How bloggers perceive date night on Fogo Island

After a great week staying at Cyril’s we had our fish caught and frozen and no clean clothes left.  It was time to go.

On our way to the ferry on Thursday morning  I got a message telling me there is a Geology Lecture on Friday night. But we’re out of clothes and the well in Island Harbour is low!

One of the many projects of the Shorefast Foundation on Fogo Island is a Geologist in Residency Program.  Each geologist is tasked with providing interpretation to the public as part of the residency. Because I live in Gander, each time there was a lecture, I was unable to attend due the requirement that I need to show up to work.

The final of three presentations by Resident Geologist Paeder McArdle.
The final of three presentations by Resident Geologist Peader McArdle.


Good thing work almost pays for the holidays in the summer. Otherwise it would really cramp my style.

I know very little about geology but am fascinated by the knowledge that sedimentary rocks settle in horizontal layers but in Newfoundland the rocks go off in all directions. If anyone wants to sponsor me for a fourth university degree, I’ll do geology, please.

Devils' Footprints, Keels, NL July 5, 2014
Devils’ Footprints, Keels, NL July 5, 2014

As we were driving to the ferry, I mentioned how I’d love to go to the talk. All softened up from a week of holidays and getting out fishing Leo said we could come back for it tomorrow night. That was easier than I thought it would be. We’d only driven from Island Harbour to Seldom.

We missed a ferry due to heavy traffic and were the fourth car left on the dock when she was full. Not sure how a new ferry mext year with same capacity is going to help the summer traffic issues. We were also happy to have a couple of hot dogs from Melissa and her girls and some cold drinks. Smart move setting up shop at the ferry.

We chatted up some tourists from Quebec and Colorado. Eventually we got across and finally got home around 6:00. Clothes in the washer, a quick meal of Chinese at the East Ocean  Restaurant and we came up with a plan of just taking a small suitcase for a planned one night stay (but back up drawers for two nights if needed). A couple more loads of laundry and it was repacked and ready.

We’ve very good at holidays.

Packed and ready and we were on the road Friday after a visit to the Bread Box for their breakfast sandwich and some fresh bread to take to Cyril. After all, we’d only left yesterday after a 7 night stay and were arriving unannounced.

Better take him a bottle of jam too.

Having picked up a case of Fogo Island maps for distribution, I spent time offering them to people in the ferry line up and told some who asked about the Inn about the talk that night. We met one couple travelling from Change Islands who were very interested and we met them at the Inn at 4:30 for the 5:00 presentation. Another couple from Quebec also joined us.

I had seen the titles of previous lectures by Peadar McArdle. The first one was about granite. The second was comparing two islands and two oceans, Newfoundland and Ireland. This was the third in his series and was called “Landscape and how writers perceive it”.

The theatre in the Fogo Island Inn is small and filled quickly to capacity and beyond. Zita Cobb and staff were pulling in (locally made) chairs and stools to accommodate the overflow. For a 5:00 Friday afternoon presentation, this alone was a sign that one more thing is working well for Shorefast Foundation. I held off on taking any pictures to avoid distracting the dedicated audience.

Mr. McArdle was the former Director of Geological Survey for the country of Ireland. With an easy style and lovely Irish lilt he explained that his lecture would be about contemporary representation of landscape features such as bog and basalt in Irish Poetry.

This was not at all what I had expected but I such a well-researched and delivered lecture.

If anyone is willing to pay my next university degree, I’d love to study geology. For that degree, I’d love to take my courses from this man and might have to do a Literature Major as I study the Irish poets he shared with us. Seamus Heaney, John Hewitt, Patrick Kavanagh, Louis Mcneice, John Montague and, of course, William Butler Yeats were featured among others. Bogland, soil, lochs and basalt were among the subjects.


Leo and I had been seated separately due to the crowd so talked about the presentation the next day. He felt it was more poetry than he had expected but we both loved it as a virtual revisit of Ireland and we easily recognized the areas presented, particularly the Giant’s Causeway and peat bogs.  We both really enjoyed the information in the talk and the handout provided by Francis, Peadar’s wife. We would gladly go again to learn more. There’s a new resident arriving soon. Geology on the Edge Facebook page


Following the geologist presentation we were invited to the Fogo Island Inn Art Gallery for a reception with artist Silke Otto-Knapp.

Rather than an artist talk, we were treated to an hour and a half of local musicians, Aiden, Maureen and Joan Foley and Katie Penton interpreting songs under the artist’s theme “A Question of Travel”.


Again, the event was open to the public and filled to standing room. Songs about being home, missing home and leaving home were much of the theme. I’m not sure if they picked them with the artist but the set list was very well thought out to relate to the theme.

Wayne Chaulk’s Salt Water Joys,

Harry Martin’s Take me to the Country, Take me to the Country.

and Frank Dwyer’s Joe Batts Arm Longliners,

were some of the selections.

I did a few short video clips but Joan’s rendition of The Dunne Family‘s Capelin Time would bring tears to your eyes.
Capelin Time

Familiar with Maureen and Aiden, this was my first time hearing Katie and she’s a force too.  Moving easily from solos, to duets and harmonizing as a group of four, this was first class entertainment and I found myself associating some of the art with songs selected. There was no choice but to connect with the music, art and people in the room. With so much Irish influence it also seemed like a lovely send off for the McArdles who had travelled so far from Dublin.

All this art and culture just about had me forget about food. Just about.

From the Inn we returned to the Flat Earth Outpost in Shoal Bay for their now famous Friday night pizza night. A quick consult from Curtis and we decided on a sausage pizza, half and half pesto and tomato sauces. Homemade sauces and a great thin crust made this seem like a city pizza.  Maybe it was the quiet time after so many new ideas to think about, but this was a great way to end our evening.


By the way, as much as I loved the geology and poetry, I was telling JR Coffin that I still am mystified by the horizontal and diagonal rock formations in Newfoundland.

We were chatting in the ferry line up on Saturday morning.

“I’d love to learn more about it.”, says I.

“You know what that is ” says he.

Before I can offer a theory of tectonic plates or volcanic influence he answers his own question.


Thanks JR. Too funny.

Back on Fogo Island the next week and ran into JR, whose wife had shown him this post. I described these rocks and told him I figured he’d have an explanation before the weekend was up.

“I can tell you now. Wind again, when it turms around.”

Someone keep me posted as to the dates of his geology residency, please. In the meantime, he must be a bit of fun in the kitchen of the Fogo Island Inn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.