of dirt and quarries from the road construction, and one logging road. We were excited to see a trailer parked on a small side road at one point, but no-one appeared to be home. The only other sign of humanity was a road Grader parked in a pullout.

The sun and heat made the road a bit dusty, but fortunately most vehicles slowed to pass us, and there was enough wind to blow the dust clouds quickly off the road. We were only passed by 20 vehicles or so – not much traffic.

Late in the afternoon, Becky broke the elastic strap in her head net, which made it much less effective. Now, instead of keeping all the bugs away from her head, it kept most away, but then trapped any that did get in, so they were stuck close to her head. It was an interesting experiment, and verified that Labrador Flies will indeed bite more than once. (Not an experiment we need to repeat).

At about 7 pm, we stopped at the side of the road for a food and rest break. The bugs were so bad that we needed to set up the tent just to eat. We did a quick setup and climbed inside for a snack. It was good that we had lots of prepared food, so we didn’t need to cook.

We were back on the road for 8 pm and rode for an hour. By 9 pm we had to stop, as it was starting to get dark. We found a flat mound on the side of the road and set up our tent for the night. We were surprised by how quiet it is here. Back home, we would have heard birds and animals scurrying around in the night. It was pretty close to silent with the only sound being the swishing of trees in the light wind.

Unfortunately we discovered that a fly had bitten Becky right on the edge of her eyelid, and it was starting to swell. It was itchy, but not bad enough to prevent her from sleeping.

When Becky got up for a mid-nighttime bathroom break, the sky was still clear. There were many more stars than we can usually see and you could clearly see the Milky Way. You could also see the clouds starting to form … it wasn’t to remain clear.

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Dirt versus gravel

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

54 km, 5 hours ride time

We left Battle Harbour with some sadness, since it has been a very relaxing respite, but it’s a bit expensive for our budget, and if we ever hope to get back to Newfoundland we need to tackle the Trans Labrador Highway again.

We discovered today that there is a significant difference between a freshly gravelled road and a dirt road. In the towns along the coast, there are many dirt roads (hard packed dirt with a bit of gravel), which are usually quite pleasant to ride on – all you need to do is avoid the potholes, and at the speeds we are going this isn’t a problem. Fresh gravel is an entirely different challenge. All of the of the Trans Labrador Highway is gravel once you get north of Red Bay.

The gravel today is better than the stretch from Red Bay to Mary’s Harbour, but in many parts has been recently resurfaced, which makes it nice for cars, but not so pleasant for bikes. The resurfaced gravel means there are no “tracks” where the road is dirt, rather it is all loose stones. That made for a slow and bumpy ride.

The road from Mary’s Bay to Port Hope Simpson is very scenic. The landscape completely changes a few times as you approach hills or corners, which helped keep us entertained as we rode.

At one point a car passed us, then stopped. A couple of people got out and quickly took a few pictures of us. We were both rather amused and happy to oblige people with a pose for a picture.

We had been warned about the big trucks on the road and the dust and rocks they throw, but every big truck (in either direction) slowed right down before passing us and usually honked or waved hello (of course we’re usually waving too). We did have a couple of smaller cars pass us a little closer or faster than they should, throwing rocks and dust at us. Everyone else, including the pickups were very polite. Fortunately, there is very little traffic on these roads – just enough to feel safe, but not so much that you are breathing dust all day.

We are staying at Campbell’s Place B&B, which was new, clean and had private baths – a nice luxury. Becky was tired and went to bed early, but Scott had a nice visit with both Cyril and Barb (the owners) and played with their 9-month old daughter Serena. Barb is of native heritage, and she had some interesting things to say about growing up in this area. She grew up in Paradise River, was 100+ people, now about 18, since many people moved out after the road went in. She has taught Caribou Tufting and Grass Weaving at the Friendship Centre in Goose Bay, which we’d like to go see when we are there. She also recommended checking out “Moulder of Dreams” – a pottery program in Port Hope Simpson, which we may try to do tomorrow.

We also met Dave, a guy from Moncton who owns a freight/logistics company. The job he’s doing now is moving a bunch of logs from the area down to the pulp mill in Cornerbrook, and he has rented a barge which can hold 4000 cords of wood (that’s a lot of wood!). He also has his own plane, which he uses to fly his guys back and forth, since it only takes 3 days to load the barge, and his crane operators are from New Brunswick. Interesting fellow. He offered to let us ride down to Cornerbrook on the barge, and we were definitely tempted. It would have been an interesting transit – 40 hours on the barge, but we are looking forward to seeing Happy Valley-Goose Bay and visiting with Susan’s cousin Joanna.

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Battle Harbour – Peace and History

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

walked 5.4 km around Battle Island

Today feels more like a vacation day than a rest day. That may be because we didn’t actually ride to get here, or it may be because of the location. Battle Harbour is certainly in the middle of nowhere. To get here, you need to follow the Trans Labrador Highway either 180 km northwest from the Blanc-Sablon or 240 km south from Cartwright. In both cases, there is at least 90 km of gravel highway. Then you need to take an hour long boat trip. If you are looking for a place to get away from it all, this is a great place!

Battle Island is very quiet and peaceful because it is so remote, and is also an interesting historic site. In the 1850s, Battle Harbour was the most populous and important settlement in Labrador. It was the hub of the Labrador fishery until the closure of the fishery in 1993, and many of the buildings date back to the 1800s. It was converted to a historic trust in 1993, and restoration and interpretation of the site has progressed since then. There are daily tours where you can learn about the historical significance of the place and how the fisheries worked in Labrador until the early 1990s.

We spend much of the day lazing about in the cozy wood-heated bunkhouse. Scott attended the full tour and Becky the first half of it until it got too cold and rainy.

Battle Harbour had one of the first Marconi stations in Labrador, and also one of the most long-reaching, so Robert E. Peary stopped here to give a news conference in 1909 where he claimed to have reached the North Pole.

We had some nice visits with various other tourists that were staying and got to know a few of the staff – many of whom grew up in Battle Harbour.