Day 15 |
Sep 21, 2010

Hopedale, Labrador, Canada

By Ha-Jo Spitzenberger, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 55° 28’ N; 060° 12’ W
Weather: Sunny 6.0° - 12.0° C

The weather had spoiled us with calm seas and magnificent moonlight during the night. Early in the morning at 06.30 am we arrived at the anchoring place nearby Hopedale. The morning brought us bright sunshine and moderate temperatures of about 6° C that increased to 12° C in the end. Today was the first day on this cruise that we saw trees! A few spruce trees, very weak but obviously trees up to 6 m are found in Hopedale.

Disembarkation started at 09.00 am. It was only a short ride with the Zodiacs to the landing site. Although there was no jetty it was a dry landing on wonderful brown, yellow and gray colored rocks. The white painted Moravian Mission Building, Church and Museum were close to the landing site but at first our way led us to the school. 108 children attend the school and have decorated all rooms with beautiful paintings. The teacher proudly told us that this year all students graduated.

After all guests had found their way to the school, a choir consisting of teachers and students sang some songs for the visitors. Afterwards the students performed gymnastics resembling the running of seals trying to escape the Polar bear. In the background local handicrafts as soapstone carvings, hand-knit caps and a delicious marmalade were offered at low prices.

When the show had ended we all walked back to the Mission where one group first visited the church and the other one went to the museum. The museum gives an overall view to the history of Hopedale, how people lived here and what was the purpose of the mission. In the church, our local guide, David, completed the information by telling stories about Hopedale.

Hopedale is not only famous for the soapstone carvings made by the locals but also for a mineral called Labradorite, which was found nearby the town. It is a very hard stone and so the local carvers don’t like it very much because it is not easy to process it. The quarry was closed within the last year but the remnants are still lying around. Those of us who took a fifteen-minute walk to the quarry had good chances to find some nice pieces of Labradorite.

At 12.30 the last Zodiac went back to the ship and the Prince Albert II set sail for our next destination: Battle Habor. The afternoon was filled with lectures about “Sea Monsters, Mermaids & Giants” by Robin Aiello and the “Building of the Prince Albert II” by Robin West.

Not Rhythm & Blues (R&B) but Recap & Briefing (R&B) brought our “infotainment” for today to an end.