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Report 1901: A Month on the Rock

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2010

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Page 5 of 31: From Steady Brook to Broom Point

photo by Michael

The fishing store at Broom Point

From Steady Brook we drove to St Barbe to catch the ferry to Labrador. The Newfoundland Government web site indicted this was 338km with an estimated time (at speed limits) of 4 hours 15 minutes. It took us 12 hours with stops. Although the speed limit for the road is 90km it drops to 50km for long stretches past the many settlements.

This was a valuable lesson as we realised, for us, estimated driving times were meaningless, although it did help to work out how long we could allow for stops and still arrive at our destination at a reasonable time.

The road climbed to the start of Gros Morne National Park. It was a good run through low forest with views over the rolling mountains with a few small lakes. We had views across East Arm towards Tablelands, which was still topped with cloud. Later on there were views across to Woody Point and Norris Harbour. The mist was beginning to roll back off the tops and it was turning into a glorious day.

Beyond Rocky Harbour, the coast became flat and marshy with small lakes. The mountains rose steeply from the marshland about 3km inland. We could see the deep gash of Western Brook Pond and the car park looked busy at 10am. The mountains were flat topped with several deep ĎUí shaped valleys. The sides were covered with trees.

There was low scrubby coniferous forest along the road in places but the trees didnít look particularly healthy.

Our first stop was Broom Point Fishing Station. It was a 15 minutes walk from the car park through the trees to a flat area along the coast which was covered with dense tuckamore forest.

The fishing station is on the edge of a promontory with jagged reefs running out to the sea. The fishing loft and living house are preserved (plus some modern sheds still used by fishermen.)

We had 30 minutes before the tour began, so went into the fishing loft to take pictures and then into the house where we began to ask questions. It had been used by three families who each had their own bedroom. There was a big wood burning fire used for cooking and a calor gas washing machine. The family moved here from Norris Point in April and stayed until October. The children stayed with their grandparents at Norris Point until school broke up and then moved to Broom Point where they were needed to help their parents.

The men fished and the women and children processed the fish. Lobsters were sold live. Cod was split, salted and dried on the beach. Salmon was tinned. They took hens with them to provide eggs and grew vegetables (cabbage, carrots, potatoes).

In winter the men worked for the forestry.

We did the guided tour, although the guide explained we had already covered a lot of the information in our questions. It was useful and informative - a good visit.

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