Monday, July 11, 2016

Great Colinet Island (2016) Part 1

Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador's introduction to kayak camping trip happened this past weekend (July 9 - 10) on Great Colinet Island.  We met at 9:00 to convoy out to Admirals Beach in St. Marys Bay where we carried the kayaks to the water's edge and began to fill them with the necessities for camping.

The weekend started off with a bang.  A beluga had been hanging out in the harbour for a couple of months.  As we got on the water and floated waiting for everyone to launch it swam around checking us out.  It wasn't chased or harried.  We shared a mutual curiosity about each other.

Finally, just after 11:30 a flotilla of 16 kayaks set off across on the short crossing to Great Colinet Island.

Dean and Hazen led the trip.  Our first port of call was the location of the resettled community of Regina (pronounced locally as Regeena) where, at 12:30, it was close enough to lunch time to have a bite to eat.

Leaving Regina the next destination was the resettled community of Mosquito.  We had a little wind and following sea that pushed us along under bright blue skies.

We had the good fortune to have Sarah as part of the group.  Some of Sarah's ancestors were from Mosquito so she was familiar with the history of the place.  She showed us around the cemetery and pointed out the location of the community church.  I had been here several times before and completely missed the outline of the former church hidden in the trees.

Now, Mosquito is the subject of one chapter in Scott Walden's book "Places Lost - In search of Newfoundland's resettled communities".  Here Sarah kneels next to the headstone of her great grandfather Casimir Doody.  I asked her to pose because I just thought it was appropriate and sort of a circle closed.  As chance would have it Walden has a picture of the same headstone of Casimir Doody on page 94 of his book but without the growth that surrounds it now.

The census of 1921 shows Casimir was born in 1897 and married to Sarah, living in the household of father Bernard with a 7 month old son Brenard (typo in census??).  So, Sarah, kneeling told us she was named for her great grandmother.

We walked through the heavily grown over graveyard reading the names and dates of death until we came to the old entrance.  When I was here previously I thought the stones set in the pillars were decorative but there was a significance to the design and placement.  Sarah explained there were 33 stones set in each face representing the age of Christ at the time of his crucifixion.

Walden's book has a picture of the entrance also on page 93 with the gate still hanging.  It is now unhinged and standing beside the pillar on the right.

The graveyard is on the hill behind us.  On our walk back to the beach where our kayaks were Sarah showed us the foundation of her grandparents' house.  The 1921 census lists 45 souls living in 11 households.  Casimir's family by 1935 had grown to 9 - 4 sons and 3 daughters (Eta, Agnes and Ellen).  One on them must have lived here.

The surprising thing about the resettled community is the amount of open space that had not been reclaimed by the trees.  Preparing to leave, I took a parting shot looking over the water towards Admirals Beach.  Again, I was in step with Walden as he has a similar picture of the same tree on page 101.

These resettled communities are a favourite kayak destination for me.  This time with Sarah whose explanations and comments put Mosquito in a new light.

Next stop, Wild Cove on the south side of the island where a city of 16 tents would spring up.


  1. Beautiful capture in picture and story!Starting with our beluga friend and bringing us through some Newfoundland history! Thanks Tony and also Sarah!Looking fwd to chapter 2 :)

  2. Thanks Cathy. Its all about the scenery and company. For the second weekend in a row we had a super kayak camp trip.

    Tony :-)

    1. Thumbs up! That's a Blog 'like' to your reply:)