|Counting Communities: Pond Cove|
Pond Cove, Blue Cove, Flowers Cove, Port au Choix, NL (Map)
In setting out to see every community on this island, you eventually want to do them a better service. You want to walk around instead of drive, compose better pictures instead of quick snaps & take the time to discover and feel each place to a greater extent. As the list of unseen places continues to shrink, there's also the desire to revisit the places where I didn't spend much time, seeing as one day I'll have seen them all & that's all there will be left to do.
It's with this fact that I woke up in my Plum Point (Northern Penn.) efficiency unit, having made up my mind to go for an early morning walk instead of continuing to sleep. In a matter of minutes, my friend had dropped me off at the end of the road in Pond Cove as she went on her own way up the coast. My morning would be a solitary 7km stroll back to the motel.
I had driven to the end of this road and seen Pond Cove before, but admittedly I only vaguely remembered the small village once we reached the end. Walking towards these boats at the end of town, the brisk morning was going to form stronger memories.
Pond Cove was marked on the 18th century surveying maps of Cook, with the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland surmising that the cove was named for nearby Grand Pond. (Passing the sign for Pond Cove frequently, I had wondered why the community had such a strange, conflicting name.)
The settlement marks the south side of St. Genevieve Bay, a small indent in the coastline stretching from Black Duck Cove to the aforementioned Pond Cove, beset with islands such as Gooseberry & Current; islands which used to have their own settlements.
The French & Basques fishermen would have been the first Europeans to use the area around here, with members of the Coombs family being the first settlers in Pond Cove in the year 1870. This number would increase to 24 by 1884, then fluctuate a bit between numbers in the teens, then up to 37 people in 1951. This was never big enough for a church or a school, so even with gaining residents from the resettlement of Current Island, the small settlement of Pond Cove continued to rely on Flower's Cove, Plum Point & Anchor Point for all amenities and services.
The new residents from Current Island would bring the population to approximately 70 people in the 1970s, growing to 84 in 1986, before falling to today's total of approximately 45. I wouldn't have guessed the number to even be that high, but then again, winter mornings aren't the best time to estimate a place's population.
There wasn't much to Pond Cove in this winter setting, so walking out of the village even at this early hour, there were a handful of trucks that passed me, where I was dressed so appropriately for the weather that none of them stopped - even though I was sort of surprised that their curiosity didn't get the better of them anyway. Maybe I caught them so off guard in their early morning fog, the fact of a stranger choosing to walk in Pond Cove in late winter not making much sense.
As the road bent inland back towards the small bits of forest around the main highway, I took one last look over Pond Cove, thinking about the islands out there and the possibilities of walking wherever I wanted. I pondered why I wasn't doing something more exciting this morning, which came down to a bit of cowardice, poor foresight and lack of motivation.
Walking back to Plum Point, Blue Cove sits just north of town. I had already been here, but couldn't help but walk the half kilometer into the small village for a revisit.
Climbing the incredible snow banks buffering the shore, I could see even more enticing islands - Fish & Old Ferolle - two which stand out and which you normally see as you drive up the Viking Trail (the main highway). For an islomaniac like me, this means I have craned my neck over a dozen times at Old Ferolle Island, fantasizing about somehow getting out there and setting foot on its beaches and grassy inlands.
One of the things that might put a damper on such activities would be encountering your run of the mill, unfriendly, Labradorian polar bear, in town for a spring visit - such as the one in Anchor Point in 2009 or Port au Choix in 2015. Of course you hope that snowmobilers or townsfolk would see the bear from a distance and put out police warnings beforehand, but I can't say there wasn't a seedling of a polar bear thought as I stood atop the snowbank in Blue Cove.
With the wind drowning out all other noise and my eyes focused entirely outwards towards low-lying islands, I felt a jolt into my calf, where I swiftly whipped around to realize it was the common nudge of a giant dog that had ran away from its lumber-hauling owner. The thing looked up at me in confusion as to why I wasn't happy to see him, before eventually abandoning the thought that I was going to pet him. As if I would pet this hound after he put such a fright into me.
Returning to the Plum Point Motel after an enjoyable morning, there was now all day to get back to Corner Brook. There was even enough time to drive a bit north to Flower's Cove beforehand, to see their incredible amounts of snow from a recent storm.
I wanted to get a better picture of a man widening Flower's Cove's main street with a front end loader, but upon seeing me, he stopped working, opened his door, and asked if I was with the newspaper. Then we talked about where I was from. Then about the amounts of snow back home. Then this, then that.
Then, a woman in a Camry pulled up and they had their own yarn. I went back to the car to wait for them to finish to get my picture, but when they were done talking 5 minutes later he turned the front end loader around and drove away.
Eating Froot Loops as we went south, this allowed me to skip lunch in Port au Choix and get back to walking around instead of driving.
I even managed to finally walk out on some sea ice here, but looking at Google Street View I think I was walking atop all of 2 or 3 feet of water. Ha ha.
The ice was broken at bridges and rivers while returning south towards Corner Brook, with open water (and ducks) in St. Paul's...
...and even some grass at Lobster Cove Head!
There would be a few more weeks of winter left in Western Newfoundland, but I had almost done it. I had just about beat winter #6.
Go Back to the Main Page of this Website
1 - Pond Cove - The Great Northern Peninsula
2 - Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, volume 4, Poole and Cuff.
3 - Newfoundland and Labrador: The Coast and Banks of Newfoundland and the Coast of Labrador, US Hydrographic Office, Richard Davenport
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