McCallum, Newfoundland

A small and very beautiful fishing settlement, population around 70 in 2015, nestling at the head of Bonne Bay and only accessible by sea or helicopter.

Local fishing boats use the southern entrance to Bonne Bay, but even on a calm day the breakers surrounding this narrow and rock strewn passage were enough to dissuade us from trying to enter by this route, instead taking the longer but safer route in to the north of Taylor Island.

Moor alongside the floating pontoon abutting the public wharf in over 10m of water. The wharf just to the north east of the floating pontoon and below the oil tanks, is roughly fendered with tyres and is used by the local ferry to Hermitage which can call up to several times a day. Although well protected from the ocean swells, in a north easterly the wind funnels through a gap in the opposite hills making lying alongside the pontoon uncomfortable in these conditions. Perhaps not surprisingly given the proximity of Mosquito Island and Mosquito Harbour just half a mile away, the mosquitoes here on a warm summer evening were the worst we have yet encountered in Newfoundland.

There are no road or vehicles in the settlement, only traditional wooden boardwalks winding their way around the cove and up the surrounding hillside. To take a walk around these boardwalks is to take  a walk back in time, and the views from the high points are stunning. There is a small shop next to the public wharf selling basics and it may be possible to arrange fuel with the harbourmaster, but fuel supplies are primarily for the use of locals.

Like the other remaining settlements without road access on the south coast of Newfoundland, the future of McCallum is in question. The government have a resettlement programme in place, but unlike earlier  programmes in the 60s, this one is not compulsory and a majority of the remaining population must vote for resettlement before the financial relocation benefits are payable. Although on the one hand the voluntary nature of the programme is admirably liberal, on the other hand it is also apparently proving divisive, with opinions divided, even within individual families, as to whether to vote for resettlement. 

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