Day 46-48 Labrador   Leave a comment

The night before the ferry to Labrador, we had an ice cream social. Since the weather was chilly, ice cream was really not on our mind, but there certainly wasn’t any leftovers. Leaving our RVs in St. Barbe, Newfoundland, we departed early on the 1 ½ hour ferry ride over to Labrador.

Check out the tractor trailer coming off the ferry.

Our motor coach picked us up and Frank, a Labrador native, gave us a class I tour of the Red Bay Straits area.

The Red Bay Interpretative Center is home of the Chalupa, a whaling boat that is over 400 years old. It is the oldest surviving example of this type of boat building tradition.

It also houses the remains of what is believed to be the San Juan of Pasajes, a whaling ship that wrecked in 1565 loaded with 800 to 1,000 barrels of whale oil. It broke its mouring lines in a late fall storm and was driven ashore in Red Bay harbor where it sank.

The Right Whales have been nearly driven to extinction by the 1800s because they had the unfortunate distinction of being the “right” whale to hunt. They have been protected since 1937 and are considered the rarest of Baleen Whale species. They have nearly the same lifespan as humans. Their only natural predator is the killer whale. Red Bay’s municipal buildings houses the bones of a Right Whale found along their beaches.

At 109 feet Point Armour Lighthouse is the 2nd highest lighthouse in Canada and one of the oldest. It was constructed entirely of locally quarried limestone in 1854, first illuminated in 1858. During the 1920’s the keeper’s dwelling was converted to a duplex to accommodate assistant lightkeepers, who were often local people. Jeff Wyatt was the lightkeeper from 1919 until 1963.

7,000 years before the first European fisherman arrived in the Labrador Straits, the area was inhabited by a group of people now known as the Maritime Archaic Indians. In 1972, archaeologists discovered a peculiar mound of rocks near the L’Anse Amour Road. The rocks marked the resting place of a 12 year old who had died approximately 7,500 years ago. The body was buried face down with a flat rock on the lower back, covered with red ochre, wrapped in skins or birch bark, and placed in a large pit 1.5 metres deep. Fires were lit on either side of the body, and several spearheads of stone and bone placed beside the head. A walrus tusk, harpoon head, paint stones and a bone whistle were also placed with the body. It is believed that this was not a Maritime Archaic traditional burial, but maybe some type of ritual.

Whatever hats, teeshirts, or sweatshirts the guests could not find along the way, they found at the embroidery shop down the street from our hotel. Whatever design you want, they can do. They also had some other interesting items, like the “tea doll.” It is a replica of what the Innu Indians used to carry their extra stash of tea for emergency use. The children would carry their dolls, not realizing that they were stuffed with tea. If they needed tea, they would empty the doll while the child was asleep because it would be a dramatic experience for a child to see their doll ripped apart. Once they emptied it, they will stuff it with something else. The doll below is stuffed with Tetley Tea.

I found a beautiful fox hat, while Bill found a skunk hat….

Guess what we saw from the bus on our drive to the Newfoundland Ferry, ICEBERGS. Not many and they were way off in a distance.


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