Gaultois, Newfoundland

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During our rushed trip along this coast 13 years ago, we rode out a gale laced into the snug anchorage at Piccaire, Hermitage Bay. While waiting for the gale to pass, we hiked across the small peninsula that separates Piccaire, the site of a long ago community, and Gaultois. The trail was hard to find back then, but after casting about for a while, John managed to locate it and we hiked on over. We didn’t stay long, just wandered around the outport for a few minutes, bought a few things at the store, and then turned back for the boat.

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It pays to have plenty of fenders if you plan to visit Newfoundland. The large balloon type favoured by fishing boats works better than the more standard yacht fender, or a fender-board, since it doesn’t get jammed in the dock as the tide rises and falls. Moving the boat’s fenders onto the wharf can be a useful trick too.

This time we decide to go alongside at the fishplant dock in Gaultois itself, not an easy task given the widely spaced timbers pocked by protruding bolts. Though the fishplant is closed, most of the dock is in constant use by boats loading up with pallets of food for the fish farms found all over this area. The aquaculture industry has taken over Hermitage Bay, along with neighbouring Bay d’Espoir, to mixed reviews by the locals.

However, on the positive side, this is another industry, along with the merchant marine (see my post on Francois), that just might help keep Gaultois and McCallum, the outports in Hermitage Bay, alive.

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Click on the photographs to enlarge.

Gaultois, population 160, lies only 2-nm from Hermitage, the road-served community that is the end point of the ferry for the more easterly outports (Gaultois, McCallum, Francois). It has an all-ages school (24 pupils), medical center and helipad, like Francois, but it only has one small store, compared to the two in Francois. Though most people use ATVs, the roads, except for a few walkways, are wide enough for automobiles and there are some trucks around.

Interestingly, a number of people drop by to check out the boat, unlike in Francois, due probably to the fact that fewer yachts stop here—most go directly from Francois or McCallum to the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, and then make their Newfoundland return landfall in Fortune, further to the east.

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But, like all the outports we’ve visited so far, Gaultois has trails with red and white painted boardwalks and bridges (probably a government incentive to encourage fitness for outport inhabitants), including on the trail to Piccaire. Short on time—the wind is due to back into the southeast later in the day, which will blow us onto the boltheads on the crumbling dock—we decide not to relive our walk of 13 years ago (besides which my quads are still not quite up to par after our last fit of nostalgic hiking!) and so we take a short but lovely walk to a grassy area overlooking the harbour. After spending a few minutes sitting at a red-painted picnic table, soaking up the sun, enjoying the slight breeze that serves to keep the bugs at bay, we retrace our steps to the boat to get ready for our next big voyage: the two miles across the bay to Hermitage.

You know you’ve been ‘out there’ for a while when a lack of clean clothes determines your next port of call!

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Colin Speedie September 20, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Hi Phyllis

    One thing that has shone through in this series on Newfoundland is how much pleasure you’ve both derived from ‘just cruising’ this year.

    After last year’s ‘big one’ to Greenland, it must be quite a contrast, but at the same time, isn’t it great not to be under pressure all the time, and to slow down – ‘what is this world, if filled with care, we have no time to stop and stare.’

    Great stuff, and I hope there’s more!

    Best wishes

    Colin

    Reply
    • John September 22, 2012, 10:43 am

      Hi Colin,

      You have hit the nail on the head! Being able to really spend time in each place is a lot of what made this summer’s cruise so special for us.

      More to come–Phyllis was inspired!

      Reply
  • Paul Mills October 1, 2012, 6:21 am

    Hi Phyllis,

    This summer we have tried to apply the ‘2 night rule’ to most of our stops. The result is that my focus has turned a bit away from wind, weather and tide towards what do I want to see/experience at this place. So, one of the reasons that I have emjoyed your recent posts. As they have made me focus even more on where I am, also, rather than does my reefing work well?

    Interestingly I am also learning to differentiate betwen boat jobs that need soing ASAP and those that will happen in their own good time. Last week, on a rainy Sunday morning, I spent a really realxing hour or so, drinking coffee, listening to U2 and sharpening all our knives (note activities in order of importance…). Result, I enjoyed the process, the knives are good enough to shave with and the sun came out – though maybe the last would have happened anyway :)

    Paul

    Reply

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