Lovely Fogo Island and the King of the Cods

From Makkovik we bade farewell to lovely Labrador and took a big jump (307nm) to St. Anthony’s in Newfoundland for re-provisioing.

Sailing doesn’t get better than this

Dramatic sunrise at Sloop harbour

Whale bones in Penny Harbour, Labrador

Fishing boat crossing our bow in a choppy sea

The south side of the uninhabited island ‘Belle Isle’

We arrived at night and were surprised and delighted to see a large grey ship with a Dutch flag flapping off the stern. It was the Maaike-Saadet with Jacco and Jannie on board, two people that we briefly met in the Netherlands but were eager to get to know better. And we were eager to snoop about on their Bestevaer sailboat. An early afternoon borrel aboard the Dutch led to us pooling our resources for dinner on the Maaike-Sadet. Highly gezellig!

‘Maaike Saadet’ and ‘Dutch’ anchored in St. Anthony, Newfoundland

The next day brought a short 25 nautical mile trip and a quick stop for an evening campfire and a sleep in an enchanting little cove called Croque Harbour before we headed on to Fogo Island.

Emma and Macsen built their own little campfire

Perfect!

We tied up to the government dock in Fogo Harbour behind the lovely 56 foot sailboat Morgans Cloud. John and Phyllis are experienced travellers who are well known in the sailing community for their super informative website Attainable Adventure Cruising (www.morganscloud.com – Seb is somewhat addicted). It was a rainy day and we shared a borrel and swapped stories, a very interesting and entertaining couple who live much of the year near Lunenberg, NS and we hope thus to see them again.

Fogo Island government dock

Fogo Island is the largest offshore island in Newfoundland and Labrador, a gently wonderful place with rocky coastline, stunning walks, colourful houses dotting through well protected coves. And this all wrapped up in that indefinable cosy island feel and chock full of the fabulous Newfoundland hospitality that we have come to value so highly.

Fogo

As I have mentioned before, Macsen has developed an almost alarming zeal for fishing, anything and anytime – but cod is his ultimate goal. We had been informed that if we wanted to find the sweetest cod then Fogo was the place to be. Cod fishing is only allowed on weekends in July and August in Newfoundland and each person is allowed 5 fish per day with a maximum of 15 fish per boat.

Seb and Macsen gathered their gear with great excitement and headed out in the dinghy to cast their lines. As they puttered from spot to spot across the harbour they were approached by Junior and Sid who were planning to head out in Junior’s boat for a cod fishing session. Seb and Macsen had yet to dent their quota with a single fish. Junior and Sid viewed their boat and gear kindly but disdainfully and invited to show them how cod fishing is really done.

They zoomed over to gather Emma and I and soon the six of us were buzzing out of the harbour to the deep sea. About a mile out of the harbour we stopped in water about 30m deep and were each invited to take a fishing line and hang the hook out – let is out until you feel it hit the the bottom, lift it a little and then jig it about a bit is how I understood it. And it worked!!!

The fish seemed to pour over the side of the boat

One coming in at 11 kilograms and several others close behind. Within an hour we had reached the boat quota and seen a whale. Wow! Incredible experience for all of us and particularly golden for Macsen.

Junior has a beautiful house in a lovely spot but the icing on the cake for Macsen was the boat house on the water with a built-in fish cleaning station. He and Sid cleaned the fish (nothing is wasted) we shared a cup of tea with Junior’s wife, Carol (Emma and I had been using her fishing gear). Their children all live in Halifax and we now have some additional contacts there. Again, such friendly, interested, generosity.

Sid cleaning the cod

Junior and Sid

As a final high, we were given a drive through the main communities on the Island by Roy, a Fogo fisherman, who spent the best part of 4 hours ferrying us through Joe Batt’s Arm, Tilting (where they still speak in Irish brogue), Seldom Cove, Stag Harbour and giving us background and history of each. He even took us to visit his son’s small farm where Scrunchion the pig delighted us with his jumpy antics and a lovely blond Labrador dog (didn’t catch the name) insisted upon retrieving a dead chicken from the water 5 times to the great consternation of his owner.

Roy

What a lovely dream spot is Fogo, another place we long to return to spend a little more time with its nature and people.

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3 Comments

  1. Lynn Addleman 14/08/2018

    Very fine fish! And Emma even held one!!! We’re you allowed to keep the ones you caught? Each one would provide a feast! Yum!

    • sydutch 14/08/2018 — Post author

      Yes, on the weekends you are allowed to keep 5 per person per day. Way too much for us so we only took one and still have some left in our freezer..

  2. Jurjen 15/08/2018

    THe fish is Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge!!

    Cool Macsen!

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