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Late last summer, just two short weeks after our stint on Beausoleil Island, Darren and I took a last minute trip to Bell Island, Newfoundland to visit my family and walk the land that my Dad grew up on. I hadn’t been there since 2004, the year before he passed away, and I knew it was going to be hard but worth it tenfold. A few of my aunts were going so we tagged along, it was such an amazing way to get to know them better.
Evenings on Bell Island are beautiful! Big family dinner with my aunts and cousins then winding down with Darren on the cliff’s edge for sunset. I remember visiting this spot with my Dad the last time we were there, not the most glamorous walk to get here but the view makes you forget about it completely. Take a deep breath, inhale the fresh air off the sea, and relax, because you’re home.
I come here almost every time I’m in Newfoundland. See that tiny white building on the horizon? It’s Bell Island’s lighthouse. I remember going there with my Dad and hearing about how this is the new lighthouse. The old one was more traditional but it was too close to the cliff’s edge and tests showed the ground there was slowly becoming unstable.
My Dad loved looking out over the cliff’s edge, I mean, how could you not. Check out those stripes in the rock, there’s so much to look at, so much natural history. And the colour that evening was amazing. Photographing the lighthouse was high on my list of image priorities, but it was more of a souvenir for myself and the details weren’t important, so I chose to step way back and get it all – the vastness of the landscape, the strange rocky pillars that surround the island, the cliffs, the layers of earth, the sea, and a nod to my Dad and his stories of the lighthouse.
Darren and I always make a point of spending some time on the beach, skipping stones, daring each other into the ice cold water, and watching the ferries go back and forth. Aren’t you just dying to know what’s in that opening in the rock? Me too.
On this trip we ventured off Bell Island a few times, something we never did when we went with my Dad. He just wanted to spend time at the house he grew up in. My cousin drove us out to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, where we got to check out the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador, built way back in 1839. It’s no longer in operation and just sits on the cliff’s edge for us to bask in it’s charm.
The old lighthouse was taken out of service in 1955 when a new concrete one was built in a more modern iconic lighthouse style. As soon as we arrived the fog rolled in like a house on fire, blanketing the cliff like a cloud on a mountain top. So we didn’t get to revel in the view from up there but it definitely gave me a chance to play with my camera in the fog Newfoundland is known for.
What comes to your mind when you think of Newfoundland? The cliffs, the sea, the rock? Or jellybean row and lighthouses?