Port au Port Peninsula
Aug 8, 2008
|A day spent driving this southwest peninsula - Friday, August 8
We spent a leisurely morning in a very quiet campground. Not too many of last night’s partiers were up before noon. We used the sun to dry out our storage bins and things that got put away wet when we had to break camp in the rain the last couple of days. I played my CD of Acadian and Irish folk songs from Prince Edward Island, and by noon we were ready to leave.
I had already said good bye to the owner and I was going to stop by Joe and Marge’s trailer to thank them and say good bye to them too, but just then they drove up and stopped in front of our space. I went out to meet them and Joe said they’d stopped by to see if we wanted to go blueberry picking with them. The were also going to pick up some firewood for tonight’s campfire get together.
We needed to get on the road so we reluctantly declined, but it was so nice of them to ask us and another example of how quickly and warmly they include you in. We thanked them for the invitation, and for their wonderful hospitality, and we finally got on our way.
We spent the afternoon just driving around and seeing this corner of the island. Crabbe River where we’d stayed is in the Three Rivers Area, so named for three rivers that are important salmon rivers. We wanted to see more of the communities in the area so we backtracked to where it begins and took a leisurely drive along the back roads. The wildflowers are out in profusion and the sky was again a mixture of clouds and blue. People we passed would often wave, and some would gawk as they probably don’t see a lot of RV’s on their road - especially ones with California plates.
The roads we were taking were close to the coast and the ocean views were magnificent. The island is a lot bigger than Prince Edward Island and there are mountains here. The coastal bluffs are higher and often end in sheer cliffs. The ocean is the bluest I’ve ever seen, sometimes a cool Cobalt blue, and other times a warm Peacock blue. A bluff covered in fireweed with a brilliant blue ocean behind it is a sight never to be forgotten.
In the tiny town of Robinsons we stopped at the Pirate’s Hideaway and had a fine fish and chips lunch. When Newfoundlanders say ’fish’ it is assumed they are talking about cod. If they are talking about any other fish they will call it by name. Cod fishing has been their traditional livelihood for centuries, and there was a time when salmon and lobster were considered ’junk fish’. The cod fishery is so depleted now that this is one of the few places where it is still available - which is too bad because it is excellent.
After lunch our long (190 mile) drive took us out the Port au Port Peninsula. We drove clear to Cape St. George at the west end, and then out to Long Point on the north. From there we circled back and completed the loop, then headed back to Highway 1 (the T. C. H.) looking for a campground. We found one just before dark at the Barachois Pond Provincial Park.
It is a large park with well over a hundred sites spread out along the side of the ‘pond’ which is the local way of referring to what is really a fair sized lake. Our site was deep in the woods, and while the campground is about one third full, the sites are spread out and it feels very private and quiet. There are pit toilets and no hookups, but at the park headquarters there are heated washrooms with flush toilets and showers. It’s a very nice setup and a welcome place to get off the road and settle in for the night.
Note: Roads here are so lightly traveled that traffic is never a problem, but the scenery is so beautiful that it can be tiring to drive and have to keep your eyes on the road. And you have to do that because there are moose warnings everywhere and people hit them every day. So far we haven’t seen any, but we probably will by the time we get up to St. Anthony.
Note 2: Newfoundland has it’s own time zone, and we are now on NDT or Newfoundland Daylight Time. It is one half hour ahead of Atlantic Time, so we are now an hour and a half ahead of Florida and New York, and four and a half hours ahead of our family and friends on the west coast. This is not a problem when it comes to calling them because there is no cell phone signal here anywhere.