Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saint Pierre, part une

I have quite a few photos to bore you with present to you about Saint Pierre, so I'll break this into three segments.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I spent three days on the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon just off the coast of the Burin Peninsula here in Newfoundland. It's a little known location to most of the population of North America. I only learned of the 'overseas collectivity' just four years ago when we moved here. Most school age children in Newfoundland are familiar with Saint Pierre as they often run school trips there as part of French language programs.

The archipelago has a population of about 6200 people, about 5500 of whom live on the smaller island of Saint Pierre to the south. The ferry from Fortune takes about 1 hour 45 min to cross to Saint Pierre. The ferry, though, does not take cars so we left our van in a secure compound back in Fortune. I was surprised at how many of the passengers on the ferry were French citizens on their way home from visiting/shopping in Newfoundland. We were later to discover that many of the young people finish school and attend universities in Quebec as well as France.

The islands, similar to the coastal areas of Newfoundland, have a long history of disputes over the fishing grounds. Saint Pierre and Miquelon changed hands between the English and the French a number of times since its early occupation in the 16th century. The islands also have a strong Basque influence passed down through generations from the early settlers. You can read more in the Wikipedia article here about Saint Pierre and Miquelon. The article about the more populated island of Saint Pierre can be read here.

Oil rig Henry Goodrich in Marystown for a 2 month refit from White Rose Oilfield

A shot from the ferry at a neighbouring island as we neared the harbour

Sorry a bit of the zodiac tours available out of Saint Pierre

A harbour view of Saint Pierre as we approached the dock

Another view of Saint Pierre from the harbour

Yet another shot of town from the harbour...bored yet?

Another ferry in the harbour. For tours, I believe

School age kids getting sailing lessons on a foggy morning

A sailboat leaving the foggy harbour

Lighthouse to the east of the town

Fishermen's huts near the lighthouse

Place handle into vertical spindle to crank boat in from water


Ok, I'm sure that you've seen enough now. Take a break before I drop in another cassette and continue the slide show in Part Deux. This will have a few street scenes and the museum that houses the infamous guillotine. For those that want more information about tourism in Saint Pierre, they have a pretty good web page with information on hotels, B & B's, transportation, maps and tours available about town and to the islands of Miquelon and Langlade. Click here.


Elspeth Antonelli said...

These are fascinating, Alan. I knew of these islands, but I've never seen pictures. Since they're part of France, did you need passports? What is their relationship with Newfoundland? By this I mean how much communication is there? Do people often pop back and forth?

Satisfy the curiosity of a west-coaster. Please. Or...since it's more appropriate, s'il vous plait.


K.C. Shaw said...

I'd never heard of those islands (not surprising, though--the way Americans act, I'm surprised I've even heard of Canada). Those are fascinating pictures! I love the bright colors so many buildings and boats are painted.

Laurita said...

Very cool. The dock area looks much the same as it did back when I visited (seventh grade French class). I don't remember all the brightly coloured buildings. I wonder if that is new, or if my 13 year old self was too busy looking at the French boys to notice. All your photos are so colourful. Looking forward to part 2.

David Barber said...

Looks a great place. It looks pretty much like they get similar weather to Scotland. :-)

Look forward to part deux.

katey said...

Oh wow, what a beautiful, culturally fascinating place, Alan. It's just the kind of place my husband and I would like to spend a few weeks soaking up--and then never want to leave.


Anonymous said...

Not boring at all - reminds me of where I grew up in Alaska, only far more colorful - anxious to see your next slides. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Not boring at all. My mom has relatives (fishermen) in Newfoundland and I remember her showing us similar pictures. Love the lighthouse.

Stephen Tremp

Jeremy Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing those. Going to come back for part two.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Elspeth- No passports required (this year, but you needed one last year) for Canadian citizens. There's a lot of tourism from Newfoundland and some of their children come here for work. We also saw a number of cars in the town with St. John's dealship stickers on them. While waiting for the ferry, a fishing boat from Saint Pierre docked and they loaded a pile of groceries from a waiting van on to the ship. We did note that food in the grocery stores were reallly expensive.

KC- Just be aware that hardly any Canadians live in neither igloos or log cabins...The brightly coloured buildings is one thing that is shared between Newfoundland and Saint Pierre.

Laurita- Naughty girl, ogling the cute French boys...perhaps the colourful buildings is something they copied from town?

David- I laugh now whenever I see that wee clown face of yours (nothing personal). Yes, similar weather to Scotland. It was either rainy or foggy (or both) most of the time we were there. Those pics were taken in the short span of decent weather.

Katey- You guys will have to pop up for a visit. Certain times of year offer different things. The boat to Saint Pierre, though, only runs during the summer months (but there are flights).

DJ- Glad that you liked the photos. I wish I had taken the opportunity to visit Alaska while living on the Pacific coast.

Stephen- Thanks. This is definately the island for lighthouses of all shapes and sizes.

Jeremy- Your welcome. Come back and see part two. Part three will be interesting for the horror people...the cemetery. Bring popcorn. And peanuts.

katey said...

I just showed him the pictures--we are both convinced :D

Cathy Olliffe said...

Yes, incredibly good photos, Alan! Beautiful!
I just want to point out that I do actually live in a log cabin.
And I've been meaning to say something about David's weird little painted face. It's scaring me, bud, really....but you know, in a good way.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Alan... a very fitting and entertaining travelogue...

Natalie L. Sin said...

I love the ferry! It looks very vigorous!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

wow! lovely pics

Cate Gardner said...

Looks gorgeous. Well all except the first photo which creeped me out a little (it doesn't take much) and I could almost imaging the thing walking up to the shore to crush things.

Aaron Polson said...

I'd love to visit...maybe not in the winter, though. The bright colors on the buildings definitely break out against the fog.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Katey- Great minds think alike! There's quite a bit to do and see on this big island and smaller ones of it's coast. Especially if one is 'outdoorsy'.

Cathy- Al removes foot from mouth...OK, so you and about 5 others are the odd exception.

Ant- It's nice to do this for a change, but I wouldn't want to do it for a living!

Nat- A 'vigorous' ferry? Won't go there...

Gillian- Thanks, glad you liked them.

Cate- Your horror mind always seems to be working. Did I tell you about the zombies that came out of those colourful little buildings by the water...went swimming, they did, in their 'pinstriped swim costumes' ;)

Aaron- Sightseeing options are limited in the winter...I shall reserve the guestroom...