The Rough Draft

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

Just round this outcropping lies Trap Cove.  It’s been a long time leading up to this moment and some of the hardest riding of my life.  I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to find there.

The walk up from the landing point was steep.  You can click the panorama for the full sized image.  Because everything is built on what are essentially stilts, when the foundation goes, the houses drop down at all sorts of crazy angles.

The cove offers a good sheltered Harbour.  I’m sure there would have been a couple of jetty here or even fishing stages to moor boats to but there’s no evidence of them or any sort of walkway now but these rocks would be treacherous when wet.  The water looks inviting but it’s hovering around the freezing mark.  You fall in here and you’ve got a couple of minutes at best before hypothermia sets in.

This is the first house I make it up to.  It’s not one that was owned by any of my family.  As you can see, none of these places were insulated.

It’s nearest neighbor isn’t fairing much better.

This one’s doing a bit better.

The lee side of the house.

I guess the washing machine wouldn’t fit on the boat.

The first of the Seward houses.  Not much left other than a lot of old bottles among the wreckage.  When the tide turned in the fishery, I get the feeling they were some of the first to go.  Captain Jim told me they were year round dwellers, toughing out the winter year after year.

It’s got a pretty good view though.  The other two piles of wreckage are the other two Seward homes or at least what’s left of them.

The view out to sea.

Like I said, not much left.  As you can see, mother nature reduces these dwellings to splinters in no short order.

What’s interesting is the next cove over Matthew’s Cove is still inhabited.  I found it interesting that each place, Battle Harbour, Trap Cove and Matthew’s Cove had their own Cemeteries.  The place was well populated (at least in the Summer months) with most of the Summer crowd living on the hill across the Ticle from Battle Harbour proper.  It would have been quite the mix too and yet each location kept its dead separate.  My Mum thought her Dad was Catholic and there is a separate Catholic cemetery by Matthew’s cove (though I could only find the two on Battle Harbour) but Captain Jim tells me that the family was Anglican.  I’m not sure if my Grandmother (who was a practicing Catholic at the time) and Grandfather had a civil or a church wedding.  I’m thinking because of the war it was most likely civil.  Or maybe it was all out in the open and they went ahead anyway.  Perhaps those circumstances later led to my Grandmother’s leaving the Church.  Things I’ll never know because my Grandmother was tight lipped about that part of her life.  I don’t even know if she ever talked about Solomon to my Mum.

This is the last Seward house and I believe it belonged to William Seward.  He was the last to leave and by leave I mean, he passed away.  Apparently there is a headstone for him in this building which was purchased but never placed.  I wasn’t able to find the cemetery and even the locals were a little hazy on its location.  I tried spotting it from a higher elevation but there’s so much quartz in the rock around here that any flash of white is more than likely an outcropping and not a headstone.

This shot gives you a better idea of the sate of the collapse.   As I was at the end of the houses, I decided to hike up the hill behind the settlement to try and spot the cemetery.

It’s a fair hike to the top.

On the way up I discovered how the local Pine has adapted to the terrain.  Low and spread out seems to be the only way to keep yourself anchored here.

Still a ways to get to the top though.

From the top looking back to Trap Cove and Matthew’s Cove.

Trying to spot the cemetery but no luck.

These brackish pools are everywhere.  The larger pond to my left is the source of Battle Harbour’s working water.  It’s feeds a gravity line that drop down under and across The Tickle and it’s probably the source of the Leech in my toilet bowl.  Leeches in a body of water tend to keep me on the shore.  Still it all looks very peaty, it really does feel like Scotland.

Looking across at the Marconi mast and of course, more icebergs.

Not every question was answered and even a few new ones were generated but I’d finally completed one of the main steps in this very long trip to discover something about a side of the family that I’d only ever had vague notions of.  I also got to discover another part of Canada (Just the Yukon and Nunavut left).  It’s sad that there are none of the Sewards left here but at the same time I can’t blame them for leaving.  Life could be lived a lot easier elsewhere and your pay would go further.  Everything here needs to be brought in by ship.  A situation that still exists for many communities down the Labrador and Quebec coast.  This makes even the most basic of commodities very expensive.

I made my way down the steep path to the edge of The Tickle and radioed for a pick up.  Will I ever be back here?  Who knows?  It was a struggle to get here, though at the rate they’re paving the Translab (another reason I did it was to get it under my belt before it was all gone) it’ll all be tarmac in a few years.  Will that open these communities up?  It might but there’s still a lack of industry here and the fishing is sporadic as stocks dwindle.  It is a beautiful part of the country though, so maybe it’ll open up tourism.

No matter what the future brings though, I’m sure the people of Labrador will take it in stride.


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