THE ROAD TO MIDDLE BAY
Having had a good night's sleep in 2014, we are now in a virtual next morning heading down towards the end of the road at Old Fort.
You'll remember that when we came by here that year, we were dealing with rolling fog, howling winds and driving rain. And this is what prompted me to come back here in 2015 because even with what I was able to see, it really is a beautiful part of the world and I wanted to see it properly.
And just at the foot of that steep hill are some roadworks - right at the U-bend. And on the apex of the bend is a superb little waterfall on the right-hand side and it's probably about 50 feet high or something like that.
I would ordinarily have stopped and taken a photo of it, but that was simply not possible. We had traffic lights, barriers, workmen, heavy lorries and all of that kind of thing busy erecting some armco crash-barriers on tne bend and there was nowhere to stop where it was convenient to take a photo of the falls.
Judging by the steepness of the hill, I reckoned that the view from the top would be something quite stunning. And I wasn't wrong either, was I? The view is absolutely stunning, and it gives you a good idea of what the coastline looks like around here. Heavily indented, loads of rocks and dozens of islands.
If you look dead ahead, slightly to the left of centre at middle height, you can see from where I took the previous photo. And doesn't that look something like an artificial embankment?
And I'm not on the mainland more than half an hour before it starts to rain. That sounds about right, doesn't it?
You can tell that this photo was taken in 2014. The miserable weather, the fog and the rain ought to tell you that. And this was at one of the better moments of the day too. As you'll discover, we'll be having much worse than this.
But what caught my eye, regardless of the weather, was this lovely green and white complex of buildings. You won't find too many settings more beautiful than this to make your home.
I came back in 2015 to take a better photograph of the site, seeing as how nice it was when I saw it last year in the fog.
I'd be quite happy living in the bungalow here facing the bay, and I could park some of my collection of cars in the big shed. But I'd have to do something about the molluscs in there, because the shed is currently some kind of mussel processing works.
Seafood plays quite an important part in the local economy, in the absence of anything else.
In the previous photo you saw a cleft in the hills right behind the buildings. This is where the road passes and then climbs once more over yet another headland. Seeing it did make me wonder what the view was like right at the top.
I'm not disappointed here either, am I? Although I would have been a little happier had I been able to see Newfoundland on the horizon and had that storm cloud just offshore not been there.
When we were at Red Bay in Labrador in 2010 we discussed the presence of Basque Whalers on the Coasts of Labrador. But Red Bay wasn't the only whaling station in Terranova. To date, there have been ten such sites identified in total.
One of the sites so identified is said to be near what is today known as Middle Bay, and that site over there where today is a fish-processing plant is believed to be where the Basque Whaling station may well have been.
Distinctive red tiles such as those discovered at Red Bay and which may well have originated from Spain have been discovered in the immediate vicinity of the fish plant and so I went down there to have a look around to see what I could see.
It took me ages to reach the fish plant, because I ended up stuck behind a rather large digger that was crawling down the lane. But eventually I reached the far end and that was rather a disappointment because there was nothing to see that was significant.
I couldn't even find one of these tourism posts giving information about the site, which was something of glaring omission from the Tourist Board.
And on the way back, I found myself stuck behind the digger once again. It's not my lucky day, is it?
Back on the main road - which is called the Boulevard de Bonne Esperance by the way - and back in 2014 and back through one of the several pairs of gates along the road, I eventually arrived in Middle Bay. Finding a convenient place to stop to take a photo was not so easy.
I had to drive all the way through the town until I found a suitable driveway up to someone's house.
And so braving the fierce wind that was blowing around outside (but which was doing nothing to shift the fog), I stuck by head out of the door and took a photo. It was the best that I could do.
When I came back to the area in September 2015, and seeing as how the weather was so much better , I came back to Middle Bay, to park in the same driveway and to take the same photograph.
There's a slight difference in this photograph though, in that if you look to the right of the photo at mid-height you can make out the fish-processing plant in the distance.
This will give you an idea of how sheltered the bay is and why it appealed to the Basque whalers of the 16th Century.
And as for why the road through here is called the Boulevard de Bonne Esperance - that's because the area round here consisting of Middle Bay, St Paul's River and Old Fort was incorporated on 1st January 1990 into a municipality subsequently named Bonne Esperance
So now you know.
I must have missed this little spec when I came by in 2014 - probably something to do with the wind, rain and fog. There was a little place to park a short distance further on, and a little walk took me to this really nice view over Middle Bay.
It's certainly a picturesque little village, but it must have been quite a lonely place before the road down here was opened, hemmed in here in the bay by these two headlands that surround it.
The modern red building there just to the right of centre was formerly the village school but now it's a kind of museum-cum-tourist information site - the Middle Bay Interpretation Centre. And as you might expect, given my usual luck, it was closed when I went past it.
But the person who runs the Tourist Information Office is far from silent about the fate of the village. She's on record as saying
"The post office is closed, the grocery store is closed. There's 35 people left here. Only one of them is a teenager. And the most telling sign of all: When people die here, nobody comes to claim their homes or belongings. No one wants to be here"
No-one except me, so it seems.
From up here was the view that I'd been looking for while I've been travelling along the road. It's actually quite a significant spot.
We are somewhere round about the "corner" of Quebec where the coastline swings round from the east-west axis to the north-south axis, and over there across the water is Newfoundland.
Where we are standing then is somewhere round about the entrance to the Strait of Belle Isle, the water that separates the Coasts of Labrador from the island of Newfoundland.
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