Thursday, November 8, 2012

Iceberg Alley Labrador

When people think of Iceberg Alley, they usually think of St. Anthony, Newfoundland.

St. Anthony, Newfoundland

But this small town is only one spot along the alley.  
Icebergs and floes sweep down from Northern Canada and Greenland, 
past the coast of Labrador,
and along the eastern coast of Newfoundland 
from the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula 
to Torbay and St. John's on the Avalon.

In 2011, when I finally had the opportunity to realize my dream of visiting Iceberg Alley, my husband, two of my sisters, and I chased icebergs in and out of little coves in Labrador.

But first we had to get there!

One way is to take a ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland, 
across the Straight of Belle Isle, to Blanc Sablon, Quebec.

(Dramamine recommended, if you get seasick like me.)

This takes about one hour and forty-five minutes, depending on weather and ice conditions.
That's crossing the water time, not waiting in line to board the ferry, boarding, and exiting!

Essence of a Newfoundlander!

Waiting in line for a ferry can be tedious, but you'd be surprised at what you can spot!
I love this shot because it captures the spirit of a Newfoundlander.
Newfies are practical to their bone marrow.
And they make the most of any situation.

Into the Belly of the Whale

It's not as hard as it looks!
It used to be much more difficult to drive your car onto the ferries of old.

Lots of people head immediately for a warm breakfast.
(L to R:  me, Terry, Barb, Bertie)

Life Rafts with The Great Northern Peninsula on the Horizon

You think it can't happen!

My sisters have been stuck in ice for several days on a crossing
from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.

Some of my cousins were put out on the ice until helicopters could rescue the passengers.
That time the ship did not go down!

But the M. V. William Carson, a ferry I sailed on a number of times,

sank in 500 feet of water not that far from where I took this picture of the life rafts.

Rumor has it that the storied William Carson carried 4,000 cases of beer to the bottom.
Rumor also has it that many a Newfie has spent time scheming how to salvage that beer!

I ALWAYS know where the life rafts are!

First Labrador Iceberg!

I'm not sure which was more exciting:  spotting the iceberg or getting close to Labrador!

 A closer look!

Blanc Sablon, Quebec

Turn left to go deeper into Quebec.
Turn right for Labrador.
We turned right!

And it is a Big Land!

Scratch another item off that Bucket List.
I am finally standing on solid ground in Labrador!

Iceberg in Forteau, Labrador

On the Hunt in an Empty Land

Iceberg in the Straight of Belle Isle
The Great Northern Peninsula on the Horizon

Bunchberry or Creeping Dogwood
with Granite

Red Bay, Labrador

Today Red Bay is fishing village.
As early as 1550 it was a major Basque whaling area.
On-land and underwater archeological discoveries in Red Bay
have established it as a major site
for understanding Basque whaling activities during the 1500s.

Caribou Lichen

Tracey Hill Walking Trail

If you're game, you can climb 670 steps over 1,436 meters
 to reach the top of Tracey Hill, some 150 meters above Red Bay.
This vantage point has been used over the centuries
to spot whales, seals, birds, icebergs, and ice floes,
as well as ships and planes during wars.

We were able to see some large icebergs and floes 
from the top of Tracey Hill overlooking Red Bay.

A hot cup of coffee would have been great after a 2.9 kilometer hike 
to the top of  Tracey Hill and back!
But the closest Timmies is a 596 kilometer drive over dirt road to Labrador City 
(The pavement ends in Red Bay). 
Alternatively, you could go to St. Anthony, a shorter 250 kilometer drive,
 as well as a 1 hour and 45 minute ferry ride, 
not including waiting, boarding, and exiting!
We settled for coffee on the Apollo, an adventure in itself!

(The computer defeats me!  
I can't get my photo and text centered - nor the text the right size.
C'est la vie!)

This is so not American!

Pinware River

This river is renowned as a site for Atlantic salmon fly-fishing.

Civic Pride!

The Ferry Comes for the Return Trip

Good-Bye Labrador!
Je Me Souviendrai Toujours!

I will come back!

You Tube:  Icebergs Newfoundland and Labrador (1:18)


  1. Thanks for this magnificent trip through your eyes, Fundy!
    I can understand your fascination with icebergs!
    Let us know if they manage to salvage the beer one day! LOL!
    I enjoy especially the wide views on the immensity of that quite extra-ordinary landscape!
    The added video is a must!
    But after spending 10 minutes watching all this ice, I feel like enjoying a warm coffee!!!

  2. Cheers, Noushka!

    After your coffee comment, I may go back into my post and add another picture. From Blanc Sablon to Red Bay is 87 kilometers. The pavement ends in Red Bay. The nearest Tim Hortons is another 596 kilometers to Labrador City over dirt road on Route 500. Route 500 is one of the only roads in Labrador.

    In the opposite direction the nearest Timmie's is back in St. Anthony, a mere 250 Kilometers and a 1hour and 45 minute ferry ride away!

    Now I'm drinking hot coffee handed to me by my husband! It is a cold, snowy day in Colorado. Have a good one.

  3. Great post Louise! I have always wanted to go to Labrador!! What beautiful country it is! I have never seen an iceberg up close and personal like this. Must be quite a sight.

    I see some of the vegetation is similar to ours here in Nova Scotia....the Creeping Dogwood for example.

    Yes these ferries can look intimidating but they are much better than the older ones.

    Have a great week.

    1. I've been a lot closer and more personal to icebergs than these. I've touched them in Westport on White Bay where I lived. And I've had a chunk of one in a special Newfie martini. I have one more blog to do on icebergs, but that will be in a week or two. Thanksgiving and company are coming! You have a great week too!

  4. The video is so stunning...just imagine viewing the icebergs in this manner...would love that. What did you mean with the comment re: so not american? The fr/eng or the road construction? Coffee is so necessary for these road trips especially when they are dirt roads. I think I might bring along a single coffee maker of some sort...! The page alignment icon is above...has little lines with a triangle beside it...I had many a hair pulling time with mistakes with this option....hope this helps!

    1. Right now the American government can't seem to come up with any plan, let alone an action plan they'd post on signs along roads. The action plans were posted throughout the parts of Labrador and Newfoundland that we were in. It just struck me as so Canadian, and so not American.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see Spanish/English signs in the not too distant future in the US. Some states are trying to pass English as the only official language laws, but that won't worked. When there is money to be made, signs will go up in any useful language. It's already happening for some commercial purposes.

      I'll check out that alignment icon. So much to learn! Thanks for all your help!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.