Fortune Bay, South Coast

Day 2


As I set up the tent, I was quickly and definitively reminded that Newfoundland is home to the black fly in great numbers. True, it was September, but they were definitely not all gone. I donned my head net and gave a few sprays of DEET, leaving a polka-dot covering of stuck bugs on my hat. My neck was bleeding. Welcome to Fortune Bay!  Interestingly, this was the only site where black flies were a problem. I don't know why, but I'm glad it was so.

This is Yankee Cove. Just across the way, there are old foundations from buildings, perhaps fishing cabins or even homes. There are also 3 streams tumbling down nearby, making a lovely music.

That night I slept with the bear spray canister close by. Can't say how many times I awoke to sounds that must certainly be bears. Poking my head out, there was the great full moon to greet me. Full moon!  How lucky could I be? It was so serene and quiet that my fears were calmed and I went back to sleep.

YC headwall

Here is the headwall that guarded my tent all night, behind the scene above in the first photo. There are probably bear caves all through it. Seriously, though, the Bay du Nord river flows into Fortune Bay right here, coming out of the largest pristine wilderness area in the province, Bay du Nord Wilderness Preserve. This Preserve is home to 15,000 caribou, and world-renowned for black bear hunting. Newfoundland's black bears are a different species than our smaller bears in the East. They are larger, 200 to 600 lbs. I thought about this often, clutching my bear spray canister.

YC river

Here is the space up above the campsite that I used as my kitchen. That is the Bay du Nord River down below. This place is breath-takingly beautiful. As I ate breakfast (I gotta say, Trader Joe's freeze-dried raspberries are fantastic with oatmeal, and a handful of wild blueberries puts it over the top), 5 otters came by, catching fish and cavorting and making little squeaks. It was a pretty fine good-morning.  During breakfast cleanup, a small runabout came motoring toward the river mouth. The man slowed down and pulled over to check on me. "Are you stranded?" he called. My boat and tent were invisible on the other side of the rise. I thanked him and said I had a boat, and he motored on.

After breakfast I packed up and set off to see what I could see, heading out to the mouth of North Bay and around the corner to East Bay.  There was aquaculture going on here (as there was throughout the area in the quieter waters). Wind was picking up and I cruised past, blown deeper in to this bay until I reached a river at the back. Following the bay shoreline, I moved along the back of the bay to Parson's Cove, one of the locations Tony had used for camping, with the warning that at low tide there is a large sandbar. Wind was quite strong now (I hadn't been able to pick up a marine report, but turns out it was forecast to gust to 50 knots - but back here I'd say it was more like 30). I wanted to continue around and onward, but the wind was so strong that I could make no further headway. I dropped back to Parson's Cove. After all, a comfy chair was beckoning...


Turned out one leg was broken - a grievous disappointment to me. But I figured I might not be able to go farther today, so I pulled up the boat, knowing the tide would leave it stranded for now.


There was a lovely stream flowing behind the storm beach camping area.

. stream

Just about then, with the tide almost fully out, the wind seemed to be dropping. Drat. My boat was like 50 yards from the water. I set up rollers and hauled the fully loaded boat to the edge. It took forever. So heavy in the wet sand. I was sweating and gasping with the effort. Anyway, I was off and paddling again.

Driving into the wind, I aimed for the next cove, called Southwest Bight. It would put me that much closer to the mouth of this bay. And what luck, when I got there, indeed there was a tight but usable space on a barrier beach, with a pond behind it. But... as I walked along looking for the best site, I found droppings. Bear scat. And then I noticed that there was more over this way, and here was some right where I'd wanted to put the tent. Tired as I was, I knew I would never sleep a wink here, and I'd better keep moving and look for something else.

There was one more tiny cove just before the mouth of the bay. I found this site at the back of it, just enough space for the tent, out of the wind behind that big rock outcrop. Question: was it going to be above the high tide line?  It was a full moon - that means high high tide. What do you think? I stayed up until 9:30 when the tide was at flood. Made it with room to spare.


There was a cool waterfall just around the corner.


Here was my view across to the mouth of the bay. So many mountains, and that dark line of gusty water.


This area somehow didn't feel as much like bear habitat and I slept better. I'd decided on a dawn arising, breakfasting and taking off as early as possible to beat any wind that would arise.  The day's track, 11.8 miles:


Day 3