A Ferry to the Middle of Nowhere
Hundreds of seabirds circle around my head as I sip on a coffee from Tim Hortons. The clouds are heavy and misty rain begins to fall. I’m about to get on the ferry that will take us to Bell Island and my dad is negotiating with the captain about whether there is enough space for our car. The ferry schedule is erratic and we fear that if we don’t get on now, we may have to wait until tomorrow.
Thankfully there is enough room, so we drive in and I climb up to the top deck.
The sea is rough and the temperature reminds me more of early spring than the middle of July. It’s damp, windy and cold. As the rocky cliffs of Bell Island become closer and mainland fades away, I’m overcome with a feeling of deep solitude. I am in the middle of nowhere.
Bell Island was once a thriving mining town filled with families. Today the mining industry is a thing of the past and the island is somewhat of a ghost town. There is one fish n’ chips restaurant, two schools, and a couple of convenience stores. If you want more than that you have to hop on the ferry. There is one way in and one way out. My grandparents chose to retire here and the only reason I can come up with as to why is because it’s their home. No matter how many years they spent in Toronto, Bell Island and Newfoundland will always be home.
After a 20 minute ferry ride and a traffic-free car ride, we reached the island and the home of my grandparents. They seem content living in the middle of nowhere. They apologized for the gloomy weather and promised that it would be better tomorrow.
True to their word, we awoke to clear skies and an abundance of sunshine. Days like this are rare I was told, so I spent the entire day outside. I went to the “beach” and stuck my toes into the icy water. I walked through wildflower fields and cautiously walked along the tops of the cliffs, peeking over the edge. I saw plenty of boats and thousands of birds, but only a handful of people.
Nothing is off limits in Bell Island; you can go anywhere you please. It is a place of nothing and everything. In the winter it is a dark, frozen void but in the summer there is something so genuine, so natural and peaceful about it. I could never live here but I’m glad I have an excuse to visit.
What do you think? Have you visited a place in the middle in “nowhere”?