From Gros Morne, we headed north to the village of St. Barbe. There we left our motorhome in a RV park that is little more than a fenced parking lot with power. Boarding the afternoon ferry, we arrived in Labrador in approximately 2 hours. The ferry landed just inside Quebec and we quickly drove across the border into Labrador to the hotel for our one night stay. This will be a brief visit, as we will return on the evening ferry the next day.
This is rugged country with many beautiful landscapes most of which will be beyond our reach in such a short visit. The vast interior can be reached by plane, dirt roads and ferries. There is no hospitals or advanced medical service available here. This service is available in Newfoundland, so bad weather, which is a regular occurrence, will make getting care problematic. We will be touring the southeast Atlantic Coast from the Quebec border to Red Bay in the northeast on one of the few paved roads. Even this road is in poor condition in some spots, apparently due to the current influx of workers taking part in the new boom of extracting natural resources. The other evidence of their presence is the many temporary housing units seen along the road.
The first Europeans in Labrador were thought to be the Vikings in the 11th century. There are a number of native peoples who have called this region home. One of our first stops is the L'Anse Amour Burial mound. While not physically impressive, the mound is the oldest funeral monument in North America dating to about 7, 500 years ago. That is almost 2000 years before the pyramids of Egypt were build. When it was discovered, an excavation revealed the grave of a young Maritime Archaic Indian who was given a ceremonial burial indicating the importance of the site.
The landscape is covered with large boulders. Our guide indicated these were deposited during the ice age. Even in late July it is cold, windy and very foggy. This is a pretty common weather conditions here.
The Labrador Straits Museum in L'Anse Au Loup is a small but interesting museum created by the Straits of Labrador Women's league. The women of Labrador worked hard alongside the men to survive in this land. The museum is an effort to remember the history of the area and the history of the people who have lived here.
As sail and steamship traffic increased between Europe and the Americas, the Strait of Belle Isle became an important shipping route. With the narrow waterway, icebergs, fog and generally bad weather, the Point Amour Lighthouse became a vital navigation tool. The lighthouse was put in service for the 1858 navigation season. Even with the lighthouse, there were notable shipwrecks. The lighthouse has a fascinating history and it is definitely worth visiting.