Northwest Head Lighthouse

Ramea, Newfoundland (Map)

Spring 2016


Seeing as my main Newfoundland travelling partner - who is quickly closing in on my list of towns visited - hadn't been to Ramea, we dedicated an early summer's weekend to it. Heading down to Burgeo and camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park, we would get up the next morning and take the boat over to the Ramea islands for a few hours.

While setting up the tent, I turned my head to notice a nearby Cedar Waxwing hopping about in some grasses. After creeping up on it, the bird kindly flew right into the tree beside our site, where it was easier to photograph.

The Sandbanks tradition of walking the beach to the stair set was kept alive. It's here that the view overlooks many of the islands outside Burgeo, as well as the setting sun over the grassy meadow that stretches west. It's not a bad place to spend the last light of the day.

Prior to this trip, I had taken the 75 minute ferry to Ramea on a rainy & dreary day in 2010; as well as a rainy & dreary day in 2013. In recent years, I continued to hear accounts of people visiting the isles on sunny days, where the lightkeeper was outside and even let them inside the lighthouse.

For someone whose seen a few lighthouses on the island, people are generally amused when they can see a lighthouse I haven't (highly unlikely) or see the interior of one I haven't (more likely).

The 1902 Northwest Head Lighthouse was looking a bit better on this sunny day. Although I like my picture of it from 2010, I can't help but think about how Donnie believes all lighthouses should be visited in inclement weather.

As luck would have it, the lightkeeper was standing outside. For the two or three people who were shocked that I visited and missed the lightkeeper, suddenly I was going to make amends.

The lightkeeper wasn't some grizzled old-timer, but rather a friendly fellow in his 30s. He had the Windex out to eventually clean these windows, seemingly working at a pace that was a little more sleepy than your average CEO (although the lighthouse shined in every other aspect).

A gorgeous view out towards Ramea Colombier Island, as well as the Northward Rocks and Turr Islets.

I also stopped by the Cluett House, sad to see that it could use a coat of paint and some porch repairs.

This house was featured in one of my favourite Newfoundland books, This is Our Place, this is Our Home by Joan Edward; as she met the old couple who lived here at the time & found out that the house was built in 1840 (it's the oldest house in Ramea).

For a tie-in to the lighthouse, the old couple bought their house off Charles Chaffe, who was 80 at the time & the lightkeeper at Northwest Head.

The last time I was in Ramea I enjoyed their quaint Scotiabank, which was smaller than most garages and had a storm door with a rusty latch. This time I was infatuated with a different financial institution, after arriving at the ferry & realizing it was cash only.

So where was the ATM? Well it was in the ATM shed of course!

(I also loved that someone put a chair in here for some reason.)

And so, in no time at all, the 2 hours passed and it was time to leave Ramea. I initially thought about camping here, but they have a tough matchup in comparison to the stunning campground in Burgeo.

Regardless, Ramea is always a nice trip and I'm reminded each time of how much I like the little community. In addition, it's not like you can go to the Penguin Islands, Sagona or Brunette Island anymore, so there's something special about departing this rugged coast towards the last inhabited island off the southern shore of Newfoundland.


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