Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog




Model of the premises as they looked in the 1800's.

Ryan home.

Building on Ryan premises.

Front of home.

Platforms used to dry the salted cod are called flakes.

Another view of the Ryan home. We toured the inside also.


It must have been a very hard life in the early days.


These four guys entertained for about a half hour playing great traditional...

A couple views of the harbor from the Ryan Premises.


(Ron Writing) We continued our travel on the Bonavista Peninsula heading east on Hwy 235. The huge Bonavista Bay is directly to the north but there are many smaller bays and coves at the edge of Bonavista Bay. This area is one of the most scenic and earliest settled parts of Newfoundland, and indeed of North America. Europeans have been coming here for centuries to fish on the “banks” which were so very rich in cod, seals, and whales. In those days the cod were so thick you could just dip a basket in the water and it would come up full of fish. The largest cod were 6’ long and they were harvested by the thousands of tons each year. As the fishing industry began using very large boats and more sophisticated techniques the cod population, once thought to be inexhaustible, became depleted. Sounds almost like the story of the bison on the Great Plains. In the early 90’s Canada stopped or severely restricted commercial fishing for cod within its 200 mile territorial waters. That threw the fishing industry into a depression and it has never been the same since.

We drove the short distance to the town of Bonavista and spent the remainder of the day here. At the coast just north of here is where John Cabot “discovered” “New Founde Lande” in 1497. For many years people only came to this area from Europe seasonally for the fishing. Much later in the 1600’s permanent settlements began with Bonavista being one of the first. The town is laid out much like some very old cities in Europe with narrow winding streets and buildings right at the edge of the street. There isn’t a straight street in town – they just wind around and between buildings.

We spent much of the day touring the very interesting Ryan Premises National Historic Site. There are 5 very well preserved buildings on the site which date back to the mid 1800’s when the Ryan family established a very prosperous saltfish business that continued in the same family for over 100 years. It’s now operated by the national government as a historic site. This is a real “gem” with very good and educational displays. They cover the history of the area and all aspects of the cod, seal, and whaling business. We gained a much greater appreciation of history of this province and the evolution of the fishing industry here.

Just down the street from the Ryan Premises is a snow crab processing plant. We stopped there and purchased another 2# of frozen snow crab in the shell for $4.62 US per pound. It’s a little odd here in Canada – half the time they sell things by the kilo and other times it's sold by the pound; some things by the liter and sometimes by the gallon. Propane is sold by the pound. The road signs are all in kilometers and kilometers/hour but many people use the term "miles" in conversation. We often see fruit and vegetables priced in $/pound but the scales in the stores are all designed to only measure kilograms. It can be confusing.

Later this afternoon we found the library so we could get on the internet. After that we stopped at a grocery store for a few items. I saw an Irving Station (very large chain of filling stations in this part of Canada) across the street that sold propane. We went over to fill our empty tank and I noticed the nice large level lot in back of the station. I asked the attendant for permission if we could park there overnight and she said it was fine. This is our "first" stay overnight at an Irving Station.

The weather was very nice today. It was cloudy first this morning but sunny during most of the mid day before clouding-up again late this afternoon. The temperature was in the mid 70’s again with a nice breeze.

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