If you drive even further north than Gros Morne in Newfoundland. If you drive five and something hours past The Arches, past River of Ponds, past St. Barbe – where you catch the ferry that will take you to Labrador – past the barrenness that is Eddie’s Harbour, past the seemingly endless muskeg Route 430 crosses over the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula toward St. Anthonys – and yes – even past the original Viking settlement of Eric the Red at L’Anse aux Meadow – you will find yourself at a dock which represents the village of Quirpon (pronounced “Car-poon”).
And there, before you – a 30 minute boat (and I use that word loosely) ride away – sits the most northernly point on the island of Newfoundland – Quirpon Island – an island roughly 6 kms long and at its broadest 3 kms wide.
And if you’re really adventuresome you can cross to this barren rock set on the Strait of Belle Isle and own the island as your personal kingdom, complete with servants for as long as dare.
And that is exactly what G and I did. We booked 3 days on the island where, aside from us, there was but two grandmas – Mariah and Margaret – who prepared all our meals in the old lightkeepers house where we stayed. Even the locals in St. John’s gasped when they heard we were going there, saying; “It’s like going to the moon” which indeed it is. It was worth every penny and the vast distance we traveled to get there, and will remain – I believe – one of the most exceptionally amazing travel experiences we’ll ever have.
Quirpon Island was ours to explore. There is no television or radio and your mobile won’t work out here. It is just you, the ocean, the whales, the sound of the foghorn – blowing deep and wailingly long at night – and the wind; always the wind.
2 & 3) caribou, like moose, are everywhere and you must drive with great caution
4) one last stop at Western Brook Pond before going even further north
5) Western Brook Pond from a distance; 6) and way up close with thanks to my zoom
7) our little car that got us there and back; 8) G moves in to explore The Arches
9) there are some very strange dead trees at the Arches where I am sure a witch must once have lived; 10) near Quirpon a beautiful iceberg – a ‘growler’ or ‘bergy bit’ as the locals call them – wanders a small harbour as two ducks (lower right) pass by
24) our base camp for the visit; 25) I jump for joy on the helicopter pad upon arrival (the Canadian Coast Guard uses this pad for their infrequent visits to the Island to provide maintenance to the Lighthouse and fog horn)