The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

I’d ridden like a demon from Port Hope Simpson to Mary’s Harbour.  Other than a small section of soft and loose gravel on the hill coming down to the Mry’s Harbour / Red Bay turnoff, it was good material all the way.  I could get up on top of it and really go.  Third gear gave me plenty of range on the throttle and the bike just sang along.  Richard and I shook hands and parted ways at the junction.

The Ferry Office and the parking lot. The Strom is just up the hill at the right.

There’s only one way to get to Battle Harbour and that’s by Ferry.    The Ferry leaves once a day at 11:00am and does not return to the mainland until 9:00am the next morning.  There are a variety of options for accommodations on the Island and you can see them all the the main website here.  The wharf for the ferry is not exactly well marked.  If you end up at the fisheries dock, you’ve gone too far.  The parking for the ferry is right across the street from the Anglican Church.  You can leave your vehicle there overnight and if you’re on a motorcycle, they’ll let you store any loose and unlockable items in the booking building.  There is limited phone and telephone service on the island and no cell service at all.  Make sure you bring a book or magazine to read.

Who your people are is a very big deal in Labrador / Nfld., genealogy matters and oral and memory based local history is going to be key to any search for links to the past.  I got the feeling right away that my Grandfather  Solomon’s death left a deep family wound.  Very little seemed to be known about him.  But I’ll get to that in a bit.

The bay to the left of the ferry wharf.

A little bit after eleven in the morning we set out for the Battle Islands.  I spent a bit of time talking to Captain Jim who was also born and raised in Battle Harbour about my family and their links to trap cove.  I filled him in on the details of my Grandfather’s death and his remains interment in Bergen in the Netherlands.  It would seem that the Sewards were pretty much done with Trap Cove by the early to mid sixties, dispersing to Happy Valley / Goose Bay and to Port Aux Basques.  Before the exodus, they were a year round family.  Living in Trap cove through the harsh Winters.  The last ferry of the year would leave in November and not return until the following May.

We had a smooth sea on the way out and we all took time to get to know one and other.

The Fishery you end up at if you miss the ferry parking lot.

Leaving the Harbour.

Some of my fellow travelers catching some sun on the front deck.

Coming up on The Battle Islands.

My first Iceberg

My first view of Trap Cove.

A storage building across The Tickle from Battle Harbour. There used to be a thriving community on this side of the Harbour, made mostly of people there for the Summer to work. This building and some splintered wood on the hill are all that remain.

One of the landings they’re trying to repair.

This was the bunkhouse. It sleeps 12 and is $50 a night. I had the place to myself.

Well almost to myself.

The front living area. My bunk is by the window

From the other side of the room.

The kitchen and eating area

Power for the island is provided by these two generators that switch back and forth as service is required. There’s an 8000L Diesel tank just outside. I believe the blue thing is a water filtration unit.

This is the Fish Flake reconstructed on part of the site of the original. In it’s prime, it was three times the size. The fish are salted and dried in the sun on the Flake’s surface.

A wrecked boat on the South side of the Harbour.

After lunch there was going to be a guided tour of the buildings with Captain Jim leading it.  I was a little late to the party so I’m going to cover it in the next post.


3 thoughts on “Translab Diary – Battle Harbour Part One

  1. Vlad says:

    Awesome writeup Steve, thank you for sharing. My tour was more endurance than sightseeing, but I’ll make sure I take more time to smell the roses next time (and there will be a next time). You should do a ride report on – I’m sure it will reach an even wider audience there.

    I’m back home and preparing my report. 5,000Km in 7.5 days. The most intense riding of my life.

    BTW, my impressions of the stretch between Goose Bay and Red Bay match yours very closely. None of the horror other people have experienced.


  2. sabot03196 says:

    I remember reading your report and thinking, “Shit, he’s doing long days.” I just turned 49 on this trip and I think my really long days in the saddle are falling behind me. I’m paying now for a lot of my youthful mistakes made at my body’s expense. I’ve thought about doing the post up on ADV but I sort of slag off one of the members I met on route and while I don’t name names, I wasn’t very flattering to his personality or attitude. Funny enough, he was one of the first people I’ve met off of ADV who was a dick. All my other encounters have been positive ones. Basically, don’t discount my achievement and then ride like a moron in front of me.

    Glad you made it home and was sorry to hear about Majesty. Major mechanical malfunction was a big concern on this ride. My bike’s getting on in years and distance (just rolled over 99000 Km on the return leg) and she’s starting to show it in little ways but other than losing the bar end weight off of my throttle side, things went pretty smooth. Though the amount of stuff whacking into my skid pan on the Mary’s Harbour to Red Bay leg was alarming. Probably going to be investing in a rad guard soon.

    Drop me your email as I’d like to keep in touch. You can reach me at


    1. Vlad says:

      I guess I didn’t waste my body enough in my youth, so I’m making up for it now, at 51 :). I admit this schedule was too aggressive, even for me, although I made it all the way.

      Forget the jerks, they are not worth it. Plenty of nice people out there to share our passion with.

      V-Strom is an awesome tourer and it’s not uncommon for them to go over 200,000Km. Just keep riding it like you stole it and maintain it like you are going to leave it to your grand kids :). My Bandit has 173,000Km and it’s engine hasn’t been opened yet. I think I killed the Majesty because I didn’t clean the air filters on time (they are the weak point on that bike). Otherwise I’m sure it would last much more than 41,000Km.

      Private message is on it’s way 🙂


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