Friday, July 9, 2010

Getting into position

Loading the gear

So after 2 days of paddling in the local Burgeo area, it was Tuesday - ferry day.

The primary reason we had come to Burgeo was to take the last ferry to Grand Bruit and then on towards Rose Blanche to paddle the approximately 100 kms back. Grand Bruit, a community that's existed for over 150 years was being resettled and the ferry was being discontinued.

We were going to live part of Newfoundland's history and be eye witnesses to the depopulation and resettlement of a remote community. I've been in resettled communities many years after when the building had fallen down. Now, I was going to be at the funeral.

Waiting to board

The Marine Eagle landed in Burgeo from Grand Bruit with a full compliment of passengers (surprisingly limited to 12) and their household belongings. Some of the passengers were making their last ferry trip out of Gran Bruit and I sensed it was a solemn occasion.

It took some time to offload the freight and as we waited we fielded questions about our boats and our plans.

All aboard

We lugged the fully loaded boats aboard and lay them on the rear deck.

Surveying the coast

We stayed on deck for our ferry ride to Grand Bruit aboard the Marine Eagle to survey the coast we would be paddling back along in a couple of days.

Joe, proprietor of the Cramalott Inn at Grand Bruit, gave us tips on where we were as we sailed and where we could get off the water if we needed. It was a lot of information to remember.

Arrival at Grand Bruit

A 3 hour steam at 9 knots brought us to Grand Bruit. The church dominated the community with the Blue Hills of Grand Brut behind.

Comfy in Grand Bruit

We were given the keys to the home of one of the relocated families where we holed up for the night hoping to get on the ferry the next day for Rose Blanche. It was touch and go because the ferry could only take 12 persons and the freight waiting to be moved meant there was no room for our boats. We anguished over what to do.

But, lady luck was on our side. The weather turned miserable overnight; it rained and the wind blew hard. The wind whipped the sea into a sizeable swell so much so that the rear deck of the ferry was awash and they couldn't take the household freight. The next morning we got our boats aboard, secured them and we were on our way to Rose Blanche.

Next day departure

Having gotten on the ferry at Grand Bruit we steamed almost 3 hours aboard the Marine Eagle to Rose Blanche. When we arrived at Rose Blanche the only suitable camping space was beside a run-down fish plant so Ralph arranged for free transport to Harbour le Cou, 5 minutes away. There we set up our tents by a vacant house, cooked supper and hit the hay for an early morning departure.

The serious business was about to begin.

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