Burgeo, Newfoundland—What? A Canal?

Tucked in among the many rocks and islands enclosing Burgeo, the Burgeo Marine Service Centre takes a bit of tricky navigation to access but once in the welcome is warm. June, the harbourmaster, greets us enthusiastically and shares her plans on how to make the marina more attractive for visitors. The next member of our welcoming committee is Marion.

Now, there must be something about women whose names start with M, because they have been vital in maintaining our quality of life this summer! First there was Marjorie in Hermitage, who did our laundry—just in the nick of time—and now here in Burgeo it’s Marion, who runs a home bakery offering wonderful wholewheat bread—which we have been sorely missing—and other tasty treats!

Another Burgeo must, besides Marion’s Bakery, is Sandbanks Provincial Park, about an hour’s walk from the marina. Once in the park, there are 5 kms of boardwalked trails that meander through bogs, past old graveyards, and to a hilltop lookout. And, as the name of the park suggests, there are miles and miles of fine sand beaches to explore.

As is our wont, John and I find an unmarked trail at the end of Western Beach that wends its way over hills and through valleys, leading to another, in this case deserted, beach, which ends in a point.

When we walk to the end of the beach and turn back on the other side of the point, we are surprised to see a huge shallow bay spreading out in front of us. When we check the chart back at the boat, we see that this bay is connected to another equally large shallow bay by a channel named ‘The Canal’. June tells us that in 1867 local men dug The Canal out of the marsh with picks and shovels. Someday I would like to paddle there and ponder the backbreaking work it took to settle Newfoundland and the strength of the people who managed to do it.

However, for now, we’ll sit in the cockpit and ponder, over a cold beer, our next port of call.

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Meet the Author

Phyllis

Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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