Time Sensitive II Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

They say there are three hundred and sixty-five islands in Placentia Bay, and I say THEY are right! Except for the smallest of islands in this Bay; Newfoundlanders lived, loved and fished from those islands. Before the Basque, French and English Fisherman arrived on these shores in early in 16th century, there were the Maritime Archaic, Dorset People, and the Beothucks hunting and living on these islands for thousands of years. These islands have many stories to tell.

For three years back in 2004 I visited many of the resettled communities of this Bay; I developed a real spiritual attachment and knew that it was always calling me to come back. Maybe it was because my ancestors who came from Placentia or the desire to understand, to feel the intensity of entering an uninhabited harbour in the wind and the fog, and wondering what small bits of information I might glean from a headstone in a graveyard or a pair of boots in someones foundering fish stage. There was the wonder and visualization of times past. It is a time that is gone and it will all but disappear as nature takes a determined hold on these once vibrant communities. Time is not on our side - our visits are TIME SENSITIVE.

This is Part II of Time Sensitive. Enjoy!

Harbour Buffett

Harbour Buffett is a large harbour that offers a good wharf to tie up or many choices for anchoring. There is also lots of opportunities for hikes to Port Royal (about 15 minutes), Hay Cove (45 minutes) or Kingwell (LONG!). In its heyday, the population was 445 in 1941.

The Harbour Buffett wharf on the old Wareham premises is built from a schooner that was sunk to serve as the basis of the wharf for the reunion in 1993.

These timbers are part of the schooner's hull. It looked like it could take whatever Mother Nature could throw at her!

Fumi Maru 15 was a whaler that was in operation in Newfoundland waters from 1967 to 1972. The story goes that it broke from its mooring back in 1984 and ended up in Harbour Buffett.

We were leaving Harbour Buffett for points west when Baxter Wareham's boat sailed by. I knew at some later point I would be deeply disappointed if I missed a photo op with Baxter; so I turned Siboney around, radioed Paul and Brenda that I was in hot pursuit and wouldn't be too long. I caught up with Baxter, had quick chat, and took my picture. I'm sure Baxter muttered to himself and said "THAT WAS WEIRD"

Baxter Wareham, a well known musician and pilot boat skipper

Nephews and nieces, and our friends' kids are dear to us and we are always eager to get them exposed to rural Newfoundland and these wonderful resettled communities. I also want them comfortable with sailing our oceans so, one day, when I am old and slow (and some will say that is now) I will have crew to guide me safely back to these hidden gems. These pictures are from 2003.

Link to

Port Royal

Port Royal was thought to have been settled in the 1830s as a result of some religious friction in Harbour Buffett where most of the of the settlers originated. Harbour Buffett was largely Protestant while Port Royal was Roman Catholic.The population peaked to approximately 132 in the early 1900s. The community resettled in the late 1960s.

Hanns, Whiffins, Barrys, and Hanrahans are a few of the names in the Cemetery.

Some pictures from 2004.

Hay cove

Back in 2004, there was a reality TV show called Quest for the Sea. During the filming of the show, Maryalice and I walked down to Hay Cove to snoop around. Fortunately, the film crew was not there and the actors were only too pleased to spend some time with us.

On the IMBd website, it noted:

Quest for the Sea is a 4x1-hour living history documentary series that follows 2 families as they return to a lost way of life in a remote fishing village in Newfoundland. In simple wooden homes with only the tools, clothing, and supplies of 1937, five adults and five children will live under a mercantile system and need to rely on cod fishing for their sustenance and survival.
In 2016 there was only one house left in Hay Cove, I was wondering where the second house was but then I read that during the filming of the reality show, they moved the house and floated it off just like in resettlement Times.

When we thought reality shows were that; REAL!

Kingwell Reunion

The Kingwell chapter is about what makes Placentia Bay special. As in Bar Haven; it's the people. When we wandered around the Kingwell trails and spent time at "THE TIME", it was obvious even to the most unobservant (me) that the majority of the people who came for the weekend were young people. This augurs well for the continuation of the traditions of Placentia Bay. We just hope that they can stay and work in Newfoundland!

We spent two days in this harbour anchored out by the island. We reacquainted with some friends we had met back in 2003 to 2007 and we met some new friends, too. Enjoyed the music and dancing that went well into the night. We left the party early though as the weather turned with heavy rain and strong winds. It was a fitful night as the boats tugged and strained on the two anchors in the gale force winds. I figured we would drag our anchors and end up on shore but fortunately all went well.

Some faces in the crowd!

I think these gentlemen were security!

Glad you stayed still for this shot Kevin.

Monique and nephew sharing a moment.

Great Brule Harbour

Settled in the early 1800's, it is a picturesque harbour that has a beach that can be accessed on both sides of Marasheen Island; a benefit for sure. Reading some of the literature, there was lots of evidence of settlement here thousands of years ago by Maritime Archaic, Dorset and Beothuck Indians. Twentieth century gardens and some foundations can still be seen throughout the area.

Brule's real strength though, is its camp fire potential. The choice of two beaches and the ample firewood make for wonderful fires.If you are like me; you are all Fall and Winter thinking about those beautiful beach fires that you had the past summer. While Brule's beauty and solitude burns a memory in my mind; it's the FIRE that will bring me back to this place and space.

A good fire? Means heat on the warmest and coldest of Newfoundland summer nights; keeps the flies away; the flames that are soothing and hypnotic; and, thoughts, those deep thoughts.

Bev and Jim came along for a weekend of touring Placentia Bay. Jim being a retired fireman enjoys a good fire!

Easton enjoying the warm summer evening and the fire.

In the moment with one's self. No one's jumping around or talking - just your friends, your dog, your thoughts, and your FIRE.

Red Island Harbour

The island is 7 km. long by 5 km. wide with settlement concentrated on the Northeastern end. Red Island's population peaked to 484 in 1921. It was resettled in 1968 but interestingly some attempted to settle back in 1981. In 1983, a teacher was hired for nine students in a converted home but when a family of five children moved to Jerseyside for the winter the school closed. It appears the final resettlement occurred in 1990.

With the sinking of the USS Truxton and Pollux in 1942, many of the bodies of the US Servicemen were washed up on the shores of Red Island, the island became a temporary interment for the bodies of the US Servicemen.

I think it's obvious why they call this island - Red Island!
Red Island Harbour has a sturdy wharf and an active community. It's a big island with some good hiking trails.

The second floor has fallen down, making it unsafe to enter. The owners would have trouble retrieving the old furniture and housewares.

Behind the sun baked door!


Its refreshing to see that the number of homes have increased since 2004.

In 2004 the old house is easily seen.

On our way back to Conception Bay in late August, we had to spend a couple of nights here as the wind was strong out of the Southwest. One of the local fishermen recommended we sit tight, we took his advice! Paul, Brenda and Spence at Wild Cove.

Woody Island

Woody Island renowned for Woody Island Resort, Valdy, and Randy Lieb is a busy place in the summer with lots of visitors to the resort, and the cabin owners who lived on the island before resettlement. The population peaked to 341 in 1966.

A comparison between 2003 and 2016.


Tyler and Josh lived an idyllic life in the summers on Woody Island just like modern day Tom Sawyers and Huckleberry Finns. None of the constraints of living in a big or even small town; the freedom to do as they wanted while being watched from a distance by their parents and grandparents.

When asked when they eat, what they eat, or when they go to bed; each time they proudly responded "WHEN WE WANTS!".

In 2016, 13 years older and much taller they are still enjoying Woody Island.

They lived magical lives, ones that every boy or girl just dreams about. They were the diplomats, the tour guides, and the marina managers.

We had the opportunity to meet Tyler on Woody Island this summer and he has grown up a fine upstanding young man.

Links to

Southeast Bight

Home to approximately 75 livyers and serviced by the ferry Norcon Oceanus. The community is neat and tidy and you can tell there is a pride inherent in these people. From the concrete streets to the painted fishing stages, this isolated community will be here for years to come. It's a sailing destination that should go on your bucket list.

My early Sunday morning walk around caught this woman heading over to the other house with a head of cabbage for the weekly Jiggs Dinner.

Tied up every night with a full crew, one may say that this is a cost government cannot afford. I say we can't afford not to if it means maintaining a way of life that is slowly dying.

Petite Forte

Settled in the 1830's Petite Forte resisted resettlement until, finally, it was connected by road in 1992. It is a picturesque community with well kept fishing stages and boats. Local people say the community is shrinking as the young people leave for higher paid jobs and the bigger cities. In 1992 there were several hundred people, now there are but 54.

It is interesting to note that the men of the community are for the most part working, so any fish processing activities is undertaken by the more than capable and efficient women. It is a pleasure to watch them work; but DON'T GET IN THEIR WAY! Harbour facilties are top notch with fresh water and electricity.

When my wife, Maryalice, looked at this picture, she said it was a community you would like to be part of.

Baine Harbour

A number of years ago, we had talked with the Mayor of Baine Harbour. He told Maryalice and I that you could tie a boat on with a shoe string and not worry. This summer we stayed in Baine Harbour and enjoyed some great walks and showers! Harbour facilities are excellent.

AN elephant? Outside of Boat Harbour, Near Baine Harbour!


Indian Harbour has been one of my favourite anchorages in Placentia Bay; but I now have a new favourite: Oderin. Having sailed to this harbour twice this summer; its large protected anchorage and its history creates magical, thought provoking travels to the past. There is much to see whether it is wandering in the area where in the 1700s French settlers Ricord and LaFosse had plantations employing 50 fishing servants; crossing over a canal that was used to drain a small pond where it was thought LaFosse had buried a treasure; or sneaking a visit into the slowly decaying 1960s era homes.

To truly experience this area of Placentia Bay, it will require countless hours and kilometres of exploration. Alas, I am always in a rush to get to the next place or to dodge the next storm, and, for that reason, I never stay in one place for too long; I am continually wanting for more. Just one time I will stay for four or five days for no reason except to relax, enjoy and to explore. I am hoping it will be Odeirin.

Sadly the house is imploding; roof is leaking and windows are broken. The reality of these homes left behind; owners are too old to look after them or they are just forgotten. In this home, it seems that all was left with the intention that Peter Foote would return.

There is something that is drawing me to the picture below. There is a spiritual, haunting veil that makes me a little uncomfortable, a certain empty restlessness. Maybe it's a welcoming last effort for Peter Foote's return.

An excerpt from "The House With Nobody In It" - by Joyce Kilmer

Thank you Harry Sully

But a house that has done what a house should do,

A house that has sheltered life,

That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,

A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet,

Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.

The hip rubbers were left as they were taken off. As Peter Foote stood for one last time, he pulled his right foot out of the boot and then turned around, sat on the chair, and pulled off his other boot.

The house next to Peter Foote's was once a two story. Newfoundland ingenuity being what it was, the first floor was removed and kept the second floor as the main floor; yes this sounds confusing and it was for me. I'm not entirely sure how they did it or why but I bet there is a good story to be told!

Similar to Mr. Foote's house, everything was left with the expectations the owners would return. The kettle was even full of water ready to put on the stove.

St. Lawrence

Harbour Master Sam Tobin makes sure that you get settled away at the wharf in St. Lawrence. The Harbour Authority has wifi, showers, laundry facilities and electricity on the wharf. Unfortunately St. Lawrence does not have diesel, you have to go to Lawn for that. There is a hardware store, supermarket, liquor store and restaurants within a few minutes walk. I am told they also have the best fried chicken in Newfoundland. I checked it out and IT is pretty good! It is also an official port of entry so you can get customs clearance here. It is worth a stop whether by car or boat.

Early morning departure from St. Lawrence.

The USS Truxton had sank at Chambers Cove in 1942 and we knew there was a trail to Chambers Cove; Paul and Brenda, and I decided that we walk there. It was a gravel road and the sign said just four kilometres. Neither of us would say 'No' so we went for it. It was a warm, sunny day so it should be fun! There was a lot of misinformation on that sign!! In fact the final return tally was 13.5 kilometres and we were beat and thirsty on our return.

It was worth every step though, the sun was out and we could see where the Truxton went aground. It's hard to imagine what hardship these sailors went through during this February gale. Thank God for the St. Lawrence and Lawn citizens.

Just outside these rocks, the Truxton found her final resting place.

Link to the

Salt Cove is located on the other side of Chambers Cove.

Great Burin Harbour

While just a one night stopover, I wanted to return to this Harbour. Back in the 1980s I had spent several weeks diving with the Newfoundland Marine Archeology Society. One of the locations we dove was Great Burin Harbour. Evidence for hundreds of years of settlement was well documented. Basques Fishermen were known to have operated out of this harbour and we found shards of red tiles and other pottery pieces that bore this fact out.

There are many beautiful Arms and Harbours to explore. The Town of Burin offers all of the modern amenities for the road warrior or the ocean traveller. With all of the winding and twisting roads that run up and down the Arms of this area, it is photographer's delight. Complement that with the often present fog and you will create a masterpiece to hang prominently on your living room wall!

For my sailing friends, this was a difficult Harbour to navigate in the fog but well worth it. We tied up to the wharf and had no problems with grounding. Although if you have a draft of greater than 5.5' you may have difficulties. Some good trails to walk and in fact we hiked to the end of the island (Step-a-Side), about 6 km.

As we left the next morning, Paul had wanted to go into Little Burin Harbour to have a look around but the fog was so thick we had trouble finding our way out (even with radar and chart plotter); we decided to sail on to other destinations.

Wha? Wild turkeys???

Fortunately I have made previous visits by boat in 2012 and by car in 2015, so I was able to capture some pictures around Burin.

Driftwood - Amazing!

Little Burin Harbour

It's December 20th and I am trying to finish this up so that I can get it out to all of my land and sea friends before Christmas. I am thinking this is my Christmas gift from me to you.

I have asked Maryalice to tell me what she thinks. I figured I would go through the pictures and read out the text to her. On a number of occasions I became quite emotional. What the Hell?? I'm thinking it must be the time of the year, you know 'Short days, long nights. Can be a little depressing' but Maryalice says 'No' in her very understanding way; 'you're connected, your roots are there'.

And I s'pose it may be true; each and every visit in this Far Greater Bay has brought something special to me.


Some interesting links

Created By
Ed O'Reilly

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