Roth & Ramberg Meet the Torngats

Day 11-14: Torngat Mountains National Park

Posted by Terri

(Day 11)


We woke up with the moon perched over Forteau at 5 o’clock in the morning. After ten days, 20-odd communities spread across three time zones, hundreds of photos, today we were heading to the Torngats.


We caught a flight from Blanc-Sablon to Goose Bay to meet up with our charter. When we arrived, the Air Labrador lounge was already buzzing with people, luggage carts, and general excitement. Waiting passengers, mostly seasoned travel media, were decked out in zip-off pants, puffy coats, and hiking boots. They shook hands over coffee, muffins, and an abundance of camera gear.


The newly minted Torngat Mountains National Park is a rare, remote part of the world. Located on traditional Inuit hunting grounds, it’s as rich in Inuit culture and history as it is natural beauty. It was everything we could hope for, and nothing we expected.


Arriving at the airstrip in Saglek was like landing on Mars, or so I imagined. As we deplaned, everyone was quiet, and our heads twisted and turned like bobbles, absorbing the strange, new landscape.


We passed a group of people waiting to board our plane and head back home. It was easy to tell they’d been in the wilderness for a while. By comparison, we looked and felt like fresh meat.


Walking down the rocky slope towards the zodiac waiting below felt a bit like walking the plank, all of us about to jump into the unknown together. At least we were wearing PDFs and an abundance of bug repellent.


After a short ride to the boat, our eclectic group of travellers settled in for a one-hour steam to Basecamp. Along the way, we passed the kind of iceberg that every other iceberg aspires to be. Highlighted by cool greens and bright blues, it was sculpted into nature’s finest example of Northern architecture.


When we rounded the bay, we could see Basecamp in the distance, a blend of safari-like white tents and Arctic green domes that would be our home for the next four days.


On the wharf, we stepped onto a little wooden step painted with the word Welcome. And it was exactly how we felt in this strange, new world.


The first day anywhere new is always a little awkward – where’s the bathroom, what time is dinner, does this bug net highlight my eyes? But we soon found our way around and happily settled into our new life in a deluxe tent, outfitted in Ikea furnishings, fixtures, and linens, surrounded by mountains, the sea, and an electric polar bear fence.


By the end of the day, it already felt like a tightknit community, where everyone waves and says hello, good night, and sleep well. On account of not having any Internet or cell service (bonus feature), we found the time to practice the ancient art of conversation over dinner, around the fire, or hiking up the side of a mountain.



(Days 12 – 13)


In the days that followed, we found there was never a dull moment, unless you wanted one. Guests could choose their own adventure, as long as the weather cooperated and you were accompanied by a bear guide for any offsite excursions.


When the sun came out, we took full advantage of spontaneous hikes above Basecamp, or boat trips through deep waters, surrounded by mountains on either side. Some sharp, some soft and round. All ancient.


When the fog camouflaged the surrounding mountains and any safe passage out of the bay, plans quickly changed. Everyone just rolled with it, the staff expertly so. And every day was delightfully different from the next.

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We were fortunate to be at Basecamp at the same time as three amazing musicians: Joe Grass, Mike Stevens, and Elisapie. I couldn’t think of a better soundtrack to help us absorb the surroundings. Or a cooler jam than Willie Thrasher’s Wolves don’t live by the rules.


Though the epic Torngat Mountains themselves didn’t disappoint, from the geology to the incredible history, our stay was about much more than grabbing a screensaver panoramic. It’s an incredibly special place where you don’t just hear about Inuit culture, you experience it firsthand.

On a day trip to North Arm, three hours by boat from Basecamp, we fished for char in the middle of a stunning fjord. Then they were cleaned on the beach and prepped for lunch. We watched as Sophie, a beloved Inuit elder born on nearby Rose Island, made Bannock (traditional Inuit bread) and served it with the freshly caught ‘fjord to fire’ char.




Surrounded by a fortress of ancient mountains on all sides, we felt quite literally in the heart of the Torngats. And each and every one of us knew what an honour that was. As we left, the sun warmed the steep slopes of brown earth, and us along with it.


 Another day, we learned about the forced resettlement of Hebron, a nearby community, that had a devastating and lasting impact on its people. A former resident of the community, John, told his story and answered our questions. His perseverance was astounding. His willingness to share even more so.


At lunch or around the fire, we chatted with Inuit youth, elders or one of the Inuit Basecamp staff. We tried (with varying degrees of success) to pronounce Inuit words. We heard stories of fishing and hunting and living off the land. We listened to incredible songs written in Inuktitut. We ate seal. (OK, Michele ate seal.)


And it was even more amazing than the Torngats themselves. If there’s one thing they don’t tell you on the brochure, it’s the tangible sense of community among staff, students, and guests, rooted in Inuit culture. It may not be as grand as the fjords but it’s equally important and leaves a lasting impression.



(Day 14)


Though every day was incredible, our last night was particularly memorable.


After a full day of relentless rain and heavy fog, we spent the evening gathered in a large tent watching, learning, and attempting Inuit games such as the Monkey Dance, Owl Hop, Airplane, Musk Ox, and Seal Kick. There was so much talent in one room, and so much joy.




At the end of the evening, the doors of the hot tent flung open into night. The rain had finally stopped, and the sky cleared. As if on cue, the Northern Lights finally made an appearance. We stayed up until 2am in the crisp air, and nobody seemed to mind the cold hands, faces, and toes. The sky was dancing and so were we (on the inside at least).


Perhaps it was the rawness of the landscape, or the fact that we had no buzzing phones to hide behind, but there’s something pretty magical about a place that makes you smile wider and feel more deeply.


(Day 15)


On our very last morning, the sun was warm and strong as we toured the mountains by helicopter. As stunning as they are from the ground, they are truly incredible from the sky.




After our epic tour, we knew we had to jump in the ocean at least once (and for a very short amount of time on account of hypothermia). So off we went, bikini clad in the Torngats, with our friend Janice as our fearless guide. We then spent a few quiet hours taking photos, writing, and processing the experience, as much as we could.


Just before we were heading out, a new group of people arrived at Basecamp. It was almost startling to see their fresh faces. They looked just like us four days ago, and we were the disheveled group of people on the airstrip, shipping out as they shipped in.


We only wished we could could back and ship in once again.


Thanks to the entire Basecamp staff who made our trip so incredible, and in particular, Janice, Jean, Gary, Joe (Hi Joe!), Brian, Chesley, Matt the Medic / Sherpa, and the amazing kitchen staff for feeding us so well (maybe too well?).

Thanks to Peter, Rena, and Adam for letting us crash your ride, Marnie at Hotel North 2 for being a miracle worker when we needed it (and for putting my char in the freezer), our Universal Helicopters pilot Steve, and our Air Labrador pilots Bob and Dave for picking us and taking us home. Heartfelt thanks to everyone at Air Labrador, Nunatsiavut Group of Companies, and Parks Canada for an incredible Torngats experience. And thanks to Shelagh for being the best Musk Ox opponent a girl could ask for.





Dale, Michele, Terri





Roth & Ramberg Say Au Revoir to the South Coast

Day 10: Blanc-Sablon, Point Amour

Posted by Terri

Blanc-Sablon, Quebec

Dale and Michele had another early start. Thankfully, they were reunited with the sun, and chased it all over Blanc-Sablon and beyond.





After a quick breakfast, we drove to the end of the road in Vieux-Fort to find the other ‘138 Fin’ sign, a twin to the one in Kegaska. Then we hopped our way back down the Shore towards Labrador, stopping to shoot in and around scenic St. Paul’s River, Middle Bay, and Brador Falls, along others.






With warm summer sun, a light breeze, and zero flies, our last day on the Quebec Lower North Shore was made to order.


As we cruised along in our borrowed car, listening to borrowed CDs, somewhere between Quebec and Labrador, we talked about the places we’d been and the people we’d met along the way. People who were intrinsically tied to their remote communities and to their way of life. Bound by generations, a shared history, and a love of the land and sea.


While some people may not grasp the concept of clinging to tradition, enduring a harsher climate, or choosing a less convenient life, home is home. And in this part of the world, that’s everything.


Point Amour, Labrador


Besides being the end of our amazing journey on the South Coast, it also happened to be my wedding anniversary. And Dale’s. Just not to each other.


The irony of spending the evening at a romantic dinner at the iconic Point Amour Lighthouse without our spouses was not lost on us. But we embraced the chance to dine on locally-sourced cuisine in an incredible historic setting. And we were delighted with our little mason jar salads, not to mention the company.



Thanks to Carmen for the wonderful dinner, Air Labrador’s Barb for allowing us to hijack your car again (Dale loves your Bob Seger’s Greatest Hits by the way), Julia for keeping our tripod safe and sound, and Michelle for absolutely everything.


Signing Off


Tomorrow, we travel way, way North to the incredible Torngat Mountains. Part of that experience (rightly so) is to literally unplug from the world. No texting, no emails, no blogs. So we’re going off the grid. We’ll have one final post upon our return next week. Please stay tuned.


Before we sign off, we want to thank everyone throughout Northern Labrador, the Labrador Straits, and the Quebec Lower North Shore who shared their homes, trucks, quads, stories, and spirit with us. We also want to thank the entire Air Labrador team for making this adventure possible. It was an unforgettable journey.






Roth and Ramberg Meet the Fog

Day 9: Saint-Augustin, Quebec

Posted by Terri


As the day began, the magic light was nowhere to be found. Rather, we were greeted by fog. Being from the Island of Newfoundland, this was not a new concept to me. And if anything, we were surprised we had managed to outrun it this far. Perhaps we were due.


Regardless, Dale and Michele went out shooting at first light, and made the most of the moody skies over a still sleeping Saint-Augustin.






After a hearty 6am breakfast cooked up by Leo, we were back on the hovercraft to cross the river and catch our possible flight. We soon learned everything was on weather hold. So we settled in for a bit of a wait, and Dale introduced me to the wonderful world of Angry Birds.




Being delayed indefinitely gave us our first real taste of what it’s like to live in a remote community where the daily forecast commands attention, and being able to roll with it is an invaluable life skill.


An hour later, with no sign of blue sky, we took the hovercraft back over to Saint-Augustin to grab a few essential snack items at the dépanneur (store): coffee, fudge, cookies, Lunchables with bologna, and a variety of chips. We only had 15 minutes to get back on the hovercraft, which connects Pakuashipi (and the airport) with Saint-Augustin. It was a bit of a mad dash but we made it. And the fudge was totally worth the trip.



Slowly but surely, the fog began to lift. With it, our optimism. As we wouldn’t be shipping out until the evening, we hopped back on the super cool hovercraft once more to enjoy some borrowed time in Saint-Augustin. Not to mention another crab sandwich.


On the plane back to Blanc Sablon, we reunited with our friends from Harrington Harbour. And before we knew it, we were already there.


Thanks to Leo for the awesome breakfast, The Sisters for feeding us again, our friendly hovercraft operators for ferrying us back and forth, and Air Labrador’s Natalie, Greta, Hilary, Emedy, and Ian in Saint-Augustin for taking such great care of us, Julia in Blanc Sablon finding my purse, and our pilots Renee and Chris for helping us travel on. 

Roth & Ramberg by Land, Sea & Air

Day 8: Harrington Harbour, Sept-Iles and Saint-Augustin

Posted by Terri


I woke up in Harrington Harbour at 5:30am, just as Dale and Michele were finishing up another sunrise shoot. Soon we were back at Jean’s for a great big homemade breakfast. As we ate, the fog rolled in and fastened itself to the Harbour.





Somewhat concerned about our chances of flying out, we were also somewhat delighted at the prospect of getting to spend another night in Harrington Harbour.


Without knowing which way the day would take us, we headed to the boat for the journey back to Chevery, and decided to leave it up to nature.


The marina was already buzzing with activity, with boats coming in to dock and small groups of fishermen relaying the early morning news.



As we cruised along the open water and the sun began to peek out through the pea soup sky, we knew the decision had been made – we were moving on. 

Nicole picked us up on the other side of the bay and we just had enough time before our flight for a few more snaps. As we walked along the beach in Chevery, which looked like the backdrop of a Nicolas Sparks movie sans Channing Tatum, the fog all but disappeared, and we were soon on our way.




Sept-Iles, Quebec


After spending the past seven days in tiny towns and villages throughout Northern Labrador and the Quebec Lower North Shore, Sept-Iles was a bit of a culture shock. With a population of 25,000, it’s one of the largest towns in the region. And it felt almost foreign to be in a place with more than one restaurant, let alone roads. But as we sipped americanos and lattes at the airport café, we soon acclimatized.


Outfitted with a new ride at the airport, we set out to see what Sept Iles had to offer in a very short amount of time. We started out with a visit to Le Vieux-Poste, a historical interpretation site that tells the story of the old Innu-French trading post. Then we made our way down to the waterfront boardwalk where Dale finally got to try out the only line of French he knows: je m’appelle jambon. Which loosely translates into my name is ham. Luckily, the folks at the artisan shops applauded his efforts, and we could always rely on Michele for actual French language assistance.


Next we hit Moisie Beach to check out the paddle boarders and general beach vibe. Along the way, we stopped into the Surf Shack and met friendly owners Fred and Sandra. They quickly welcomed us to come in and look around, obviously well accustomed to all sorts of random drop-ins.


Fred showed us one of his amazing hand-carved boards, which took him 60 hours to make. As I secretly plotted a way to fit it in my carry-on, Dale and Michele took Fred’s photograph back on the beach and planned a possible meet up in Tofino, relying on the universal language of surfing.


 After the beach, we ate lunch on a deck overlooking the marina, enjoying the very warm afternoon soon. Then, once again, we headed back to the airport to catch our next flight.



Saint-Augustin, Quebec


We landed in Saint-Augustin just as the light was disappearing into the clouds. But not before we could see the hovercraft in the distance – our ride to town. Now while this is probably a major inconvenience if you have to do it every day, for us, it was another adventure, and we were totally game. In fact, we think every town should have a hovercraft.


We made it across Saint-Augustin River on our awesome ride just in time for a quick but delicious bite at Le Restaurant des Soeurs (The Sisters). After a quick scout around town in the dark, we got work downloading the day that was. It would be another short visit, but we were determined to pack as much in as possible.



Thanks to Greta for the wheels and the hospitality, and Air Labrador’s Michelle and Barb for the sunny lunch, Nicole for the pick up, Fanny, Jodina, and Jennifer for the big smiles, Natalie for the Saint Augustin welcome, and our pilots Simon, Renee, Felix, and Chris for once again getting us there.


Roth & Ramberg Say Bonjour to the Quebec Lower North Shore

Day 7: Kegaska, Harrington Harbour

Posted by Terri

We spent the night in Blanc Sablon, Quebec. The fact that we’d crossed the border was not lost on us, especially at the grocery store, where you can find a bottle of rosé to go with your Camembert. That and the accents had shifted from English, to English mingled with French. There were as many bonjours as hellos, and on account of the friendly people, they were both plentiful.


Armed with our prior warning about the shifting time zones, but iphones / alarm clocks that seemed slow on the uptake, we did the best math we could given the fact that were we up since 5am Labrador time, spent the day on Newfoundland time, and were going to bed in Quebec. We made a plan to regroup at 6am. So off to bed we went, secure in the knowledge we wouldn’t miss our flight.


A few hours later, I woke up to a gentle knock at my motel door. Here was Dale, freshly showered and ready to rock. It was 4:30am, Quebec time.


Needless to say, we went back to sleep and enjoyed the temporary advantages of cross border travel.


Kegaska, Quebec


Despite our early morning challenges, we made our flight in plenty of time, and began our trek across the Quebec Lower North Shore (along the Jacques Cartier Trail).



As the plane hopped from one coastal community to the next, we got sense of the new (to us) landscape – lush green mixed with rugged rock, endless sandy shores, and thousands of islands.


We spent the morning in Kegaska, the western most village on the Lower North Shore. The tiny fishing community with a two-room school is wrapped around a crescent shaped beach. It was the perfect spot to dine al fresco on a picnic table, especially on account of the restaurant being closed. Our lunch (or dinner, depending on where you’re from) consisted of chips and dip, Swedish fish, beef jerky, and butterscotch pudding (with a communal fork). It was almost as good as the view. (Note to self: eat a salad.)





Since we had another plane to catch in the early afternoon, we got to work roaming around town in our borrowed black truck. The only sounds you could hear were an occasional speed boat, the odd seagull, and the snap of a camera.


Harrington Harbour, Quebec


Two quick hops later, we landed in Chevery. Nicole, our Air Labrador agent and wheels on the ground, took us on a quick tour on the way to the dock.


Our final destination for the day was Harrington Harbour, a tiny fishing village on an island about a 30-minute boat ride away with no roads, no cell service, and an unlimited view. It sounded perfect. And it totally was.


Since there are no roads, there are no cars. Instead, locals rely on quads to zip along the boardwalks that connect every inch of the place. In fact, other than the ocean, it’s the only sound you can hear.


We wasted no time chasing what was left of the late afternoon sun. And we couldn’t think of a prettier place to do it.


The evening ended with supper at Jean’s Auberge (Inn). As we dined on fresh lobster caught that morning (OK, Dale and I had the chicken) we chatted to guests from all along the Lower North Shore, and discovered that this too is a small world in a big land, just on the other side of the border.


Thanks to Air Labrador’s Julia & Tristan in Blanc Sablon for handling our excessive baggage, Brenda in Kegaska for scoring us a truck, and Nicole in Harrington Harbour for the tour and the ground transportation, and our pilots Sean and Simon for getting us there. Also, thanks to Jean for feeding us, not once, but twice.







Roth & Ramberg head South

DAY 6: Blanc Sablon, Labrador Straits

Posted by Terri


Though it wasn’t the promise of magical light that woke us at 5am today, we were still up before the sun. This time, to catch a flight all the way to Blanc Sablon to explore the scenic Labrador Straits.


We were joined by Air Labrador’s Michelle (not to be confused with Michele Ramberg, half of Roth & Ramberg), who grew up in Forteau, and knows every inch of the place. Luckily, the sun had followed us from Nain, and the light would be perfect today.

As we drove along the shoreline in the quiet hours of the early morning, we noticed how the landscape had changed dramatically from the harshly beautiful North Coast. It was softer somehow, and quintessentially seaside, complete with sandy beaches and rolling waves, with the Island of Newfoundland barely visible off in the distance.


Our first stop was the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we learned about the incredible history of the Basques whalers during the 16th century. After a tour of the Interpretation Centre, we parted for Tracey Hill Lookout, leaving Dale to shoot the town below.




Though the boardwalk up took exactly 670 stairs, the view over Red Bay was well worth the climb. Along the way, Michelle told us stories of picking berries as a kid, and schooled us on how to pick a proper Bakeapple (also known as a Cloudberry). As we climbed down, we hunted the hillside for perfectly ripe berries made warm by the morning sun. Needless to say, none of them made it back to the parking lot.


After a lovely lunch (including Bakeapple Pie), we drove along the Straits, stopping at several picturesque communities along the way, including Capstan Island, L’Anse au Loup, and L’Anse Amour.


We arrived at Point Amour Lighthouse, the tallest in Atlantic Canada, late in the afternoon. Being self-proclaimed champion climbers, we couldn’t resist another 132 stairs (including two rather steep ladders) straight to the top, encased in 6-feet thick stone walls.


With nothing else to worry about, other than how to change our iphones from Labrador to Newfoundland time, we talked about the peculiar name of the place. And how, perhaps, we’d finally found the point of love, right there on the Straits.


 Thanks to Air Labrador’s Michelle for being our amazing tour guide, and our pilots, Shawn and Ben, for taking us South.


Roth and Ramberg and the carvers of Nain

Day 5: Nain

Posted by Terri

Upon the promise of early morning sunshine, Dale and Michele were up and on top of a mountain at 4:45am, like champions. Turns out it was a really good idea. The sunrise didn’t disappoint.








After a hearty breakfast we were joined by Isabella, our host in Nain, and set off to photograph some amazing carvers. (Just after a quick shopping excursion into the craft shop, of course.)


First up was John. The stone carver, jewelry maker, and painter was already hard at work, even though he says he’s retired. As we sat in the warm morning sun, with Mt. Sophie reigning supreme on the other side of the harbour, he told us that he gets his exceptional stone from a secret spot. He did not, however, tell us where that was.


Next we met Gilbert, known throughout the world for his beautiful carvings. It’s so popular, he can’t keep it in stock.

He showed us the giant slab of Labradorite next to his house. He called it Blue Eyes on account of the glistening blue flecks of colour throughout. With a little bit of water, the colour popped out of the stone, the sun making it even more magical.

Gilbert told us about all of the moral support he has received, especially from his wife of 38 years, Sue, and how his children are his pride and joy. It also happened to be his 65th birthday (Happy Birthday Gilbert!).


 Last but certainly not least, we visited Isabella’s Uncle Johnny in his wood shed. At 86 years old, his imagination is alive and well, and ever present in his hand crafted boats, fish, dogs, and ookpiks, among many other brightly painted animals and characters.


Three incredible carvers (and characters) later, we were off to the airport to catch the long flight back down the coast to Goose Bay, saying good bye to Isabella, Nain, and the rest of Nunatsiavut (for now). Tomorrow we’d be heading South, all the while hoping the light would chase us.

Thanks to Isabella for taking such great care of us, Air Labrador agents Crystal and Amanda for helping with the bags, and our pilots Ben and Kevin for taking us back down the Coast.

Roth and Ramberg do 3 Flights and 2 Boats

DAY 4: Hopedale, Postville and Nain

Posted by Terri

After a quick weather check at 4:30am by Dale and Michele, we knew there would be no magic morning light in Hopedale, but there would be a magic morning flight straight to Postville. The fog had lifted, so we were travelling on.

We hopped on a cargo flight and flew into the tiny community with a big heart. Not to mention, an equally big view.



We were met at the airport by Ruth, a retired teacher and current economic development officer who literally taught most everyone in town. And now, she was schooling us on all things Postville.

First up, an epic lesson in Labrador hospitality. We knew we were in for a treat when she described the freshly made tarts, sandwiches, toutons, and jams she had prepared for our trip up English River.




After a quick change into rubber boots, she took us directly to the dock, where a crew was already aboard – Samantha, Nicole, and Ruth’s husband Amos. We were off to the Salmon Counting Fence to get the day’s tally.


Along the way, we learned about the history of Postville (a trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company), shared stories, and got to know each other in short order. Two boats later, we arrived at our destination – a newly built outpost by the side of the river. The stove was lit, kettle boiled, and a feast served.


With full and thankful bellies, Dale and Michele were hilariously kitted out in borrowed, and somewhat ill-fitting, neoprene hip waders. Amos is probably still laughing.


The group then got down to work, waist deep in the river, counting salmon (and 1 char).




From the shore, I could tell they were simply having too much fun to call it work. But work was done (including photos) and it was time to go.


We spent our final hours shooting around the community, including the beautiful Post Hill wearing a crown of fog. We also got to meet Douglas, father of Amos, and town elder. We photographed him on the wharf sitting on his bench, where he waits for the Northern Ranger (a passenger ship) when she comes to town.


Before we knew it our pilots were back to pick us up. We said good bye to Ruth, took our bakeapple and rhubarb jams, and went on our way.


Back in the air, with the sun breaking through, we chatted with fellow travellers like Douglas from Rigolet, and Mustafa and Lauren from Halifax. Within minutes, we found common connections, or at least common ground. It occurred to us how small this place really is, just as the landscape seemed to grow bigger and bigger. Perhaps that is the Labrador paradox. A small world in a big land.




With the sun now out in full force, we touched down on the prettiest airstrip, cocooned by mountains and water. Welcome to Nain, the largest and most Northern community in Nunatsiavut.


We were greeted by Isabella, hopped aboard her truck, and started a new adventure in a new town. We visited the beautiful Moravian Church (thanks Simon!), saw the new Cultural Centre from afar (opening 2017), and gazed up at Mt. Sophie, overlooking the community.


After Isabella gave us a grand tour, from waterfront to mountain top, and we stopped for a minute to grab a bite, we then set out to chase the evening light over Nain.


Thanks to Jeremy in Hopedale for returning our truck, Ruth, Amos, Samantha, and Nicole for an incredible day in Postville, Benny and Dillon of Air Labrador for getting us there (again), and Isabella for a wonderful Nain welcome.




Roth and Ramberg head to Hopedale

DAY 3: Makkovik and Hopedale

Posted by Terri

While I slept like a princess without a pea, Dale and Michele got up at 5am, beating the sun by a full half hour to catch the magic light over Makkovik. After some beautiful scenics of the harbour, they wandered over to the fish plant where folks were hard at work processing Turbot.

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They were already back to the hotel and knocking at my door before my head left the pillow. Which is exactly why no one ever gives me a camera.

After a quick breakfast we headed up the road to the airport, returned Barb’s truck, and chatted away with Captain Benny before take off. As the day’s cargo was being dispatched, we talked about the changing landscape from South to North. And once up in the air en route to Hopedale, you could see the dramatic shift into barren rock, rolling hills, and a sprinkling of tiny islands.

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After we landed, we hung around the airport to capture the take off. Within a few minutes, it seemed to be just us and our endless line up of heavy gear left. We thought maybe this was a good time to figure out a way to the hotel. All of a sudden, we were asked if we needed a ride into town by a random voice. It turned out to be Tina, our transportation angel. She even agreed to take our picture climbing up a hill to grab a photo with the ‘Welcome to Hopedale’ sign. A kind introduction, indeed.

Once we dropped our colossal assortment of bags at the hotel, we headed out in search of the story of the day.

Being in the Legislative Capital of Nunatsiavut, we visited the incredible Assembly Building, complete with stunning Labradorite floors and blue sealskin chairs. (Thanks to Ian for the tour, by the way, sorry we couldn’t get hold of your mom.) Here, the story of Nunatsiavut continued, as we were once again welcomed with open arms.

We also met up with David of the Agvituuk Sivumuak Society at the Hopedale Interpretation Centre. We learned about the Moravian history of Hopedale and roamed throughout the 150-year-old buildings where the stories still felt very much alive.

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Later in the day, Sarah of the Hopedale Moravian Sewing Circle opened up her workshop. Minutes later, Michele and I opened up our wallets, unable to resist the beautiful moose hide mittens and hand beaded slippers.

As we sat down to put our daily post together, the fog hung low over the ridge over Hopedale. Would we be travelling on tomorrow? Would we be fogged in? We didn’t have the answer but we were happy to roll with it either way, being in no hurry whatsoever.

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Thanks to Barb, Carla, Benny, Dillon and Inez at Air Labrador. Thanks to Tina for the lift, Danielle, Matilda, and Maria for the truck and the phone numbers, David and Ian for the tours, and Sarah for the mittens and slippers. 

Roth and Ramberg hit the North Coast

DAY 2: Rigolet and Makkovik

Posted by Terri


We started the day just before sunrise and managed to squeeze in a few last snaps in the pretty morning light before we took off to Rigolet. 


We landed in light rain and heavy black flies. But we came packing with three kinds of insect repellent. And I’m happy to report, we won. Soon after, the sun came out and stayed out, putting a sparkle on absolutely everything.

We had arranged to meet up with Kristy, who graciously gave up her day off to show us around the Rigolet she knows and loves. Her pride in her hometown shines through, and it’s easy to see why.

Not only can you find the world’s longest boardwalk, you can also find something you can’t quite pinpoint on a map.


Just a couple hours on the ground, and I had forgotten about whatever was stressing me out just 24 hours ago. Mostly because my phone didn’t work (a miraculous discovery).

Friendly people, incredible natural beauty, kids who still ride bikes and skip stones, and a real sense of community that was palpable.

We photographed boat builders, craftspeople, carvers, off-duty police officers shucking scallops, on-duty police officers driving quads, a gentleman named Hooker from Mud Lake (Hi Hooker!), and many, many more.


The one thing they all had in common was their desire to maintain the traditional way of life, and their willingness to share it with open hearts.

During our short stay, we were fortunate to catch some of the annual Rigolet Salmon Fest, including the BBQ lunch, and the leftover floats from yesterday’s parade. One of the homemade signs said, “Rigolet, the place to be.” And how true it was.



With just a quick 25-minute flight North, we landed in Makkovik.



We literally weren’t in town for 10 minutes and Michele was in a boat. On our first scout about town, she met up with Reg who was just out for a spin. With his dog Bryce swimming behind him, it made for a pretty idyllic introduction to a pretty coastal town.


We heard about the Trout Festival happening and instantly wanted in on the Community Bingo. Sadly, it was being played by radio and we had shooting to do. But we did snag some amazing Trout Festival swag at the community centre, ate a pinwheel, and headed on.

We stopped by the White Elephant Museum, where we chatted with Joan, learned about the incredible Moravian and Norwegian history (Andersen, not Anderson), and bumped into some visitors who just sailed in on the Northern Ranger.

On account of some recent bear activity (and a general fear of bear activity), we missed out on the boardwalk, and decided to call it an early night (relatively speaking) and get caught up on some writing and editing.

So here we are, at the end of day two. Tired, sunburnt, and covered in more than one fly bite. And we couldn’t be more thrilled.



A big thanks to Kristy for the unforgettable day in Rigolet, Natalie and Barb for the loan of your trucks, Garret for the quad escort to our hotel, and our pilots Benny, Dave, and Romain who not only got us there, but who had the patience to let us take many, many pictures.