2 days ago
Thursday, June 30, 2011
To Harbour Buffett by water
Saturday night I slept like a log after our 37 km paddle down from Arnolds Cove. I woke early though, around 5:30. I unzipped the tent door to see what the weather was and as I looked around a horse and 4 goats were looking back at me. I dove back into the tent to grab my camera and emerged to see the horse turning to leave. Awesome!
We sized up the situation in the morning as we ate breakfast and made a combined decision that it was suitable for a trip around Long Island. We planned to make camp in Haystack that night but would first make a couple of stops.
There's an overland trail from Port Royal to Harbour Buffett that can be walked in about 15 minutes. Hazen had walked there the previous evening but today we'd be going by water around Buffett Head and then turn north.
Back in the boats it didn't take long to get back into rhythm.
As we made our way towards the south end of Long Island the cliffs got higher.
The wind began to pick up slightly and it looked like maybe it would be foggy on the other side. The fog seemed to be trying to roll over Ironskull Hill and onto the east side of the island.
However, it began to brighten as Hazen and Clyde approach the headland. The nearest island Great Seal Island and in the distance to the left is Red Island.
The waters around Buffett Head were glassy calm and there were lots of seagulls. The other guys were busy checking out a school of capelin, a small grunion like fish.
Near the entrance to Harbour Buffett and inside Isaac Island someone has a beautiful site for a cabin and wharf.
Harbour Buffett is but a shadow if itself before resettlement. It was a thriving fishing community with a peak population of 498 in 1921. The whole harbour was occupied by fishing premises, stages and flakes for drying cod fish.
The Maritime History Archive at MUN (the University) has a nice collection of old photographs of Harbour Buffett and its citizens that makes for interesting viewing. the place looks so unassuming now given how active it was in its heyday. We had a quick look around but I think its worth coming back for a closer look, and I will.
Harbour Buffett was abandoned after 1966. As there was no one to tend to the cemetery, nature carried on as if it didn't notice the population had left. Trees grew between the graves and the action of frost toppled grave markers.
We walked around the old community remarking about the amount of old foundations and concrete works still evident on the land. There happened to be a few people staying in cabins while we were there and they observed us through binoculars as we entered the harbour. Once we landed we found out that they had put a pot of coffee on, expecting us to have some. And, that is the way it is in Newfoundland.
Finished our short visit to Harbour Buffett, we got back in our kayaks with a send off from the Wareham party and made for Hay Cove and lunch.