Thursday, May 21, 2015

Looking for the monks of Iona - Chapter 3

After a chilly night's sleep where the temperature went down into the low single digits and a breakfast of stick to your ribs porridge, we got ready to paddle out to the Iona Islands.

We struck out for the three km crossing to Merchant Island from Long Harbour Head under clear sunny skies and just a light breeze.

Approaching Merchant Island on the left with Hole in the Wall Island just over Terry.

Merchant Island is almost two kms long.  When we reached its northern end we got out to check out this grassy area for a possible campsite.  From the raised area we had a fine view of ...

... Burke Island and Long Harbour beyond.

Our net destination was Burke Island where Terry, resting, said the community of Iona stood as in ...

... right here.  OK, I've misled everyone.  These were the Iona Islands of Newfoundland and not Scotland where St. Columba founded his monastery.  Many places in Newfoundland bear names from the old counties of Ireland, Scotland and England.  Its easy to get confused *lol*.

Anywho, Iona had a booming population of 197 in 1838 which held relatively stable until between 1921 and 1935 when the population dropped to 67.  The community was dominated by families of Murphy, Griffin and Duke.  No one lives there anymore as the community was resettled to the mainland in the 1960's.

Terry got out to investigate while the rest of us waited.  Merchant Island on the left and King Island further in the distance in the center.

It was getting near lunch time when we crossed the short one km to Harbour Island so once we got there we ...

... got out to have something to eat.  Entering the protected cove we spotted two nesting Canada geese so we came ashore in these kelp covered rocks well away so as not to disturb the rare, for Newfoundland, birds.

A community at Harbour Island first appeared in the census of 1911 when 57 persons were listed.  This community is also abandoned.  It appears its only used now to graze sheep while the ...

... scattered, fallen tombstones look on.

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