2014-07 Labrador – Icebergs and Beauty!

July 20, 2014

We are now cruising in some very remote areas where the scenery is majestic and there are very few people. We are seeing dozens of icebergs and have tuned our radars to be sure we can spot them. The cruising here is definitely more challenging, requiring a lot more attention. We are very glad that we are traveling in the company of Migration as having someone to talk to, compare observations, and discuss plans helps us all to feel more comfortable and make better decisions.

Shear Madness and a fabulous iceberg (photo by Marci/Migration)

Shear Madness and a fabulous iceberg (photo by Marci/Migration)

Labrador used to be home to large fishing fleets, but in 1992 a moratorium on cod fishing was imposed due to over fishing. Many of the coastal villages are now abandoned and although fishing for cod has resumed, it is nowhere close to the levels of old. Labrador has a huge landmass but a population of only 40,000 people, so the inhabited villages are few and far between.

We have done some great hikes, but are taking care to ensure that we all make it back safely. We have seen one brown bear so we take along our bear spray, as well as copious amounts of bug spray, a personal EPIRB (rescue transmitter), first aid kit, tools, water, and snacks. There are no actual trails in the places we’ve been, so hiking involves a fair amount of bushwhacking – finding a way through forests and undergrowth and ensuring you can find your way back. The terrain is nothing short of spectacular with soft moss and lichens making it feel as if you are walking on carpet. But we are bundled up even though it is mid-summer and it is clear that the environment here is harsh and unforgiving.

Migration poses in front of an beauty

Migration poses in front of an beauty

After just a few days, we have become accustomed to seeing icebergs. They come in all shapes and sizes and we’ve altered course a couple of times to go closer for some special photos. It’s hard to describe the awe one feels when dwarfed by these massive ice structures!

At or first stop in Labrador, Pitt’s Harbour, Migration launched their small tender and we went set out to harvest some ice from a nearby growler – a small iceberg easily reachable. George came equipped with a machete and we brought small coolers to fill with ice – we truly enjoyed our drinks that evening and have plenty of “iceberg ice” in our freezers! Nearby was a mostly abandoned village, though a few of the cottages still look as if they are used occasionally. There are no roads leading here, so if people come, they would do so by boat in the summer or snowmobile in winter when the water is frozen over.  We enjoyed a long hike up a nearby hill, mostly climbing over gently sloping boulders and moss-lined bogs but occasionally requiring some ingenuity to find a way through the thick underbrush. We were rewarded with great views in all directions.

Shear Madness and Migration rafted up

Shear Madness and Migration rafted up

Our next stop was Battle Harbour, named not for a battle, but for a corruption of the Portuguese word for boat. This small settlement used to be a hub for the cod fishing industry and is now a historic trust, being restored and promoted as a tourist destination, though on a very small scale. Our cruising guidebook noted that there is a 110’ dock available and we were able to reach the town by VHF radio. They confirmed that there was room on the dock for one boat and plenty of space for us to “raft up” – tie the second boat to the side of the first. Migration tied up to the dock in order to make it easier for Gulliver to get ashore and soon we were secured to Migration.

We enjoyed a guided tour of the historic town, then explored hiking trails that led to a cemetery, a plane crash site, and the “Marconi Towers”, early telegraph stations. Battle Harbour is famous as the site where Admiral Peary held his press conference after being the first person to reach the North Pole. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Loft, along with eight other folks who had arrived for a visit by ferry. Incredibly, Battle Harbour even had internet!

Kathy and Bradley enjoy the view

Kathy and Bradley enjoy the view

Next we continued north to Eagle Cove, with another stop for a photo op with an iceberg. Eagle Cove was a beautiful anchorage – very peaceful, scenic, and remote. George and Gulliver picked us up for another wonderful hike – again with no trails and a combination of beauty, harshness, and grandeur. George and Marci joined us for a turkey dinner aboard Shear Madness and we all slept very soundly!

Needing a day of rest for our aching joints after the previous days hike, we decided to pull anchor and keep moving.  We encountered a small whale visiting our anchorage – he swam around for quite some time, though he was quite camera shy and we never got a photo. Our exit took us through the “Squasho Run”, a narrow but very deep channel through spectacular cliffs and soon we were once again dodging icebergs. This time we stopped so that George could launch his drone – a remote controlled helicopter that carries a camera to record aerial video!

So far Labrador has been everything we had hoped for – exciting, scary, breathtaking, remote, exhilarating – and every day seems to just get better! Click photos to enlarge – they are low resolution due to limited bandwidth!

 

  1. #1 by Anne Schwanda on July 26, 2014 - 2:21 pm

    Absolutely amazing photos! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Like

  2. #2 by Joe Viar on July 22, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    Damn you guys are having a neat time – isn’t it great to just do what ever you want o do – you deserve it! Joe Viar

    Like

  3. #3 by Leanne and John on July 22, 2014 - 3:24 pm

    Good to see you both living the dream and having the adventures on SM who is looking good. Great photos. Please pass on our regards to Migration.

    Like

  4. #4 by Anonymous on July 22, 2014 - 7:32 am

    Beautiful pictures Kathy

    –Raag Srinivasan

    Like

  5. #5 by Renate on July 21, 2014 - 4:51 pm

    Talk about intrepid adventurers! Some amazing footage, and how huge are those icebergs. You guys are amazing. I am getting on a plane today, to visit my kids, and then on to Anchorage Alaska with my daughter, to visit her daughter Allyssa. She moved their with her partner who is stationed there. Love Renate and Allan xoxo

    Like

  6. #6 by Harold Piercey on July 21, 2014 - 4:08 pm

    by Anonymous on july 21 2014-6;15 pm
    Hi Kathy & Bradley,I am enjoying the pictures!i have traveled the labrador coast and Greenland a few years ago.when you leave Greenland to travel south to NL if you are going to land in ST.Johns. I would like to meet you all.

    Like

  7. #7 by Sue McKenney on July 21, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    Wow Kathy, wonderful!

    Like

  8. #8 by Thomas, Lydia W. on July 21, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    Kathy,

    Beautiful photos, wonderful descriptions, when I grow up I want to be just like you!

    Cheers,

    Lydia

    Sent with Good (www.good.com)

    Like

  9. #9 by Sally Merten on July 21, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    Great photos!

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

  10. #10 by Anonymous on July 21, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    What particular technological needs are used in approaching icebergs to determine the depth? This landlubber wants to know.

    Like

  11. #11 by Caroleerx@aol.com on July 21, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    NICEbergs for Rosenbergs. Truly thrilling – my hair is standing up on my arms for the joy of the pictures! And with all the awful news on TV I watch just a little bit, so this travelogue was super. Be safe!!!!

    Like

  12. #12 by Peter Horbach on July 21, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    Hi Kathy, what a wonderful trip. It reminds me on our journey to Greenland 2011. What an experience. Enjoy and greetings to Bradley

    Like

  13. #13 by Anonymous on July 21, 2014 - 11:59 am

    Krista and Mark’s sis in law here! I am Sally and we were fortunate to meet you last year in Nova Scotia. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures in your blog. It is so fun to ‘travel’ with you! Keep the entries coming; I read them with longing! 🙂

    Like

Send us your comment, question, or suggestion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: