Travel: An Adventure, Unscripted.

Everyone has one. An epic stranded traveller story. Most of the time, it’s a tale full of frustration, stress, and pure mental exhaustion. I’ve certainly had my share of travel challenges and setbacks. However, there are always a few that turn out for the best. Like this summer, when a day of fishing in Newfoundland’s Bay of Islands turned into an adventure I never could have imagined….

Courtesy of Energy, Mines and Resources Department of Canada

I had spent a week in McIvers at an artist residency working on a film about an organic farm and I was down to my last day. Filming was done and I really wanted to get out on the water. Luckily, I met a nice young fisherman, Ed, who offered to show me around while he and his buddy, Brent, went “cod jigging” (Newfoundlander for fishing cod). Why not? I figured I’d get a more authentic experience from a local than I’d get from a tour, and so the adventure began.

The dory (Newfoundlander for boat) looked sturdy, enough. There were lifejackets, snacks and plenty of energy drinks. The sun hadn’t come up yet and the weather was not perfect – it was chilly and misting heavily. As we rode out into the Bay the dory pounded on the waves and began to “sweat” (Newfoundlander for leak), but only a little. We found the first fishing hole and the boys started jigging, which from what I could tell, was tugging on a fishing line + lure until it catches a fish. Pretty simple and to my surprise, it worked. We had our first fish in less than 5 minutes.

We traveled out past Eagle Island further into the Bay to find the next fishing hole. Then, as the boat slowed down and was put into reverse, I hear “Uh-Oh” from behind me. Not good. After a little investigating it was determined that the prop to the motor was gone.

Yep, that’s right. Spun right off. Into the deep blue abyss.

Maybe I should have gone with the tour guide after all…

I couldn’t tell you how far we were from the harbor, because I couldn’t actually see it. I’m also not sure where all the other little dorys we had seen earlier that morning had disappeared to. Someone with less experience at being stranded may have panicked at this point. We all took deep breaths and simply started rowing. No big deal. We didn’t have any other options. We pretended we were just rowing to go green or train for the olympics. Everything was going to be just fine, surely another dory would come by…

After a two hour row-a-thon and once we were within view of the harbor, we were finally picked up. They towed us the last 100 yards. Seriously – we were almost there… It didn’t really matter that Cox Cove was not where we began our journey. We were finally back on land. Things were looking up.

Back in McIvers and after they made me “kiss the cod,” (sorry, no public photos of that ridiculousness) I was invited to have lunch with the crew.  George, Ed’s father, prepared the codfish we caught that morning and also whipped up a batch of blueberry muffins for us. It was yet another example of the incredible hospitality you experience from the Newfoundland people. Their home is your home and you better eat ’til you’re stuffed, then take some muffins to go.

Probably not an experience I would have had on an organized tour…

In the meantime, the boys made plans to fix the motor so we could go back out that afternoon. It was turning into a beautiful day, so why not?

With a new prop on the motor, we rode out of Cox Cove, past Eagle Island (again) and into North Arm. We checked out a little fishing camp there, saw some eagles, went for a short hike, and ate wild raspberries. Life was pretty good.

All was going well until Ed decided to take another look at the motor to make sure everything was “ok” before heading back home. I can’t tell you what was wrong this time but all I know was he turned into MacGyver and began fixing it with the top of a few soda bottles and a washer. Great.

As I picked out my bunk in the cabin figuring we were going to be stranded for the night, Ed managed to get the motor running.  Phew.

This time when Eagle Island came into view we decided to stop. We had already seen it from every other angle so why not go ashore? The views were incredible, especially at sunset. It was the perfect way to end our interesting and odd, but delightfully fun adventure in the Bay of Islands.

While the day was full of broken motors, rain, and rowing, it was probably to most fun I had on my trip. Why? Because it was an adventure, unscripted. In the end, the ridiculousness that occurred out on the Bay of Islands will only be fully understood by the three of us that experienced it but that’s ok. You understand. You’ve been there.

I got to I meet some really interesting people, see a beautiful part of the world and was reminded yet again to live in the moment. That is the reason I travel and why love my job as a photographer.

I’d like to send out a huge thank you to Ed, Brent and George for the constant entertainment and hospitality that led to a very memorable day in McIvers.



show hide 2 comments

George J House very interesting,glad you enjoyed Newfoundland

Sue Glad to hear the “rest of the story”! The photos are beautiful and the friendships you’ve made are too!

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