Posted by: yachtanomaly | September 10, 2010

>8/31- If There’s a Grand Bruit in Newfoundland, Does Anybody Hear?


Tuesday- Grey skies, calm winds and rain this morning.

Ann writes:

Jon went to buy some milk and said he had some work to do, but before I knew it, he started the engine and was pulling out of the harbor in the pouring rain. By the time I got all my gear on it had pretty much stopped. We were out of Rose Blanche by 11:45.

A whale surfaced by the boat a couple times before it fell back as we motored on. We had lunch underway and reached our waypoint around 2:30. Then Jon turned us in to what looked like a potentially rocky approach.

We encountered an enchanting scene. A wide waterfall cascades into the center of the harbor which is surrounded by colorful cottages on rocky ledges. A church perches on the highest point above the town. A cemetery of mostly white marble faced the sea. But there was nothing stirring, save a little otter on the rocks.

The source of the Grand Bruit (Great Noise)

We tied up at the floating dock and looked for signs of life. I saw some gloves drying on a line, but there were no boats. Closer inspection showed that many homes are padlocked and boarded up; most had their electrical service disconnected even tho’ they looked fully furnished and had satellite dishes still attached. Lace curtains hang in the windows; the church tree has christmas lights on it.

But the church registry told the story. The town, mostly descendants of the Billards, last signed the book for the last service on June 11, 2010. The last ferry left shortly thereafter, and everyone said a sad goodbye. It made me sad to the point of tears. And angry. We’d heard about the government moving outport residents to more central locations, but the cruising guide reported this was a thriving little village just 7 years ago. They had electrical service, a store, a medical center, helicopter pad, even public internet. What had made them leave such an idyllic spot.

We walked all over town: signed the church guest book, walked in amongst the cottages, visited the cemetary with bright plastic flowers decorating many graves. We walked over lush, soft boggy ground to breathtaking views of the sea. We followed the trails to the serene and rugged pools above the waterfall. It looked like an ideal spot for camping, backpacking, or an artist’s commune, but there is NO ONE HERE.

Newfoundland tundra- soft and boggy

Later, the stars were bright with only the flashing buoy and ferry dock lights to interrupt the absolute darkness. I looked for a shooting star to breathe life into the town again, but there were none.

Jon writes:

Grand Bruit was described in the 2003 cruising guide we carried as another picturesque out port village like Rose Blanche, and we proceeded east to find it, motoring the 19 miles in light wind and entered the harbor.

But as Ann said, it is sadly deserted. 
‘Anomaly’ at Grand Bruit

In the morning we awoke to find three men on the wharf. They had come from La Poile, two power linesmen and a fisherman to transport them, to hook electric power back to the bait depot and fish unloading boom on the wharf. I talked for a while to the fisherman and he recalled the names of all of the men shown in some postcards left behind in one of the sheds. He lived in La Poile, another small out port 10 miles distant, and said he would never leave. Good for him. 
Grand Bruit harbor from the top of the falls (click to expand)
‘Anomaly’ is currently lying Ship Cove, Ramea, Newfoundland


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