Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summer at Last !

Well, Summer vacation is here at last and I'm excited to be cruising the Scandanavian countries throughout July. I will not be able to post until I arrive back. So, my loyal readers, have a great summer and don't forget to come back and visit with me soon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Beaumont Hamel 1916 - 2006

Newfoundland sent 8,500 soldiers and sailors abroad in the First World War; out of a population of less than 250,000, over 1,500 brave men gave their lives. On July 1st of each year - the anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, these courageous Newfoundlanders are remembered for the great sacrifice they made and the loved ones they left behind.

After the war, Newfoundland established five memorials overseas to commemorate the bravery of her sons in First World War. They are: Beaumont Hamel, Gueudecourt, Monchy, Masnières, and Courtrai memorials. The Courtrai Memorial is located in Belgium while all others are located in France. These unique bronze caribou statues were the work of Basil Gotto, who also designed the statue of the "The Fighting Newfoundlander" in Bowring Park, St. John's.

July 1, 2006 marks the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bell Island Light

This lonely lighthouse is situated on the eastern point of Bell Island . On a clear day, you can see all the way to Baccalieu Island and right across to the northern shore of Conception Bay. It is a very wild and beautiful place; the fields over-looking the cliffs are covered in purple irises in the springtime and harebells and daisies in the summer. Whales and dolphins play in the cool waters below during July and August.

Painted Sky - Bonne Bay

Over Bonne Bay, as the evening draws nigh
A golden glow of light seems to drop
From a freshly painted sky.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No Great Future

"They cheat us and rob us and continue to say, that our only salvation is leaving the Bay." - Joe Byrne

Nothing good ever came from the massive uprooting of the outport people and their resettlement to more populated communities.

Resettlement - Bacon Cove

In a press release, dated Oct 29, 1957, Premier J.R. Smallwood estimated that as many as 200 settlements in Newfoundland were “with no great future” and that upwards of 50,000 could be resettled.

The resettlement plan began! Between 1954 and 1965 110 Newfoundland communities were abandoned, with a population of about 7,500. Between 1965 and 1975 some 148 communities were abandoned, involving the relocation of an additional 20,000 people. The main areas affected were the islands of Placentia Bay, Bonavista Bay and Notre Dame Bay, as well as communities on the southwest coast.
The resettlement programme had a profound impact on the lives of those affected, and it continues to shape the culture and collective psyche of the province today.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Last of the Whale Catchers - Sposa

The "Sposa " was a whaling ship of the Newfoundland Whaling Company. In 1940, the company's whale catchers, as these ships were called, were requisitioned for coastal defense duties off Great Britain dealing a severe blow to an already troubled industry. Whaling ceased for 3 years and, in 1943, activities began anew when the company relocated the Sposa and several other whale catchers from South Georgia in the South Atlantic. However, the introduction of modern whaling ships and a decrease in local whale stocks necessitated tying up the old ships at Conception Harbour. Today, the wreck of the Sposa remains visible on the beach. Close by, in deeper water, lie the rusting bones of the Soika, scuttled offshore in 1968.

If that old boat still at the beach (the Sposa) could talk, the tales she would tell. She whaled out of Hawke Harbour in 1935. That’s history right there on the shore.” - Eric Pretty (Sr.) Iron Worker from Trinity Bay

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Conception Harbour on a Sunny Day

"This collection of buildings forms a rare intact example of the type of structures used in the domestic economy of rural Newfoundland during the 19th and 20th centuries. It includes a house, stable, carriage house/workshop, store, fencing, gate, gardens and rock-lined root cellar that accommodated the agricultural and fishing activities typical of the families in Conception Harbour until the mid-20th century. The property has been in the Trahey family name since before 1800. The dwelling house was constructed circa 1914-1915.

The prominence of the site in Conception Harbour has made this collection of buildings and the adjacent domestic structure a landmark in the community."

from the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web

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In Need of a Refit

This fishing trawler built in 1967 and moored in Conception Harbour looks like it has seen better times !

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ice berg Alley

The best place to see icebergs is in Newfoundland and Labrador. These 10,000 year old giants arrive in spring and early summer and are readily seen along our coast. Thousands of these icebergs, calved from the glaciers of Greenland, follow the Labrador Current south to our shores in varying numbers every year. It is an unforgetable experience to see one of these frozen sculptures up close on a warm summers day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Summer Food Fishery

Here's my boat in Arnold's Cove taken at the end of a great fishing trip. My brother,Mike, and his friend are oblivious to the image I'm creating.

A Summer Recreational fishery has been announced for August 2006 and is expected to last five weeks. "Those taking part in this so-called food fishery will be allowed to land five fish each, and 15 fish per boat under 45 feet in length. Recreational fishermen will no longer need licenses nor tags to catch cod under requirements already in place for other Atlantic provinces."

End of Day - Arnold's Cove

During the occasional summer, the Newfoundland government allows it's citizens to partake in a summer recreational "food fishery". We purchase 15 tags at the local post office and off we go to catch our 15 codfish. On one such venture, after a successful day of fishing in Placentia Bay, I photographed this colorful scene just after we had finished fishing for the day. Incidently, my brother caught a 32 pound cod on this trip and as the "captain", I claimed 2nd prize in a local fishing derby. Such large fish are very rare, but first prize was taken by a 36 pounder !

Monday, June 12, 2006

SS. Florizel at the Ice Fields

The SS Florizel was the flagship of of the Red Cross Line owned by Bowering Bros. of St. John’s. Built in 1909, the ship was used as a sealing vessel for many years and later plied a passenger service between St. John’s, Halifax and New York. In 1914 the SS Florizel transported the first 500 volunteers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to the Front. One stormy night while approching St. John's on February 24,1918, the ship was wrecked off Cappahayden with a loss of 94 souls. This tragedy became one of the most significant marine disasters in Newfoundland history.

From my historic ship collection - photographer unknown.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fishing Room Near Salvage

Fishing Room - a tract or parcel of land on the waterfont of a cove or harbour from which a fishery is conducted; the stores,sheds, 'flakes', wharves and other facilites where the catch is landed and processed.

- Dictionary of Newfoundland English -Story et al

Resting Dog Team - Deer Lake Circa 1927

There were no roads to the pioneering community of Deer Lake in 1927. Travel was by narrow gauge train on the Newfoundland Railway which ran east to west joining St.John's to Port Aux Basques. In winter time, it was horse and sleigh or dogteam.

Communities on the great Northern Peninsula were dependant on coastal steamers and schooners to deliver mail and supplies in summer but in winter, mail was brought by dog team along a small coastal trail to Bonne Bay and then to Deer Lake to catch the train.

This photograph taken by my grandfather - Aneurin Tudor Williams.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fishing Boats at the Wharf - Brigus South

The small boats of Brigus South rise and fall with the tides while tied to their mooring, sometimes coming to rest on the harbour floor at low tide.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Eastern Chipmunk

Squirrels are not native to Newfoundland. However, both the red squirrel and the eastern chipmunk were introduced in the 1960's.

The Eastern chipmunk is a small, brownish, ground-dwelling squirrel. They are very easy to identify by their short, pointy heads marked with two white stripes, one above and one below the eye and five black lines with white striping down the back.

The chipmunk has has not adapted very well to the Newfoundland climate. They were introduced to three provincial parks beween 1963 and 1968 and remain common in the park regions but they do not appear to be spreading much beyond the parks. Chipmunks prefer deciduous forests rather than the coniferous spruce forests of northern climes . They are found in southern Canada and the United States.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ochre Fishing Stage - Red Cliff

Fishing stages in Newfoundland come in all sizes and shapes. They may be shacks built from discarded lumber or they may be elaborate government- built properties. The failure of the inshore cod fishery has led to many of these cultural icons to fall into disrepair .

Newfoundland fishermen used an oil-based concoction to paint their stage houses – ochre, paint and cod liver oil extracted from actual cod livers.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ready to Sail

I photographed this idyllic scene at the wharf in some forgotten cove. Can you identify the red reflection ?

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

March of the Tulips

"Forward they come, with flaunting colours spread,
With torches burning, stepping out in time
To some quick, unheard march. Our ears are dead,
We cannot catch the tune.
In pantomime Parades that army. With our utmost powers
We hear the wind stream through a bed of flowers."

- Amy Lowell - A Tulip Garden

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A Whale of a Tail

The Humpback whale is a baleen whale and has the scientific name of Megaptera novaeangliae ("big-winged New Englander"). This whale can measure up to 53 feet long and weigh 40 tons. The humpback has the largest flippers of any of the whales up to 16 feet long. They are very curious creatures and commonly shadow whalewatch boats in the waters off Witless Bay and Bay Bulls. They are not fast swimmers but are quite acrobatic, demonstrating jumps ( breaching), tail slapping and poking their heads out ( spyhopping). Humpbacks are an endangered species. It is estimated that about 3,000 humpbacks live in the North Atlantic and the world population is 8,000 to 10,000. Their tails are quite distinctive and are usually used to identify individual humpbacks.

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The Matthew

This modern-day replica of John Cabot's ship, the Matthew, is seen sailing into Conception Bay during the Cabot 500 anniversary celebrations of 1997.

Over 500 years ago, John Cabot and his crew set sail from Bristol, England, for Asia aboard the original Matthew hoping to trade goods and commodities with the people who lived there. However, he arrived on the coast of Newfoundland and therefore was the original discoverer of America, not Christopher Columbus as most people are led to believe. In 1997 the replica Matthew followed the same course as John Cabot in 1497 and sailed across to Newfoundland. The ship carried the same number of crew members as the original and took the same amount of time to complete the crossing.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Ruffed Grouse in ButterPot Park

Ruffed Grouse were introduced in Newfoundland in 1956 and today they are found throughout the island . Populations and can be found all across Canada with their range also extending south to the northwestern and northeastern U.S. These well known upland game birds are most at home in deciduous and mixed woodlands where there are areas of underbrush with scattered clearings. However in winter, they prefer dense coniferous or mixed forest habitats, using the underlying snow for shelter, and to escape predators.

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