Taking a vacation from McCallum comes with an extra layer of consideration—just getting out of an isolated outport can be difficult. Weather needs to be watched closely until the day you depart, meaning you never know for sure if your trip is going to happen or not. These days, you can’t even be sure which form of transportation you’ll take—ferry or helicopter—with your choice drastically determining the number of bags and boxes you’re allowed to bring along.
On my most recent trip out of town, I travelled by helicopter. And while my seven-day vacation is not yet over—I’m submitting today’s column from the road—that copter ride is currently the highlight of my journey. To look directly down from 2500 feet while flying in what feels like a four-seat sardine can, is an amazing experience.
I was a little scared—not enough that it would stop me from flying but enough that I was relieved when we safely touched down in Sandyville. Something about the copter’s wall-to-wall windows made me nervous. However, my worries didn’t suddenly disappear upon arrival, because it had been three months since I’d seen my car, so I didn’t know if automobile problems awaited me. But my sweet little Suzuki responded perfectly.
After sharing a few words with the family that permits me to park on their property, I hit the road. Not the best of roads, mind you (not as nice as Judy Foote’s road I noted the next day), but the only road we have. I drove further north than normal, to Lumsden, to explore a beautiful sandy beach—a rarity in Newfoundland. But that experience wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped for—there were too many dirt bikes, ATVs, and 4x4s in Lumsden. Not that I don’t enjoy such vehicles (I’ve owned my share), but Lumsden’s beach was littered with so many of these noisy toys it made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Plus, seeing all those motorized vehicles and the young children who so recklessly ride them, in control of Lumsden’s beautiful beach, reminded me of how some parents believe it okay to simply throw your kids the keys, kick them out the door, and tell them to have a good summer.
So, disappointed with Lumsden, I took off for Petit Forte on the Burin Peninsula, to hitch a boat ride to another isolated outport—South East Bight—where I discovered almost thirty ‘Wards’ live. It was fun to imagine all our relatives possibly coming from the same location in England, the only difference being that my ancestors might have travelled a little further inland along the St. Lawrence River, while this hardy South East Bight bunch settled in Placentia Bay. It helped me to understand that maybe Newfoundlanders and I aren’t so different after all. It was also great to take such a trip aboard the Terra Nova, and to visit with the boys who work on her (She’s in South East Bight on emergency loan).
Tomorrow I plan to visit Cape St. Mary’s Bird Sanctuary, before moving on to St. John’s for a walk among all those jelly bean coloured row houses, and then I’m heading home to McCallum having enjoyed another nice Newfoundland holiday. But when I will actually arrive back in McCallum I do not know for sure, because getting back into an isolated outport after a vacation, comes with an extra layer of consideration.