At TripGems, Insiders are experienced travel bloggers that tell you a little bit more about a destination. In this Insider’s View, Kristel Koch from Life travellers will take you on a journey to a small town in Newfoundland Canada: McCallum.
The places I want to tell you about are hidden gems, away from literally everything. Are you looking to explore a different kind of Canada? Beware…life is not easy here but definitely amazing. If you are in Newfoundland take that bit of extra time and visit the isolated outports on the south coast and get ready for a truly unique experience!
Last spring I had the opportunity to visit a friend of a friend who had moved to this tiny little place called McCallum a few years back. This guy named David decided to leave the comforts of southern Ontario and trade it for the solitude of this isolated outport. McCallum is one of the few outports that are left on the south coast. These small fishing communities are disappearing as the government is trying to get the locals to move to urban areas where life is less heavily subsidized. Other factors are the aging population and their main source has been under threat for years: fishery.
I am quite the chatty person so before stepping on the ferry from Hermitage David told me not to be offended if people in his village are not, people can be quite shy when you first meet them. So I made a mental note to be aware and not overwhelm the people.
The ferry goes back and forth once a day but not often will you find “new” people on here. David, our host has been fully accepted in this wonderful small community and so of course shared his news about his guests. News travels with the speed of lightning here, people will know you are there. This is not a bad thing at all in a remote place like this, people need to keep an eye on each other.
Everyone knows where you are, and that’s not a bad thing in a remote place like this’
With a bit of a queasy stomach we arrived in the little harbor sheltered from the open sea, it couldn’t be more picturesque. To welcome us Herman was there, he welcomes each and every boat, or helicopter. After stepping of the boat you have already made your first friend, and what a great one!
The only form of transportation you’ll find here is some quads, but as a visitor you need nothing else then your legs and a slow pace. Good chance you’ll see a big part of the population of (about) eighty, depending on the weather though. The fishermen go out in all sorts of crazy weather in their little fishing boats, but some particular crazy high seas prevented even them to go out and check the pods for a day or two when we were there.
Don’t expect great weather when you go and visit this part of the world. Our first few days the view was mostly foggy. But still, I stared out of the window for hours to take it in, what a privilege to be there! And so when the sun decided to find its way through the fog the view was spectacular. Time for some hiking! No better place to do this, there are some paths close to the village but no real trails. Every hill will provide another stunning view and every cliff will give you a faster heartbeat if you are afraid of heights like me. Also you know in the back of your mind there is no doctor anywhere close, even cutting onions gets some more attention. There is a heli pad but there are a lot of arguments against you before there will be one coming for you. The nurse lands once a week and the doctor bi weekly, not a great help in an emergency situation.
If you are visiting McCallum in the summer they have a nice spot for you to put up your tent and at the time we were there, there was also a (unlicensed) Bed & Breakfast, here they will provide dinner for you as well. For such a small community they have a great little store (with a liquor license) with basically everything you need for very reasonable prices. Fresh fruits and veggies are more limited of course in variety, it has a long way to go and Newfoundland is mostly rock, it makes it hard to grow anything on it.
Most of the tourists that visit these outports come by sailboat. But that usually requires a certain budget, one I never seem to have. The ferry the locals use is subsidized, so for a few bucks you can make your way from one outport to the next. You cannot book the ferry ahead but planning is necessary though when you want to visit an outport and calculate in some extra time in case the weather does not allow the ferry to run.
If you are looking for off the beaten path…this is it!
What started as an urge to see our planet turned out to be a need to make connections with people from all over the world. And so I did, it has made my traveling life more rich and fulfilling. My family has grown and life long friends have been made while seeing amazing places. You open up and the world opens for you.
Follow her blog: http://lifetravellers.wordpress.com/