The Little Beach Boats of Newfoundland

Mule Polly and I have been traveling the Newfoundland coast for a month now. Starting in L’Anse aux Meadows, on the northern tip, we have visited close to a dozen coastal communities along the west coast – Shoal Harbor, Eddies Cove West, Barr’d Harbour, Portland Creek.

Most striking is how the small boat fishery is still intact. Shrinking. Yes. In danger of being obsoleted by the 70-foot seiners and factory ships. Yes. Plunged into and out of fishing season by quotas that are filled, in some cases, in a matter of hours. Yes. In danger of imminent extinction. Ditto.

But survive they do.

The favorite of these, of a type I’ve never seen before, are the beach launched fishing boats.

Built primarily of wood or fiberglass, they have a distinct shape. The have a relatively narrow bottom with wide, flaring sides. The bow is upturned, as though it suffered an uppercut on the naval engineer’s drafting table.

Which of course it didnt.


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