Facheux Bay is an ancient fiord that sits four kilometres west of McCallum, and stretches nine miles inland. The best way for me to describe Facheux Bay is to say that it is comparable to Gros Morne—Newfoundland’s ancient fiord that has, understandably, caught the world’s attention for all its natural beauty; Gros Morne is the landmark that The Province of Newfoundland via television, newspapers, magazines and the internet, constantly invites the world to visit.
Yet, there is a lot of natural and cultural history in the Coast of Bays region that is akin to Gros Morne. Whether we’re talking Goblin, the Devil’s Dancing Table, or much, much more.
The Bay d’Espoir too is mind-bogglingly beautiful, and I hear amazing things about the brilliance of Fortune Bay. But I think it is possible that Facheux is the most dramatic example of what the Southwest Coast has to offer when it comes to natural beauty.
Facheux has a fascinating human history as well. Not only did Captain Cook tie up in Facheux Bay, but many Newfoundlanders and native cultures used it for winter sustenance. One remarkable story often repeated, one hundred years later, is about the trapper Henry Buffet who died in the night while sleeping on Facheux’s historic hills. When Henry didn’t awake, his dog, perhaps in an effort to stir his master—lick, lick, nudge, nudge, and eventually a playful bite or two—damaged Henry’s no longer useful head. Or maybe the dog, after a lengthy period of time of loyally laying alongside its dead owner, was succumbing to starvation and had to act on its natural instincts.
Whatever the case, a group of men later found Henry’s faithful four-legged friend and followed it back to Buffet’s body. Assuming the dog, if not responsible for Henry’s death, could not be trusted since acquiring the taste of human flesh, the men shot it before giving Buffet a proper burial. Today, many believe it was unnecessary to dispose of the dog, but one hundred years ago we didn’t see such situations the same way we do now.
Another story that represents how dreadfully different we looked at the world in that era, tells about how a family sailed up Facheux in the family dory, stumbled across an Indian woman alone at the Tickle, and promptly drowned her in the salt water pond that occurs at high tide, before barely outrunning her grieving tribe that returned a short time later to find their loved one floating face down. Not all the detail regarding this tragic story is clear, but no one denies that native life was once senselessly and stupidly seen as cheap.
So Facheux Bay is full of not only incredible natural beauty, but a wealth of historical and cultural folklore as well. Yet the Province of Newfoundland insists on keeping this region a secret. I think because if tourists came down that hideous road, The Province and their big business buddies would no longer be free to use the Coast of Bays as a place to put unsightly and environmentally unsound things like salmon cages and their associated garbage. I think that is why the Province refuses to repair that road—they don’t want tourists coming to visit, for fear it would interfere with their politicians’ plans for the area; plans that surely one day include ugly salmon cages up Facheux Bay and every other beautiful place like it in the Coast of Bays.