Icebergs are very common in the Labrador Straits in the late spring and early summer.
They come from the high Arctic and Greenland they drift south on the cold Labrador Current to melt in the warmer waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
They can reach as high as 90 to 150 m above the surface of the sea. Yet about 90 percent of the mass of an iceberg is beneath the surface, which presents potential problems for navigators.
Here in this picture I got a photo of one just past the community of Capstan Island. These are always fun to see, keep your eye on the road but they are common right throughout the Labrador Straits.
The Point Amour Lighthouse is one of the better areas for spotting them. Probably why the lighthouse was put there?
L'anse Amour certainly offers a lot of value!! On your way to the Point Amour Lighthouse or the Lighthouse Cove Bed and Breakfast you will see this monument in this picture. It is actually very significant and worth stoping to read the interpretation. Here is more information about it.
About 7,500 years ago a Maritime Archaic adolescent died and was buried with reverence and ceremony near the present-day community of L'Anse Amour. The body was wrapped in a shroud of bark or hide and placed face down in the grave with the head to the west. The construction of a large mound of rocks over the grave completed the burial. Was this a special individual, or did the elaborate burial hold some other significance? Some archaeologists believe that this ceremony was performed when unusual environment conditions threatened the survival of the Maritime Archaic people. Adverse sea-ice conditions, for example, may have meant that crucial harp seal herds were inaccessible. Perhaps this ancient ceremony was a plea for assistance to the spirits that controlled this vital aspect of life.
The burial at L'Anse Amour has now been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. You can learn more about the Maritime Archaic Burial Mound from the interpretation panels and the commemorative plate at the site. There is also an exhibit of reproduction artifacts from the site at the Labrador Straits Museum.
Red Bay is a Canadian National Historic Site.
Right and bowhead whales, once plentiful in the waters of coastal Labrador, attracted whalers from the Basque country (northern Spain and southern France) during the 16th century. A thriving industry based on the production of whale oil for export to Europe developed along the Labrador coast during the mid to late 1500s. The busiest port for this historic enterprise was the sheltered harbour of Red Bay.
The site in Red Bay is very extensive with detail history and a reconstructed Chalupa being one of the main exhibits. You can also take a very short boat run over to an island and view more artifacts and explore the island. Over there there is archaeology on the land has revealed the shore stations where whales were brought for processing and where their blubber was rendered into marketable oil. More than 20 "tryworks" the oil refineries of the 16th century, have been located. Cooperages, where barrel-makers worked and lived, contained the tools of the coopers as well as ceramics, glassware and a variety of other personal possessions which made life in 16th century Labrador somewhat less harsh.
This is a must see and definitely one of the areas most visited attractions!
Each year in August they have a local festival in celebration of the Bakeapple. There is local culture and talent, nightly entertainment, crafts, displays, local foods, family entertainment and folk festival.
The bakeapple is a very popular berry in this area and any food that you see that contains the bakeapple try it!
The Bakeapple is known and appreciated by many northern cultures. The berry is also known as: Cloudberry (UK), molte (Norwegian), hjortron (Sweden), lakka (Finland),chicoutai (Innu, Montagnais) chicouté (Quebec). The Bakeapple (Rubus Chamaemorus, also known as Cloudberry) is a part of the rose family and closely related to blackberries and raspberries. Its fruit is generally larger than that of either related group. It is a cloudy golden to orange color when ripe, boasting a unique flavor.
In the Labrador Straits area, blooming occurs immediately after the peatland thaws and aerial shoots are sent up. These shoots rarely grow over three centimeters and bear five white pedals. The actual fruiting of the berry occurs in July and ripens during the Labrador summer days. Wild bakeapples are plentiful in Labrador, where they are harvested by local pickers in mid August and used for countless recipes and dessert toppings.
The cloudberry grows in damp peatland type areas which are characteristically acidic. Cloudberry has separately sexed plants, the male and female plants appear to prefer slightly different microclimates, concentrating in different portions of the same bog. Large patches found on many of the bogs in the area are often descendants or "rhyzome clones" of the original parent plant in the patch. This means, with the help of insects and wind the entire patch is pollinated from one set of parents.
There is one factory in Forteau at the Seaview restaurant where you can buy some of these products and they are online at www.preserves.nf.ca.
The Point Amour Lighthouse is one of the areas landmarks and the second tallest lighthouse in North America, the tallest in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is a definite must see when you are in this area.
The lighthouse makes for a nice hike in itself at 109 feet and 128 steps! It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding land and sea. While walking up the stairs you can take plenty of breaks if you want and read the interpretation on the way up.
Dating back to the 1850's, the Point Amour Light-station has figured prominently in the lives of the people of Southern Labrador for nearly one and a half centuries. Composed of several buildings, it has been partially restored to the period of its original configuration, and designated as a Provincial Historic Site. An extensive series of exhibits that portray the rich maritime history of the Labrador Straits are housed in this historical structure. There is also a gift store on sight.
The views from here on a nice day are among the best you are going to see anywhere, so I had to add a travelogue to that effect. Please follow my link below.
Here in this picture I got some nice pictures of the lighthouse from a friend's boat.
Between Forteau and L'anse au Loup just prior to the L'anse Amour junction you will find the Labrador Straits Museum.
This museum is run by the Women's Institute and they have done a very good job with the artifacts in this museum.
Besides all the history which you can learn more about on their web site address that I provided, you get some great views of the area from here. There are also some picnic tables next to the museum so depending on what you are doing this may be a good place to take a break.
They have a giftshop inside as well.
I don't beleive there are any marked trails behind the museum but I know you can be careful, take your time and hike your way down to the edge of some dramatic cliffs in this area and get an even better view of the community L'anse Amour and the shoreline.
It is beautiful up there and usually a bit of a breeze so you won't find as many black flies.