, pub-1183232341631896, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 We Discover Canada And Beyond: Cross Canada and Back Part 14
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06 July 2011

Cross Canada and Back Part 14

Saint Anthony to Red Bay, Labrador back to Gros Morne National Park

Early morning on the 9th of June 2011 we were heading out from Saint Anthony to St Barbe on the north west side of the island of Newfoundland. From here we took the ferry over to Blanc Sablon in Quebec. Blanc Sablon is just a few kilometers from the Labrador border.

View St. Anthony to Red Bay, Labrador back to Gros Morne. in a larger map

Through sunshine and fog we worked our way over some pretty rough roads and arrived in St Barbe in brilliant sunshine. We looked forward to a nice ride across the Gulf of St Lawrence.

Early Morning Fog on the Northern Tip of the Island of Newfoundland

Silvia and Liz in St Barbe, NL. Ferry arriving in the back ground.
The ferry across to Labrador is relative inexpensive, you can check out the prices here. Boarding the ferry it looked like a really tight fit but since the ferry swallowed the the big semi-trucks we reassured ourselves that we would also fit. We did!

The ferry swallowing a semi truck

Munch, munch....

Our turn

Lots of room.... or not.
As we got closer to the Quebec and Labrador coast the fog rolled in and it cooled off considerably. 

We arrived in Labrador!!!

Labrador Coastal Drive
The drive up to Red Bay is beautiful and if the sun would be out it would be even more spectacular.

Red Bay

Red Bay has a lot of history and has a National Historic Interpretive Center. This center is free if you have your annual National Parks Pass with you.

Spring is late here with snow on the side of the road in places.

Red Bay here we come.

Red Bay
Right and Bowhead whales, were once plentiful in the waters of Labrador. This attracted Basque whalers during the 16th century. The Basque are from the western Pyrenees on the Atlantic coast on the border between France and Spain. A very beautiful area by the way, we were in the Basque Region including St Jean de Luz in 2010. We have pictures of course.
Anders, Jörg and Silvia at Red Bay National Historic Site of Canada Interpretation Centre

Basque Whaling Boat

Canada's first oil boom, whale oil, started back in the mid 1500's. A thriving industry for export to Europe developed along the Labrador coast during the mid to late 1500's. The busiest port  became the sheltered harbour of Red Bay on the southern tip of mainland Labrador.

Basque Ship

Storage in the ship
More than 15 years of archaeological research has unearthed the remains of some 20 whaling stations along the shores of Red Bay Harbour. The underwater research in the harbour has led to the discovery of three Basque galleons or ships and several small boats. These finds have been superbly preserved and are examples of 16th-century shipbuilding. 

Arrival in Red Bay, long time ago

Red Bay Harbour

Saddle Island at the mouth of the Red Bay harbour is also home to a whalers' cemetery. More than 60 graves, containing about 140 skeletons have been found on the island. The burial of more than one individual in a single grave indicates perhaps accidental deaths due to drowning or exposure. These were daily hazards that the Basque whalers had to deal with.

There are no concrete evidence surrounding the demise of the Basque whaling in Red Bay. One reason to its failure was the dramatic decline in the both Bowhead and Right Whale herds due to over hunting. 

Remains from and old era

Across the harbour


In the short span of 50 years, over 20,000 whales were killed. This stock depletion probably influenced the migrating patterns of the whales.

Laundry day - That's where "Freeze Dried" came from.
Today, Bowhead whales travel different routes, and can be found in Arctic waters. The North Atlantic Right whales are in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine during summer months. Some data points to that the Right whales may even go as far south as Florida to give birth.

There is not enough evidence to offer any definite conclusions as to why Basque whaling disappeared in Labrador but the decline in whales must be one of them.

Trans - Labrador Highway

The last section of the Trans-Labrador Highway, from Goose Bay to Cartwright, is now finished.
This completes the entire Trans Labrador Highway from Labrador City all the way to Blanc Sablon which is technically in Quebec.

View Trans Labrador Highway in a larger map

If you are visiting Newfoundland and don't want to go back to Nova Scotia you can do the Trans Labrador Highway. Just take the ferry across from St Barbe, NL to Blanc Sablon, QC then drive up to Goose Bay over to Labrador City and then down to Baie Comeau in QC.  From here you can either drive down on the north side of St Lawrence or take the ferry across the St Lawrence to Matane, QC.

Trans Labrador Highway sign near Red Bay

Wow, this route is definitely on the bucket list.
The Trans Labrador Highway is all gravel road. We talked to some of the people that have driven the road: it is OK.... whatever that means. Most of them suggest to bring an extra spare tire.

Liz says a small hike is in order, this is just so beautiful.

Anders, Liz, Silvia and Jörg. We found a little lake over the hills, just pristine.

The Trans Labrador Highway is one trip that I personally would like to do... with a rented truck and camper. I guess we just add it to the " Bucket List "

Anders found a boat of course.... just never quits when it comes to boats.

Nature shows it's beauty.
Spring is just arriving

Back at the Ranch

Gros Morne

Friday June 10th we woke up with heavy rain pounding on our trailer. We had agreed with Silvia and Jörg to have breakfast at 8am and plan the day according to the weather. Well, no discussion, the fog, heavy rain, strong winds and coffee in hand we head back to the Island of Newfoundland.
Rain and Fog

Rough Seas does not stop the fishermen.

Heading south on Newfoundland in pouring rain.

Surfing Anyone?
The ferry ride was rough but we arrived OK back in St Barbe, NL. In heavy rain and wind we drove back down to Gros Morne National Park and set up camp.

For more pictures on this part of the trip, check out our Picasa Web Album by clicking the image below.
St Anthony NL to Labrador & back to Gros Morne NL


Anders and Liz

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs from our Cross Canada Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you

 1,    2,    3,     4,    5,    6,    7,    8,    9,   10

11,   12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,   22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  29b

30,   31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,

40,   41,  42,  43,  44,  45,  46,  47,  48,  49,

50,   51,  52,  53,  54,  55,  56,  57,  58,  59,

60,   61,  62,  63,  64,  65.


1 comment:

  1. Tack själv för alla intressant informationen.
    So sorry for the RV repair problems. Big frustration I'm sure. Every Blog makes Canadian history more and more interesting. You two are born teachers.