Ramea (Map)

Spring 2010.

On that Sunday where Nicole & I returned from Francois we didn't go directly home. I knew that the ferry from Ramea was docking around the same time as our ferry would arrive from Francois; but I didn't know if Nicole would want to put herself through more boat bouncing hell.

We had already rode the ferry for 90 minutes from Francois to Grey River & another 120 minutes from Grey River to Burgeo. Even I was growing tired of the relentless left, right, left, right. The weather may not look very rough in the above picture, but outside of the Burgeo Harbour it was more than turbulent enough to test our stomachs.

Surprisingly, Nicole was up for another 140 minutes of ferrying (70 minutes each way). I hoped that the larger (18 vehicle/99 person) MV Gallipoli would fare a little better than the small backup ferry we had taken to Francois.

The fact that we were at the end of the 160km Burgeo Highway (we could see Ramea today instead of making a special visit) helped our decision to get on another ferry.

Aboard the ferry, we sat in the leather chairs on the bottom deck & Nicole had a pretty good line about the fact that the consumption of martinis was forbidden.

Only 10 minutes outside of Burgeo, something funny happened in that I started to hate my life. Nicole continued her consistent queasiness, while I experienced seasickness for the first time in my life. I had to get up and go outside for air & it was incredible how much the sea was battering us around - between the headache and the desire to vomit, I had to admire how us humans can get a boat through some damn crazy seas.

Going back inside I tried to fall asleep, but that wasn't really working - the ride from Burgeo to Ramea ended up being the longest 70 minutes I've had in a while.

I don't know how you people susceptible to seasickness put up with it.

We only had 90 minutes on Ramea, so the first order of business was making sure we got to the lighthouse. The island is only 1.0km by 3.1km, so I wasn't concerned that we wouldn't have enough time, but I also didn't want to delay.

Throughout Ramea there are signs which certainly aren't government issued, but they are still quaint in their homemade style.

We eventually found the sign for the Lighthouse Trail...

The Lighthouse Trail was a boardwalk which passed through the unsettled part of the island by looping from one section of town to another.

At the boardwalk's midpoint stood the 108 year old lighthouse.

Even though it was May, the whipping North Atlantic winds ensured that we didn't dawdle about the Northwest Head Lightstation.

Of course we were going to explore the rest of the island since we were out here already.

Driving around we came upon these wind turbines. I thought that they looked really old, but apparently they were only installed in 2004; they're simply a different design than the futuristic looking ones I'm used to in Southern Ontario.

Near the wind turbines sits the community pool. Finding cracks in the pool, I thought it was abandoned, but the town website says it is still open.

I also had a good laugh because I made fun of my Massachusetts friends for exploring a closed public pool; then here I was, roofing a lifeguard shack so I could take a picture of what I thought was an abandoned pool.

Nicole & I left the pool area to try and drive all of the streets on the island.

I think we saw everything there was to see in terms of houses, but you never know in these fishing villages where the roads are nonsensical and based on old trails from house to house.

The grid system it is not. Newfies make fun of the one town in the province that has a grid system.

The most peculiar and memorable item of our drive was this dog which couldn't care less that we were trying to drive on the road.

We drove right up to him & he didn't even move, just gave us a 'what of it' look and went back to resting.

I did see teens speeding around in souped-up Cavaliers, so I don't really understand how the dog can just lie in the middle of the road - unless absolutely everyone knows about the dog and they know to speed around him.

The mysteries of life.

Besides the lighthouse, I also wanted to come to Ramea on my friend's tip to check out the fish plant.

Ramea was a fairly wealthy place in the late 18th and into the 19th century. The John Penny & Sons fish plant operated out of Ramea and they built their own boats which would ship fish to Europe, the West Indies & even Brazil!

Unfortunately, like almost everywhere else in Newfoundland, the fish economy started to fizzle in the 80s and absolutely collapsed with the cod moratorium in 1992. This fish plant would close that year & while it would reopen when needed in '93, '96 and '98; it was nowhere near as beneficial to the community as it once was.

My friend commented about how she thought places like Ramea would be resettled and I quickly corrected her after going to Ramea, since I could tell her that it appeared vibrant and healthy.

In doing research for this write-up, I learned I should have maybe given her some credit, as the population has almost halved from its peak of 1120 down to 618 as a result of the cod moratorium.

Whereas some communities appear really sad in terms of future prospects, Ramea seems to have something going for it as it was selected for those wind turbines in 2004, was recently selected for a wind-hydrogen power system to be completed in 2010 and is home to a seaweed/kelp plant.

It's nowhere near the quality of life with the fish plant, but at least it's something.

After the fish plant, we climbed the 50-odd steps to the top of "Man-O-War Hill."

I was amazed at how close the power lines ran atop my head.

Ramea from the top of the hill.

While it wasn't bad in the rain & fog, my jaw dropped when I saw a picture of the view when it's sunny out.

We were pretty beat by the time we came down from Man-o-War, so we simply went to the harbour and waited in line with our last 30 minutes in Ramea. The ferry was a little smoother going back and we were thankful to finally be back at our car and driving home instead of boating from place to place.


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