June 21, 2007:
The day dawned a tad on the grey side but we were excited about our trip today. We were heading to Battle Harbour, a historic fishing settlement situated on Battle Island at the entrance to the St Lewis Inlet, where the only access is by boat.
We drove into Mary's Harbour and followed the signs to the Battle Harbour ferry wharf which has a large parking area for visitors - either for day parking or overnight parking. We parked and began gathering up our personal belongings such as clothing, toilet bags, and cameras then made our way down to the ferry which is aptly named "Iceberg Hunter".
The journey to Battle Harbour aboard the M/V Iceberg Hunter takes approximately 1 hour from Mary's Harbour, and has a passenger cabin with seating and an outside deck area at the rear of the vessel. Depending on the month you travel, there is a chance to see icebergs, whales, dolphins, seals and a number of sea bird species en-route. Although our journey was shrouded in fog - we could still make out a number of large icebergs floating in the middle of the inlet.
We had chosen to take the 11:00am departure from Mary's Harbour which had us arriving in Battle Harbour around 12:00 noon - just in time for a deliciously prepared lunch and great conversation with other guests and hosts.
After lunch we took a guided walking tour of the historic buildings, interpretative centre, and artifacts with a local staff member. Cyril our guide explained the colourful history of Battle Harbour which was an important port for the cod and seal fisheries and commercial trade from the 1770's until the start of the 1990's. The tour was approximately one hour in length and gave visitors an incredible insight into the lives of the families and individuals who called Battle Harbour home.
There are two options when visiting Battle Harbour, either you can visit on a day trip, or alternatively a very popular option is to stay overnight in one of the cottages or at the inn. We stayed a night at the Battle Harbour Inn which was once the premises of the resident Merchant and agents and it affords a great view of the premises and Great Caribou Island - just across the channel.
That night, we took a walk down to the rocky shores of the island and around the old buildings - most of which have been restored by the Battle Harbour Heritage Trust, it was a cool, foggy night but it really just added to the mystique. As we walked and photographed, we could imagine and almost feel what it was like in it's heyday with the buildings dimly lit by oil lamps, and heated by coal or wood burning stoves.
That night we slept well in the cozy and heated Battle Harbour Inn.
Be sure to take a trip Battle Harbour during your visit to Newfoundland and Labrador - it's not be missed!! Check out the information on the Battle Harbour website. Battle Harbour operates from June 15 to around Sept 15 each year.
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