Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bell Island

This morning we made the trip to Belle Island.  After a short ferry ride form Portugal Cove to Bell Island we drove to the local bakery and bought a loaf of maple raisin bread, some gumdrop crinkle cakes for the kids (they taste like a Twinkie), and some tea biscuits (similar to scones).  Next stop was to Mine #2 for a tour of the iron ore mine.  It was began in 1902 and closed in 1966 due to the risks of underground mining and companies have the ability to do surface mining in Labrador for iron ore, which is much more economical.  There were a total of 6 mines on the island, mine #2 is 2.5 miles long and goes out under the ocean.  If you were able to go to the end of the mine you would be about 3 miles underwater.  Mine #2 is the only that is open to the public for tours.  You can only go 650 feet into the mine at a 10 degree downward slope, as you go deeper into the mine it has filled with water from rains, snow, and time.  They say the water never fills up all of the way because there are natural holes in the side of the island that the water, at that level, will weep through to the outside.  I am always surprised at how dark it is down there and that people actually had to work by candlelight, with giant rats. 

A whale we saw on the way over to Bell Island.

A concrete and steel box that contained the Clydesdales food.

 After the tour we came outside and discovered that the fog had rolled in and it was drizzling outside.  We decided to get lunch at the local fish and chips restaurant.  The fish and chips were good with big chunks of fish and light breading.  After lunch the fog started lifting and we went to the lighthouse and walked around a little.  We left the lighthouse and tried to find a tunnel that you are suppose to be able to walk through to get down to the rocky beach, we never found the tunnel and ended up on some pretty interesting roads, not to mention most all the roads were not marked and were more ATV trails than roads.  Lets just say it is a beautiful island and was fun to check out, but it is not the most tourist friendly or easiest to get around on. 

I am still amazed at how clear the water is here! 

Looking back at Bell Island (pop. 2500) from the ferry

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