Newfoundland is the kind of place that one can walk into the Town Manager’s office and ask to see him/her…and get an audience. And that’s just what I did based on the suggestion of my photographer friend Randy. Since I was going to be hanging around the town and the island of Fogo, I was told it would be a good idea to let the constabulary know what I was up to.
So, into the town hall I went and asked if I might meet the manager. “Why, yes. of course. One minute, he’ll be very happy to meet you. Let me tell him you’re here. Where did you say you were from?” No red tape, no bureaucracy, and no surly DMV types, just a warm, welcome. Wow.
I am then introduced to Bruce Pomeroy, the Fogo Town Manager. No pretense, frills, or trappings of office – just a Newfoundlander doing his job and part of that job was to deal with people like me. I expected a brief but friendly hi, hello, how are you. What I received was far beyond that. I got a tour of the office, a brief history of the town and island, a copy of that history and an island map, and a commemorative pin. Yet, we were not done, not by a long shot. I was then to be given a walking tour of the town by Bruce.
I was introduced to several people on our tour including the owner of a fishing fleet of which I will write soon. On this walk, by one of the coves on the island, I looked out and saw an amazing panorama. The sky was this rich and varied grey; the sea was a fluid and darker grey; and separating them was this brilliant white line. It glowed. I asked Bruce what was that. He replied that it was part of the arctic ice pack that breaks off every year and travels down to Newfoundland. Based on where it was, he thought that if the winds were right, it would surround the island by the next afternoon. That would be enough time for the few fisherman to get their boats safely to where they would not become ice-locked. Once there, the pack ice had to melt before any boats would break free.
By 2:30 that afternoon, the pack ice was already coming in and fast. The winds were so much stronger than originally thought. And with the winds came a large drop in temperature as they crossed over the ice. I was to spend the next four hours watching and photographing several fisherman attempting to get their boats free. It was incredible to see. There will be a series of photos in the book depicting this. It is a hard life.