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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Burgeo: Backyards and Buttercups

Burgeo: it is on the backs of communities like this that in my opinion, Newfoundland is carried. It was the sweat and tears of these fragile communities that fed the coffers in St. John's for many years while inhabitants tried to etch out a subsistence lifestyle on the shores of a sometimes unforgiving and rugged coastline. Much can be said about these places and the people that live here. Situated on the southwest coast of Newfoundland about a 12 hour drive from St. John's, Burgeo is hidden from the mainstream of traffic flow. That may be good in some ways as you may be more apt to preserve your culture and way of life there but when times are a changing and as fishing stocks of all species dwindles being so isolated may not be that helpful at all. After all, when the fish is gone what will be left? Burgeo is serviced by a ferry that still chugs up and down the coastline and everywhere you go there are backyards and buttercups. I love buttercups they are so colorful and contrast so nicely with the green of the grass in these areas.

Backyards well they're another story.

The backyards of coastal Newfoundlanders tell many of  the stories of their way of
life. When you come out the back door in Burgeo you are greeted by spectacular island and land vistas that can take your breath away in the right light.

Sheds, walkways, and piles of wood are familiar sights. As are the mounds of rock that are as ornamental to me as the flowers and herbs in the garden.

Motorboats and slipways tell a tale of fish trade and transportation that existed for hundreds of years.

Staging and wharfs providing mooring spots and holding places for outer sheds, lobster pots and fishing gear. All easily accessible at the backdoor to the Atlantic Ocean.

This land of rock and some of the oldest in the world, so wind swept and coated in fog one would think it difficult to grow anything here but grow Newfoundland does and continuing to thrive does Burgeo.

Stretching far and near these fishing bays and communities are ripe with culture, charm and livelihoods that continue to thrive. Fishing is still a way of life here but others seek unique ways to tap into the economy of the area. So yup, backyards do mean something in Newfoundland, they are the gateways to livelihoods, the theatres of life and beauty and the bonds that hold each other close knowing there are few fences, and help when needed is just a few steps away.

This backyard was to prove to be the start of our adventure as Tony, Ralph and I came together for trip a kayaking trip along the south west coast of Newfoundland. We would visit with Burgeo then press on by ferry to Grand Bruit and Rose Blanche with our kayaks and gear then paddle back to this beautiful dock and Backyard at the Burgeo Haven Bed & Breakfast owned by Dorim and Martine. What a spot that caters to kayakers and the like. So nice to be able to load and unload easily, watch sunrises ans sunsets, wash off gear and seek shelter when you wanted to get out of the inclement weather but not really out. So as we became familiar with Burgeo we were anxious to continue our journey but like all journeys there has to be a beginning and so we have begun!

Part of any journey is having food. Nothing like a seafood platter and fish and chips to stalk up the stores of energy needed for the long haul. Joy's restaurant up the road can provide most anything by the looks of the menu. The battered cod was delicious. Tony and Ralph enjoying a bit of coastal cuisine.

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