Friday, September 18, 2015

Placentia Bay 2015: Touring Presque Harbour

On Wednesday, day 5, of our Placentia Bay trip the sun came up but had not risen above the intervening hills when we awoke.  Further down the beach our fire from the previous evening was still smouldering, the smoke drifting ...

... over the water down St. Kyran's Harbour.

The winds from the preceding two days had dropped.  The water was mirror calm as we left camp at St. Kyran's.  Our plan for the day was a tour of Presque Harbour before exiting to paddle to Toslow.

Half way up the harbour on the left was the exit between Little Goat Islands.

Though Presque Harbour is well protected it is not without its dangers.  A reminder sat at a point near Murphy Cove.  I got out to have a look.  One cross bore the name of Joseph Collins who drowned on April 24, 1908 at age 35 and John Fitzgerald who also drowned at age 16 on February 11, 1933.

A mafic, i.e. dark, dyke ran through grey slates.  Impossible to tell visually the composition of the dyke but my guess is its rhyolite which may be related to granitic rocks in the area.  The rhyolite was darker because the thin dyke cooled quickly forming tiny crystals.  That's my geological contribution for the trip.

Approximately midway on the west side we entered Northwest Cove where the former community of Presque lay.  A neighbour of mine was resettled from the place so I was anxious to see what it looked like.  Too, we were told there was a large plum tree there; an opportunity for fresh fruit?

It must have been a lovely place at its peak which came in 1857 when the population was 206.  I don't have a settlement date but it was well before 1836 because there were already 149 souls living there.

There weren't many reminders of past habitation.  This stone foundation was one remnant.

A more substantial set of concrete steps, maybe from a school was left standing surrounded by tall grasses.  I wondered how many small feet walked up and own the steps?  I wondered if my neighbour's footsteps were among them because he was 7 or 9 when he relocated to Placentia.

From a population peak of 206 in 1857 it dropped to 109 in 1884 when it stabilized for 50 years until, in 1945, it stood at 54.  Resettlement occurred in the 1960's.

We filtered some water in the small cascading river in Presque before heading south down the coast.  The name retains its French foundation, meaning "almost".  The French settled mainly in Placentia Bay.  After the Treaty of Utrecht, most of the French were displace by English and Irish settlers.

Hazen paddles under substantial cliffs of rocks that were formed from the eruption of volcanoes in the Neoproterozoic, sometime between 1 billion and 541 million years ago.

At Beckford Cove at the southern extremity of Presque Harbour, we stopped for lunch.  The tide was falling so every now and then I pushed the kayak out to follow the dropping water so as not to have to lift it upon leaving for the paddle to Toslow.

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