Friday
Mar232018

Red Bay

Rifling through old peices for another post, I came across some fragments that I'd written about Red Bay in Labrador. 

We spent a few days on an island at the northern tip of Newfoundland at a lighthouse. En route, we visited Rocky Harbour where we'd stayed many years before. I remember looking at the town and thinking about how long it had been, but even that memory is twelve years old now. We visited Anse Aux Meadows and saw the ruins of the Viking settlement there. A race memory, this time. On Quirpon island we watched humpback whales from the tops of the cliffs and then, on a long walk, one of the great beasts came a little way out of the water on a steep shingle beach and looked right at us.

On the way home, we decided to cross the water to the nethermost part of Quebec and from there drive into Labrador. Some way up the coast there is a small town called Red Bay. It's an old mining town in a tiny part given over to the kind of touristy things that work when you get one or two tourists a week. Across from the town there is a beach and some old industrial ruins.

On the beach there are bones. Lots of bones. More whalebones than a human being can safely look at and not feel ashamed. I'm ashamed to say that I couldn't even bear to look. 

I hadn't forgotten that short side trip, because it burned me, but I had forgotten the details until I looked back at what I'd written after that visit. Like a scar that is always there, part of your identity, with the details of how it got there faded into the background.

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