Labrador (and its roads) to Red Bay

We were almost ready to call the whole thing off.  These links give you an idea why.  People we met at the B&Bs were warning us about really bad roads, the surprising part being that it was the paved sections that were full of potholes.  Here are a couple of newspaper 'clippings' to give you an idea.

Shattered highway has communities fed up

Heated debate over hazardous trans-Labrador highway

Not to mention foggy weather and we made the mistake of checking out the blog site of some biker guy who had videotaped his entire journey, complete with descriptions of mud and coming across a car that had rolled down an embankment.

So we modified our plans, the first being that we would forego the journey of 700 km or so on gravel roads all the way to Happy Valley Goose Bay.  If things didn't look too bad, we'd carry on to Red Bay and then on gravel to our designated stop at Mary's Harbour.


(the next paragraph is kind of boring - you should probably skip it)

Well something of a snafu.  Because of our change of plans, we needed to change our return reservation from Labrador.  We had reservations for the departure today.  So we arrived really early and got our car into a short line-up before the attendants had arrived.  We didn't know that, in the fog, we had passed the ticket office so sat in this line until eventually an attendant directed us out of the line again and told us to go back to get the tickets.  This took some time because the ticket office had a line up and then wouldn't (couldn't) change the return reservation for us -- we had to phone the central reservations office.  Since our cell phones didn't work, we sat on hold on a landline which was on the wall of the ticket office, for about 20 minutes, all the while starting to worry whether we'd get on the departing ferry at all.  Okay it was all done, we got the proper tickets, changed the return reservation and went back to our spot in the line which they held for us.  But now, they started loading the ferry and just about every other line was going except ours.  Richard finally tweaked to the fact that we were in the line-up for people who didn't have reservations (which is why those people were so early).  There were no signs anywhere indicated which lines were for reservations and which were not -- but again, if we hadn't arrived so early, an attendant probably would have told us.  So finally, we talked again to an attendant who pulled us out of the wrong line and got us on.  Sheesh.  Still --- we were on our way.

An hour and a half's pleasant voyage in pea-soup fog -- we saw nothing -- until...

-- we actually started slowing to dock on the Labrador side -- and it was spectacular!

  Technically, you actually land in Quebec, but are in Labrador in no time.  AND, they had (just a few days ago) filled most of the potholes!  Encouraged, we carried on.

These white puffballs were as soft as kitten's fur.
A truck was pulling a pickup out of the ditch on the right (not visible here) .

Check out this iceberg.  We saw a few and are naming them.  This one is the Matterhorn.

Red Bay:

At the time that Copernicus was writing De Revolutionibus, on a little island off of Red Bay (Saddle Island) the Basques were setting up a whaling station.

Bones in the flipper of a Right Whale. Interesting that there are 5 'fingers'.  These whales were called 'right' because they were the 'right ones' to catch.  They were more easily caught than some others and, once killed, floated more easily to port.  They produced barrels of oil.
Saddle Island
A 400 year old whaling vessel, found sunken just off the coast of Saddle Island.
Even coins were found among other artifacts such as pottery.

And that's the end of the paved road.  It's gravel from now on.

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