On Fogo Island, the Town of Fogo Island is comprised of several small villages which used to be separate and unique defined largely by either their religion or ethnicity. The villages: Fogo, Joe Batt’s Arm, Barr’d Island, Shoal Bay, Tilting, Seldom and Little Seldom were all amalgamated in 2011 forming one community in order to more efficiently provide services and a stronger regional voice politically.
The ferry to Fogo Island (round trip $22.25 Canadian!) operates on a first come, first served basis. We headed out really early from Twillingate and the hour long drive to the village of Farewell to hopefully be in line for the 9AM ferry. It turns out I failed remedial reading and departure was set at 8:30AM. However, we did get there with lots of time to spare and easily made it on board.
On the Fogo Island side, the ferry docks just outside the village of Stag Harbour where we off-loaded and headed for the only RV campground on the island. Within 10 minutes we were both grinning ear to ear already in love with this rocky place! Getting to the campground we found a lovely spot on a rise overlooking Banks Cove in a mostly empty park. Bordered on one side by Brimstone Head and a much smaller rocky hill on the other this place is only lacking WIFI, although it can be had up by the Lions Club rec-hall at the top of the park.
First thing we did after hooking up was to hike the very steep, but largely staired, 338 ft climb up to the platform perched at the top of Brimstone Head.
On the way up we stopped and had a long chat with Lorne Simms who pointed out her home near the trail just over on the other side from Banks Cove. As we have already experienced, folks from Newfoundland are beyond friendly. She told us to stop in for tea if we came by on a hike and offered her canoe if we wanted to paddle around the cove! In chatting with Newfoundlanders, Ed likes to say that in two minutes you are friends and in ten, family.
It was a very warm day, near 80*, hot by Newfie standards, and Ed decided he’d go for a swim just to prove he could. After warming up he broke a chunk off the bit of iceberg just on the edge of the water and we had 15,000 year old ice for our cocktails 🙂
When we woke the next morning we could see a big iceberg just off the point of the next cove so we hiked out to take a closer look. We sat for a long while just watching the icebergs. Giving different ones names so we would know which one was which, we talked about them as if they were dear friends.
After about an hour we walked on around the point looking for the continuation of the trail we’d been told was there. Not finding any kind of path Ed surprised the heck out of me and said let’s just go up and over!
When we first got to the campground I had a nice chat with the gentleman registering us. He informed me that there was a kitchen party here at the Lions Club Wednesday night and we should be sure to come as it was lots of fun with Newfie music, Newfie food (JamJams) and a 50/50. Oh, and of course we could also then be Screeched-In. Ed in particular is always ready for a good time and so of course we headed up when the doors opened about 8:30.
Fogo Island is the largest of the Newfoundland Labrador offshore islands. Originally a part of the French Coast, by the mid 1700’s the English and Irish were settling here and indeed the small town of Tilting on the northeast corner is to this day uniquely Irish and Roman Catholic. In Tilting we visited the Dwyer Premises which offers a close look at the salt cod fishery process of old (for individual consumption the basics of the process has not changed).
Because there was an unnamed walking trail sign by a short dirt road we drove out to the little pullout next to a narrow path along Oliver’s Cove that was to be one of our prettiest hikes on the island.
Our favorite village was Joe Batt’s Arm, and in all honesty it wins over Tilting because of Nicole’s Café! As you dear readers have probably noted, we travel by our stomachs 🙂 If you’re on Fogo, DO NOT miss Nicole’s! Everything is wonderful but the mussels are… WOW!
Just before heading to Fogo I had done a little Googling which is when I discovered that one of those really wonderful, off the beaten path, expensive inns I had seen one day while day-dreaming around the internet was actually here… on Fogo and in Joe Batt’s Arm! Ed would not indulge me 😦
We did the hike out to the Giant Auk sculpture and sat for a long time just watching the ice, waves and birds.
Back in Fogo the village, we did the hike at Lion’s Den and also the hike up to Fogo Head.
We watched icebergs for hours. We had long conversations with the nicest people with the most wonderful accents (not all of which we completely understood). We fell in love with an incredibly beautiful, quiet, rugged and magical spot populated with kind, caring, hard working honest folks. We stayed 8 days…..a record for us. This is a MVL (Must Visit List) place if ever there was one….but you must slow down and be content to just sit quietly for a long time to watch, see, absorb…..and to be rejuvenated.