Monday, April 30, 2007

More dock action circa 1978.

Hope you are not getting sick of all this nostalgia stuff, I’m rather enjoying it, nice little break from the brain swelling politics that is going on at all levels.

Another stitched photo of the ‘upper end’ of Nain then. The ‘government store’ just above the dam, that white pipe leading from the dam to a small white building was the water supply to the town. Big changes in the 29 years, in more ways than one.

On the dock we have a group of locals plus archaeological people who were doing work up north.

Tied to the dock there are some fishers admiring part of the catch.

The trap boat with the drying nets contains the Kojak clan [bottom].

Then there is a view from the dock to the church, cant gets that one now.

Those days the fishermen and their families would head out into the bays and runs after the ice moved out. Arctic char and salmon was the main catch, some would make several moves of camps depending on the whim of the fish.

Late July early August, and depending on ice moving offshore, many families would head north to Cutthroat, around Cod Island and into Okak Bay to their traditional fishing berths, again depending on the whim of the fish. T’was a great life indeed, hard but rewarding and in keeping with the Inuit culture. Other families would head out to the outer islands and bays to their traditional berths.
Also back then the the fish plant would supply a 'collector' boat to take supplies and pick up the catch from the fishers who were up north.

OK, I can’t help it; a story breaking is just so reprehensible I have to comment.

Seems some arse holes have been hunting the most venerable of the caribou herds down in south west Labrador. Word is that about 40 carcasses have been discovered, taken in the last two months, with the choice meat taken and the rest left to rot.

The mealy Mountain herd is almost extinct, wild life people say there are only about 20 animals left, and these idiots are hunting them????

Those herds would be under the jurisdiction of two governments, NL and Quebec. Let’s hope some justice can be afforded here, but it does not look good.

Surly some one will hear about this catastrophe and DOB the barstards in if they know who did this.

More from the photo archive.

The pictures are a little faded and not that sharp. My first camera was bought just before I left Oz, a Nikon 110 film job. After my experiences in Labrador I traded it in on arrival in London Eng for an Olympus OM2, I still have it, a great camera, sure wish I had it when on my first trip north. Any way back to the pictures.

I stitched two photos together to give a broad view of the summer action back then.

This lot depicts the harbor and dock area, how planes landed in summer prior to the air strip being completed.
Them days a floating dock was put out from the main dock, the floater used old 45 gallon drums for floatation. Getting to and from the main dock was always a challenge. At low tide it was quite steep [no hand rails then either] and high tide you walked on the sharp end [2”of the 6x2] of the steps. There was more community spirit then too [or it seems like] with people always willing to give others a hand with luggage, supplies, gas, mail etc.
There were times that the dock was late being put out, or it partially sank, or there was a crowd at the dock, this was when speed boats were used to ferry people and goods to and from shore.

The last picture shows construction of the air strip. It was still on going when I left in October.

Winter landing was done out on the harbor on skis. Fall and spring was a different issue what with freeze up and breakup issues. Trouser lake was used ice permitting. It was a good little 10 minute ski doo ride, or not so good depending on conditions. Again, weather conditions controlled how long planes could not land.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Odyssey Uno.

Early June 1978 I had my first flight on a small plane, the DeHaviland Beaver float plane.
I had been in HV-GB holed up in the Hotel Goose [no longer operational] waiting for the weather to clear for my final leg to Nain.
I had started the odyssey 5 days prior from Sydney Australia. Actually this trip was my first outside Australia and my first on any plane of any type.

I started off on a Pan Am [no longer operational] Boeing 747 to LAX, then onto a Air Canada L1011 to Toronto for an overnight. Onto a 737 the next morning to Montreal where I spent three days recuperating and sight seeing.
Left Montreal on another 737 of Eastern Provincial Airlines [no longer operational] to Wabush and on to Goose Bay.

So it was with some trepidation I finely boarded the Beaver at the float plane base at Otter Creek. I was to be one of four making the trip, plus mail and freight.

The first picture [at right] is of what passed as the waiting room those days.
Bob Palliser left [deceased] and John Igloliorte were very helpful in calming my nerves. I needed that too as it took two tries to get off the water, then it was mostly over land to Rigolet where we dropped Bob off.
Our next drop off was Makkovik, what looked to me like large hunks of ice were blocking the dock there, but we managed to get alongside and drop the fourth person off.
Just John and I left, and the scenery became more and more hostile looking to me the further north we flew.
All of a sudden John points ahead and says ‘Hopedale’. I’m looking real hard to make out something that was not rock, mountains, water ice, and tundra. All of a sudden there it was, perched atop the highest peaks, the radar antennas of the DEW line.

So we circled around and finely the community of Hopedale came into view, I will reserve my thoughts on that little impact, and we landed in very windy conditions. As a matter of fact the wind kept us from getting to the dock, the pilot had to get out on the pontoon and throw the couple of mail bags to some one on the dock. “Christ almighty” I said to my self, “what’s Nain going to be like”?

Any way off we go and about 40 minutes later Nain comes into view, trees, nice green coverage, big open harbor to land on, my spirits lifted. That is until the pilot started to circle several times then saying, “not sure if we can land due to the wind, may have to go back”.
The sprits dropped dramatically, but some how we got down, idled over to a buoy and the pilot tied off. “What now” a says to self.
We wait for a bit, I could see my sister on the dock waiving. Then a small speed boat with one person left the dock and came out along side. John starts handing his luggage and himself to the guy in the boat, so I followed along.

We get to the dock, climb up the ladder, reach down for the luggage, embrace my sister, introduced to some people there who came down to see my sisters brother.

These pictures of the DEW line in Hopedale were taken on my departure from Nain [not for the last time as it turned out] in October 78.

1 2 3

The #2 picture shows the larger radar antenna facing to the north east; they were on a separate hill top to the main control/accommodation units. There were still quite a lot of those structures shown in the #3 photograph. The large building in centre of photo was the power station. The two white buildings to the right of photo were some of the accommodations from when the Americans were there. These two were being used at the time as a support and communications unit to the then offshore drilling program that was under way off the Labrador in the late 1970’s early 80’s.

Today there is only concrete structures and footings left, see an earlier post on those.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mcbreakfast and Dictatorships.

How about these unappetizing breakfast treats? Not the thing to get the gastronomic juices flowing is it? Some sort of a croissant and a muffin?????

The photos and others are here. I came across the link to the site here.
I still can’t come to grips with the fact people would buy anything, especially in the fast food line, from looking at advertising photos. But then something must be working going by the bottom line of some of the larger companies in the field.

So here is my version of a BLT, in the slow food fashion. I Crisped up some ordinary old bacon, topped it with some ordinary old tomato, topped with some back bacon, all on some ordinary old lettuce on top of my very excellent toasted 12 grain/whole wheat/rye bread.
I am going to name it the McMahoon BLT.
Sounds about right for no other reason than my mothers maiden name was McMahon, from the Limerick McHahoons. It’s spelt McMahon, but when I was traveling through that area whenever some one said the name it sounded like McMahoon, or some times MacMarhoooon, depending on how many pints one had partook.

Isn't this autonomy and going it alone fun? We can make up our own names for owe own food n stuff.
Why some can just declare [sort of like] that the province is now a corporation [sort of like]. That must come under corporate autonomy rather than social autonomy which covers the ones that will only get very marginal pay increases, or non at all, or the larger lot who have to leave the province to get a pay check.
Just a thought, but maybe we should get the Securities and Exchange commission to look at these increases to make sure everything was done kosher like. I should be able to ask for that right? Would I not be a share holder? Being a share holder I don't remember voting in the Board of Directors. That would be the cabinet in the old democratic regime.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bits n pieces.

What an uplifting story this is. This sort of community spirit as on the wane most places, Google ‘gated communities’, kudos to these people in Shea Heights.

Then there is this one that is really worrying. I do not know if your man did wrong or not, but for the court to rule this way seems absurd, and down right dangerous to democracy.

I am led to believe that this town already had a ‘food service’ business, wonder how that small business person feels. Let’s see, if they can get 4,000 couple to come home, at $100,000 a pop that comes to $400,000,000.00. Not bad value, maybe the feds can cost share.

I did hear some good news on our hydro bills via Yvonne Jones this morning. Interviewed on CBC HV-GB Miss Jones said that the government subsidy for diesel generated hydro communities will mean a KWA reduction of about 4 cents on the first 700 KWH in summer and the first 1000 KWH in winter. The current rate is 8.935 cents. Nice little saving if her math a correct and it covers all the communities not just the ones in her ridding. This from the budget:$8 million over 5 years ($1.6 million annually) for an electricity rebate for homeowners using diesel generated power in rural isolated communities along the Labrador coast;

After that good news there is continuing conflicting amounts bandied about, and time frames continually change, on the chip seal start on stage1 of the TLH. This from the budget:$17 million for construction of Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway and $15 million (cost-shared with federal government) to provide a sealed surface on Phase I of the Trans Labrador Highway. It has gone from 20 million [cost shared] over five years to this, and that is discounting the conflicting information from feds and Province about time frame and who is doing what to whom. I have some suggestions about what they could do to each other, wink wink, nudge nudge.

I am really not looking forward to the time [overdue already] to when the replacement ships file for the Labrador North Coast gets to the main table.
Finely to brighten up the weekend, [for me anyway] a circa 1980 [give or take] picture of the most compassionate understanding leader, not to mention the first female leader, of an Aboriginal political group in Labrador and Newfoundland.

While on the subject of maps.

These two maps go a ways in explaining one of the reasons the Innu of the Quebec lower north shore [some of them] keep hunting the threatened caribou herds in what we all know as Labrador, ok that's three maps.
Both of these are from official Government of Quebec web sites.
One other rational from the Innu perspective would be inherent right, but in my opinion when a species is threatened with extinction, then any rights go out the window.

Post budget;

I thought of something light and distracting, but I am listening to VOCM while having fun, sort of like walking and chewing gum at the same time.

You can have some fun too.

So, it looks like I have 94% of the countries to visit, hmmm.
Not much chance, and do not have any real desire to try. Would be nice to visit some when the occasion presents.

I think I have been reasonably lucky in having some good stays in several counties, Canada for one, England/Scotland/Ireland for two years back and forth, to and fro. Seven months in Greece, mainly Paxos, was most likely the highlight, one woman accused me of “eating lotuses” while there, “you got that right” I replied.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More from the archive.

Views of the OLD dock and harbor summer and spring, but different years.
We do not see scenes like this in the summer any more, not that many planes on floats now, and all but a couple of the trap boats are long gone.
The old fish plant is long gone replaced with a lager one.

The boat in the ice never made another trip after that winter [it was the second winter spent in ice] not surprisingly.

And my old faithful dog Mulligan was getting on too.

Omophagous or not omophagous, that is the question.

Maybe another reason for my mood [see previous post] was that I heard this report on CBC overnight show. I don’t do an over lot of BBQ’ing, but do enjoy it when I do, even in winter.
Perhaps more slow cooking [which I do already], stews, braises, slow roast.

Or perhaps the Inuit were on the right track by having a diet of Kauk [raw meats] to boiled meats and fish. Or maybe I should become an omophagist..... not bloody likely.
I say were because while there are still many who eat the traditional way, the younger, and times the not so younger, rely on store bought foods more and more, especially the lower income folk, but not limited to.
Another scanned picture of yore, bit more gray now it is.

Summer Daze...

..ahead. Well in a couple of months people will be out catching char and salmon, cleaning the dirt out of their nets like this shot depicts.

Then sooner than you think it's fall,

and we get to go pick berries.
I’m feeling a little melancholy as we are in the fourth day of some flat white blustery weather. Minus 21 chills in April are not kosher mate.
Fran was sorting through some of the old photographs, tidying up and picking some out for the OKS site and I decided to scan some, so I share some with you.
Actually my mood is in between atrabilious and meliorist, so there is hope for me yet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Danny and the otherfellas?

An except from the provincial speech from the throne yesterday.

We as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians aspire, not to perpetual subservience, but to self-sufficiency. Our people are not content to tolerate a future of relying on others economically. However, our people have now also learned that we will achieve self-reliance economically only by taking charge of our future as a people. To that end, My Government will harness the desire among Newfoundlanders and Labradorian to cultivate greater cultural, financial and moral autonomy vis-à-vis Ottawa. Our priority is the well-being of successive generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, including those who live here now and those we welcome to join us from all over the world. My Government will affirm Newfoundland and Labrador’s status as a distinct people, not uniform in lineage but multi-cultural, one nation inclusive of many nations living in harmony together. As equal partners, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal together, we will write a new future for Newfoundland and Labrador, a future of our own design, where mutual understanding, justice, equality and cooperation are the order of the day. My Ministers propose a political approach that unites our province rather than divides. They promote a positive and inviting political vision embracing all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, new and old. Our people are proud nationalists who believe it is only by affirming our identity as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that we will realize our goal of economic equality within the federation. Our people are ready to take charge of our future and, under My First Minister’s leadership, our province will achieve self-reliance by becoming masters of our own house.

A story of the continued and seemingly speedy exodus from Newfoundland.

One view of the speech from the throne that has more than a little validity.

Other views from the federalist’s emphasis concern of the words “moral autonomy” and just what does Danny actually mean by them?

Another federalist points out the fact that the Métis of Labrador are having a rough time being recognized by the province, so how can the province claim harmony.

There is also a strong argument that Inuit self government, Nunatsiavut, is not all is was cracked up to be vis a vis autonomy and self determination.

It would seem to me that most of the critiques have some validity. The direction that the PC government is going is having a detrimental effect on rural communities.
Maybe all this going it alone is only is just negotiating rhetoric, or not. No one [except one] seems to know for sure.

But one thing is clear to me, if Newfoundlanders want to dig a trench and become the pickup, then and Labradorians want no truck with it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Environment, to do or not to do.

These two links survey on attitudes to the environment are predictable but none the less disappointing.
It’s the old axiom of ‘the more ya gets the more ya wants’.

I’d like to see a similar survey done in Labrador, be interesting to find out for sure what attitudes aboriginal people and other Labradorians have on these global issues. I have my suspicions that they would be similar to the city/urban/near urban survey, but I could be wrong.

I know some people up here are aware of our habits having a negative effect, but not many are willing to ‘do different things’ for fear of what other people might say. As one small example; Fran uses a cloth bag and I use a back pack for shopping, we are constantly getting comments, or I am, about the back pack. We are always rejecting plastic bags at the stores, and we take every opportunity to demean the plastic bag culture. It is getting through, but as mention before people need to get a grip and bugger the negative comments.

There is also a reluctance to buy CFB’s here because of the high initial costs, plus the stores do not carry many of them. But this may have to change soon; a story on CBC this morning indicated that the Federal Government is looking at putting a ban on incandescent bulbs, following the Ontario Government move. Goes to prove you have to legislate to get a strong message across, tough love never did a lot of harm to any one. Lets get to the tare sands and other major polluters.

It has long been obvious to me and others that to do nothing, or go slow on correcting mans impact on our earth, will only exacerbate the problem, and cost way more in lives and dollars.

Spring, part 2.

Spring is not always sunshine and happy hunting trips up here. We do get the occasional bit of crappy stuff, like the last couple of days. I heard that St. John’s has nice sunny weather today, not sure if it’s St. John’s Newfundland or St. John US Virgin Islands.

This turbo Otter is grounded from its many trips into an exploration camp south of here, and the latest strikers at the Voisey’s Bay mine/mill are picketing in style outside the local TSI office.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Another ANZAC day approaches down under.

My father, who is 93, used to have some big bashes with his army buddies in the back yard of our house. I used to make some good small change running to the shops for all and sundry while the men played two up and drank. As years passed and I was able to join clubs I had my own games of two up [with limited success] and partook of the occasional schooner. I attended a few local dawn services, after we would watch the city march on TV.

Dad is in hospital this year so wont be with his buddies, not many left any way. Mom used to help out at the local RSL quite a bit being in the Woman’s Army Corp in WWII. So in honor of them; at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them, have a good one.

Strategy 2201

“Based on the work of the steering committee/working committee process, government was advised to seek the input of other industry stakeholders prior to implementing any policy changes. … To facilitate the consultation component, a draft discussion document was prepared.”

Strategically speaking some wags are saying that this is strategically placed to garner the highest exposure for the PC party close to an election.
Having to wait two years for a[ strategy document ]with many strategic plans has to give some credence to these wags skepticism.

Perhaps there will be more strategic benefits for Northern Labrador in the up coming budget, or perhaps in the up coming visit to Nain by the minister for WST. Strategically it is best to wait and see what strategy has been strategized before commenting further.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekend bits.

Besides getting the chiro treatment, the 48 hours or so in HV-GB was a nice little break from the normal. Even though I was in considerable pain I got to see a couple of friends, they are always available to drive me around, pick me up and have a chat or meal. I usually do a lot of walking there but with the condition of the road shoulders, and the walking trails being still under slushy snow, I took them up on the offers more than usual.

I had a quick pint of Guinness at Mulligans pub; under different circumstances I would have had a couple more.

I took the opportunity to visit Fran’s mom at the Paddon home for a bit, had a chat to a couple of other ladies from Nain who are in the home.

I also had two quick visits to Terrington Consumers Co Op. Nice to shop in a modern, clean, well stock store for a change.

On other things, I have noticed that lately the Canadian media are covering more stories from down under. It was not always so, wonder what has changed that the interest has piqued?
Things like drought and drifting yachts did not seem to be on the radar screen before.

Same can be said for the other way I guess, at least the non coverage of Canadian issues. I can remember back in the Trudeau days there was always something on Canada in Australian media, usually revolving around PET and his colorful life style and family issues. That dried up after he called it quits, my mother used to often mention that Canada was a non event in media down there.
I can understand not wanting to cover the boring bland bunch that has been the norm over here for some time. I don’t think even this can have any major effect on his charisma. He should try getting hold of this guys fluffier, though with the frosty relationship between the two that is doubtful.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Back from back treatment.

I made my 2 pm appointment with the chiropractor on Wednesday OK but man; by my arrival my back was stressed and knotted tighter than ‘the new governments’ social and environmental policies.

I had three sessions all told, I Kneed :-} more but will try and get back in a few weeks. The stress dissipated immediately after the fist session, pain was gone also after each session but returned next morning. Will better able to tell the results in a day or two.

The better news [for me and many others] is that the chiropractor [Keating Family Chiropractic] and his family are committed to staying in Goose Bay. They have built up the business over the last two years where it is viable, plus they like the ‘country’ life style. Double better news would be if he was able to travel into the coastal communities on periodic visits, this he is still working on but lots of variables come into play. Mean time one has to pay ten times the treatment fees just to get there and back.

I took some pictures while out in Goose Bay. No intention to paint in bad light, but it is not the prettiest time there for sure. Large dirty snow banks that are being cut away at by either the sun of big machinery. Lot of sand all over the roads and parking spaces.

Stayed at the Hotel North, nice inside, plus since I last stayed there they have an annex including the Mariners Restaurant that is popular not only for their all you can eat sea food buffet once a week [I missed it, it’s on Fridays]. I went in for a quick bite after my arrival Wednesday, jigs dinner plus pasta was on, one guy scuttled up three times in the short time I was there. I figured that since not many people there he did not want the food to spoil.

The air port terminal and apron was as busy as I have seen it for non military craft and people. Place was a hive of coastal people and smoozers of the business and commercial world. The premier was in town briefly, did not see him but noticed plenty of periphery folk doing the smoozing and flannel mouthing. A number of us cynical people sat around talking and taking in the smooze fest.

The trip home left almost on time, it was smooth and just above broken cloud all the way.
Twelve people on board, these are some shot from the business class section forward on a De Havilland Twin Otter of unknown vintage.

The windows are scratched and pitted and the cloud was in the way but managed these taken about 20 to 30 minutes south of home. Still plenty of ice and snow around sure, could not make out any open water, but should not be long coming in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Musky still on the defence.

The Musk Ox still out there defending his Island.

These photos taken by G. Ford this week, M. Ford assisted.

The ice is rough where you have to cross the ore ships track.