London Free Press: Newfoundland Unchanged, but always changing


…A night at a nearby Quirpon Island Lighthouse gives some sense of what the Vikings encountered en route to this continent a thousand years ago.

Wind. Then fog.  And always, the shifting currents of the Strait of Belle Isle. Oh yes, and polar bears following the seals on ice floes from the north, and whales, too.

But they made it in their oaken boats without the aid of the Quirpon Lighthouse or, as fog set in recently, the added navigational aid of its intermittent fog horn booming through the soupy air of this most northerly part of Newfoundland.

The conditions change instantly and sudden sunlight gives you a view of Belle Isle and the coast of Labrador beyond in what only can be described as the soft air of Newfoundland. It is a view unchanged since the Vikings saw it….

There are plenty of other attractions in this relatively untravelled part of Newfoundland, as Ed English makes clear. Formerly with the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, the unquenchably upbeat English teaches survival skills and runs kayak and tour operations (Linkum Tours and Explore Newfoundland) and owns the lighthouse/inn operation at Quirpon (pronounced kar-poon) and another on the coast of Newfoundland.

He knows the history of this place. His grandfather was captain of a boat that ran aground within sight of Quirpon. There is even a tome among Newfoundland’s estimable literature. The Curse of the Red Cross Ring is a true story about murder in the area…

Jim Kernaghan