Sunday, 2 July 2017

Mary's Harbour (Sunday, June 18th)

Bonne fête des PAPAS!!!  On réveille papa ce matin avec un bol de crème glacée et un petit cadeau.  On lui offre un beau t shirt BMW pour aller avec sa moto.  We are scheduled to take the boat to Battle Harbour at 11 this morning.  We are very close but we leave well in advance and arrive at 10ish.  The cost for going just for the day was a big saving.  It was 270$ as opposed to well over 700$.  Yesterday, a couple from Brockville came and said 'hello' while I was waiting for Justin who was inside on a landline making arrangements for today .  They saw the we were from Cornwall when they signed the guest book! As it turns out, they will be going to the island with us this morning.  They have the luxury of spending a few nights.  They travelled here aboard the Bella Desgagnés.  You can board in Rimouski or even Sept Iles and she stops in 6 remote villages along the Lower North shore.  I thought it was a ferry but it's more a cruise than anything.  You can bring your car along as well (it was put on the ferry by crane!) That would be another cool Canadian trip to take one day.

We load up on a small boat and take the 1hr boat ride to Battle Harbour.  Battle Harbour is perfectly preserved in the history of bygone era. Here, houses, stores, fishery buildings and churches have been restored and filled with historical original items.  It is made to soak up the atmosphere and fully experience the sounds of the ocean and the simple pleasures of times past.  On our arrival, we are greeted by very kind and genuine people.  They give us a little talk inside the General store and tell us that dinner (lunch) will be served at 1230 in the dining hall.  We headed upstairs to change James.  The room upstairs is a little bar/sitting area where guests can come and spend the evening. It is spectacular. We have just arrived on the island and are very impressed.  We walk towards one end of the island.  There are several houses and buildings.  No roads, just small trails.  Some are privately owned, there is a church, a cemetery, and guest houses that we could have rented if we had chosen an overnight stay.  Time for lunch so we head in for the most delicious meal.  The hall is again beautiful and we share our table with a couple from Connecticut.  They have one more night to spend on the island and they really loved their stay.  There is one other couple staying on the island but they were out doing a hike on an island nearby.  After lunch, we are given a tour of the main buildings from a man who lived on the island until he was 9 before they relocated everyone to Mary's Harbour.  Life on the island would have been tough but he thinks it would have been really tough for his ancestors.  He had the luxury of motor boats and snowmobiles.  There is no wood on the island so it needs to be brought over somehow.  Can't imagine transporting wood in a human powered boat at sea.  The tour is well worth it and even Miss Gab is following along.  Gaby really took a liking to the couple that was with us. She held her hand for nearly the entire tour.  Mister James on the other hand was interrupting us with his loud snores! Poor little guy was passed out in the backpack.  Once we were done the tour, we had a little time before our boat left.  Our intentions were to do a hike around the island.  On the other side, there is a small plane wreckage visible but the wind has gotten so intense and cold that we take refuge in the dining hall with the super nice ladies who run the kitchen.  Many of the employees have their own home on the island or used to live in Battle Harbour at some point.  What a great community.  We say our goodbyes to our hosts and the wonderful Brockville couple and head back to Mary's Harbour on the boat.  There are 2 employees coming back with us.  They have a 10 on 4 off rotation therefore they are excited to get back home for a few days.

Back on the dirt road we go.  On our way we spot more wildlife! Now this one is amazing.  A black bear with her baby cub.  We are even able to get a good picture - fun!  We would like to get to L'Anse Amour.  That is a 'must' stop for us because the highest lighthouse in Eastern Canada is there and we can climb to the top.  Gaby is really looking forward to that.  The drive is ok minus the one truck driver who has no care in the world.  We were warned that the worst part of the highway was the big rigs.  He flies by us and the truck got hit by some pretty good stones.  We will have to get a chip repaired on the windshield.  We make it to L'Anse Amour and find a great spot by the Ocean.  Very unfortunate that the weather is not great.  We are not sure if we can turn around in that spot so Justin backs the trailer into position.  In honor of his dad - he backs it up  a good 100 feet in one shot, perfect position!  Again the trailer is full of dirt but we are now finished with the dirt roads!


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