The Sea Journey

Between dream and reality…

By dint of contemplating the sea, one day you end up taking it.

As you know, I had to cross from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia and I managed to do it by sailboat…

Wow, the dream!  A dream that I had been dreaming about for at least fifteen years.  And now the opportunity to live this mini experience (at least that’s what I thought) of sailing presents itself.

While waiting to join the sailboat of my dreams, I am well settled in McCallum on the high ground and I have a spectacular view.

My camp perched on the hill at McCallum.
The view from my camp.

McCallum is a small village accessible only by boat, to get around here well it’s on foot or 4 wheels for some.
It used to be a village of 300 people and now there are only 25 permanent residents.

Panoramic view of McCallum.

There’s not much to do, but I take the opportunity to relax, cook, read and do some hiking, watching the sea…
The cellular network is intermittent. We have arranged to meet here or in Francois (spelled without an ‘ç’ and pronounced ‘Fransway’) which is a village about 25 nautical miles away and the ferry to get me there will be in a few days.

On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, I receive a text message!…  “Julie we are almost at McCallum!… The winds were very good, we’ll be there by 5:30!

After uncorking a good bottle of wine while cooking, I jump for joy!  So I prepare a dinner for three!  I am sitting in front of the ocean, looking at the distance, because I know very well that I will see the sails very soon !
THERE THEY ARE…!!!  I see this magnificent sailboat with two fantastic humans on board and Minette, this faithful cat, they are there very close…
But an intense sound comes to disturb this moment of pure happiness!
A helicopter!?  My attention turns to this machine which is usually used in case of emergency !??  But finally they are only rich tourists who came to see this village which according to them will not exist any more soon… Bah…  I talk a bit with these people, don’t care about them and run instead to the harbour at the bottom of the hill…

The reunion is very pleasant!  I am greatly welcomed on this sailboat by a captain in whom I trust.
After a good supper, I stay in my tent at the top of the hill and fall asleep dreaming of what awaits me on the boat…

Day 1: McCallum to Richard’s Harbour.
The next day, the moment of truth has arrived, the bike is dismantled and well stored in the boat.  Before crossing over to Nova Scotia, we will ride along the south coast of Newfoundland.  There are still so many beautiful places to visit.  We motor out to Richard’s Bay, which is not far away. The sea is calm, we move without wind to the bottom of the bay.  The landscapes are breathtaking… The silence is soft.  No waves, the sea is like a mirror… Ah!  How good it will be to sleep in the dark and the silence!  The sailboat hardly moves… I am looking forward to the next day, wishing for a lot of wind to satisfy my desire for sailing… Obviously I know nothing about it, but I am excited and open to learn everything.

Day 2: Departure to Francois.
The sea becomes a bit rougher… I have a happy feeling… The sails are up and suddenly I fall asleep terribly…  I try to stay awake, but I fight… I close my eyes and let myself be carried… Luckily I am not the captain!  The waves, the wind, I sleep… I learn, when we arrive at the small village of Francois, and with my feet firmly on the ground, that falling asleep is a form of seasickness… Well… A little disappointed with my great performance, we go for a walk and a swim in a small lake… Nature is generous with these small fruits and the sea provides us with a memorable dinner that our dear captain cooks for us while we, the mermaids, are having a good time !  What a great evening we had with plenty of water!  I was very happy and wished for good wind to hoist the sails towards these so magic horizons!

Days 3 & 4: from Francois to Grey River and Ramea.
This morning I woke up enthusiastic and happy!  I feel great!  The winds are good and favourable!  We leave the bay of Francois. The sea is rough, the waves are going in all directions… I am still happy and so excited about the sea.  I watch every movement of the captain and his co-captain… I soak up all the information, I try to retain it all and then… impossible to continue listening and observing!?  I can’t concentrate anymore… My head is spinning, but not like usual, not like with my head trauma… It happens so suddenly!  I ask for a boiler!  I, who have never been ill in this way, am very surprised.  Of course I’ll spare you the details!  Five hours at sea trying to find a certain well-being… Well… it’s confirmed: I’m seasick… It’s a pity, I like this mode of transport so much… We’ll stop over in a quiet little bay.

The next day, phew… the sea is calm, very calm.  It will be a day of sailing with the motor to leave Grey River and head for Ramea Island.  I feel better, even better and we take advantage of this moment to fish and look at the foggy horizon…  How quiet it is!

We arrive at the port of Ramea Island without having left the mist.


Days 5 & 6: Crossing to Nova Scotia.
We have 130 nautical miles to go.

Ramea.  In the middle of the afternoon, the fog is still with us.
The wind is forecast to be favourable for this 24 to 30 hour crossing.
We set off, propelled by the motor of the yacht.
I’m a bit nervous… I really don’t want to be sick for all those hours… I prepared myself physically and morally.  There is this thick fog that envelops us.  It’s a good thing GPS and charts exist.  We are sailing at 5 or 6 knots.  So far my body is adapting to the sea and I’m fine.

As our captain had calculated, off the coast the fog is fading and we are starting to see some sunshine.  It looks good.  We have a peaceful dinner and before sunset the sails are hoisted, as the wind finally starts to pick up.  The wind usually eases off at sunset.  And then we are off… The boat heels a lot on its side and moving around requires a lot of balance.  The wind carries us so strongly… It’s exhilarating!  I feel a very strong emotion taking hold of me and tears are running down my cheeks… I feel an indescribable happiness.  It is out of the ordinary for the brain.  Night falls and I go to lie down.  HaHaHa!… I still managed to keep my food and move around without getting too dizzy.  All night long I want to get up to see the sea and the stars, but I can’t.
In the morning, I get out of bed!  I eat a little, enjoy the horizon, the sea, the wind before saying goodbye to this dream.
Because already at the end of the day we arrive in Port Morien in Nova Scotia!

I believe that before turning this dream into reality, it is important to get used to the sea, to tame it, to breathe it and especially to learn to sail.  I don’t despair, because I know a very good sailor who is seasick.  He always has to take a week at sea to get used to it and then it’s over.

When we arrived on land at Port Morien near Sydney, it was time to leave and my friends accompanied me and rode a good 20 km with me on their folding bikes!  This makes me very happy.

Thank you very much to you, two beautiful people, for this beautiful experience… We will meet again!  I must add that the captain took very good care of me when I was ill. THANK YOU!

Thank you too for having been patient during my crossing!
You will understand that the crossing was much quicker than expected…
Instead of the few weeks I had planned, it only took a few days, but intense days!

Arrived near Sidney in Nova Scotia, I plan to do Cape Breton Island and the famous Cabot Trail.

Right place, right time!

Arrival at the right place.  To leave again…

“The boat that is held in port does not learn to sail.”

My last few days on Newfoundland and its coasts were quite an epic!  Rejected on the mainland by the big commercial ferries, I had to find another way to leave the wonderful island to reach another one.  And that opportunity came from Friendship!  A couple of friends offered me to cross to Nova Scotia on their sailboat!  But I still had to get to their anchorage… which must be ‘Francois’, a small coastal village somewhere in the south.

My ‘peregrinations’ continued through roads, boats, other roads and other boats…  This allowed me to discover an even more beautiful Newfoundland!  A bit like when I did the North coast from Kegaska to Blanc-Sablon by boat, I discovered old small villages that are only accessible by sea, enclosed in bays, overlooked by magnificent mountains!  At times it was as beautiful as New Zealand!  Newfoundland is an island.  And discovering it by sailing is quite different from pedaling!

I leave you this photo story to better judge this very beautiful stage of my last days in Newfoundland…

Extreme East

From coast to coast…

My challenge was to cross Canada from coast to coast on my trusty bike… Well, it’s done !  But it’s not over yet !…

Here is the story (mostly in pictures) of the last weeks of peregrinations in Newfoundland.

Friday 30th July.
From Eastport to Dildo, 212 kilometres.

After a few days in Eastport Organics, I am teleported at lightning speed to the beautiful little village of Dildo thanks to the good care of my market gardener James and his pick-up truck !

Dildo.  This name comes up a lot in this region!  I discovered that it was the name of a piece of a boat…
The good thing about travelling is that it teaches us a lot about the world and opens up our horizons !

When I arrive in a new place, I always find a café-resto or the local microbrewery.  There’s no better way to reconnect with people.

Sitting at Dildo’s microbrewery, I didn’t sit alone for long…


My new friends from Dildo!

A nice gang invited me to spend the evening with them and to play cards in their ‘bed & breakfast’ Georges House B&B where the owner, Todd Warren, welcomed me kindly on his property for the night !  In the morning, he had prepared a good breakfast for me, thank you !  All thanks to these two beautiful couples…  Once again, well fed and well rested, I was able to continue my journey to St. John’s.


Saturday 31st July.
From Dildo to Brigus, 52 kilometres.

Sunday August 1st.
From Brigus to Paradise, 60 kilometres.
I am welcomed in the home of truly extraordinary and soul-nourishing people.

Monday 2nd August.
From Paradise to Quidi Vidi, 27 kilometres.
I arrive in St. John’s for a few days.
And once again, I am welcomed with great generosity by Bernadette and Maurice who show me around, offer me hikes, stories and good food !  Once again, thank you for this welcome filled with generosity and the pleasure of sharing good times !

From Newfoundland, I will remember, of course, the beauty of the landscape and the sea.  But much more: the warm humanity of the Newfoundlanders !
I had the chance and the privilege to meet joyful, generous and mature people and believe me it did me a lot of good!

Finally a fish !

While waiting for a place on the ferry that would take me to Nova Scotia, I lingered and spent a few days in St-John’s.
But bad news: no room for me on those big boats until late September !?!…  As they say: ‘I missed the boat!

In the last few months, my plans have often changed…  Once again I have to adapt and find a nice solution…  That’s good for the brain !
And you know what !?  I’ve figured out how to get there.
I just have to get there.  To get back on the road, to discover other coasts, to better leave and continue…
It is really to be followed…

Eastport Organics

I am tired.  And I’m hungry.

Lines everywhere…
Natural, manufactured, organic, like paths traced more or less ephemeral, to be left behind, to be followed to the end or not, to be cared for in order to better harvest…
Like life itineraries that one must leave, that one wishes to accomplish or that one can change…

The salty air, the breathtaking landscapes, it’s all very nice… but you have to eat too!  If I want to keep going, I need good gas in the machine !  Super grade without pesticides !

As much as water was a problem during the crossing of the Grandes Prairies, here it’s not the water that’s missing, but I have a certain difficulty to get the food that I like !

A decision is made: go along the coast by the sea OR head for the city…  Because I am hungry for fruits and vegetables, which are unfortunately not easy to find in the small villages.
So, the city wins !  Direction Gander and then Eastport…
Eastport is not really a town, but I found an organic vegetable garden in this small village: Eastport ‘Organics’ !

After more than 200 kilometres, I arrive at this farm…  Of which only one man takes care, accompanied occasionally by some people passing by.  A young German woman, Corine, is there for a few weeks to help Jason on this beautiful farm !  And I’m going to stay there too, the time to help and recharge my batteries.

If you would like to spend some time there, working in exchange for good, fresh, healthy meals and also having fun in this wonderful place, you can contact Jason at Eastport Organics and he will be happy to welcome you!  He needs a lot of help !  And this is a beautiful part of the country !

Fogo Island

Visit to an island at the end of the world… Fogo.

“I found my treasure island. I found it in my inner world, in my meetings…” – Hugo Pratt

I have a few dis-eases to confide in you…

New World Island

Sleeping on a new island.

Before bedtime, a short video.

Before continuing my journey to Fogo Island, I was attracted by ‘the New World Island’ !  How could I resist the novelty !  And I did well to make this diversions by going north, I discovered Twillingate and a park with an evocative name: the Dildo Run Provincial Park (the ‘dildo’ being a piece of boat, you knew that right?!).

Radio silence

Can you get lost on an island?
Who is on an island…

My bike, well loaded, the brakes worn out !

After my ride in the Gros Morne park, I realize when I get my bike back that I have almost no brakes left !  The only bike shop in this area, before the big city of St-John’s, is 115 km away.
Luckily, a nice cyclist I met recently on the road offered to take me there with her car and I accepted with great happiness, as I could not see myself getting stuck on the hills without brakes !

It’s always nice to meet another cyclist !
Among other things, to share the beauty of the landscapes…
… and to have a friendly break.
Thank you Sarah for the bike and car ride !

Then, the next day, radio silence in my being… !?!
On the road, all the paths are difficult and some are blocked !… So I have to make detours towards the highway and that extends my route of a good 35 kilometres.

From Corner Brook to Deer Lake, I meet many obstacles…
… and must make several detours that extend my route by highways.
After the 75km of unforeseen events, taking a break in a microbrewery and observing the people is welcome !
… before hiding behind this table to recover from the day.

The detours imposed over the last few days have forced me to remain in solidarity with myself and have brought me even more to the centre of my solitude as a road rider; even if these moments of silence are greatly appreciated, I feel more at home in the cycling event than on a Bixi ride !

136 kilometres of endless road… perfect for being in silence with myself.
In the evening, my lodging is often very different; like in this village where everything was on the gravel !
I always find a little corner for my sleep. On the other hand, the lack of variety of fruits and vegetables weighs on me because healthy food is hard to find in these remote places.
See where my country camp was actually located !

After a few days and more than 300 kilometres, I am still happy to be back in civilization with this arrival in Lewisport and this welcome in a beautiful yellow house filled with sun !

At the end of long days, a house and a welcome of dreams !

I realise as I make this stop that I have no strength left…
My body and head are tired. My tinnitus has increased and is making an incessant buzzing in my head. The light, the sounds, the smells, the wind have become unbearable.

I was offered accommodation and it was greatly appreciated!
I will be able to rest here, on the sofa in the entrance.

A sofa will change my tent.

Then a neighbour comes to welcome me, I try with all my being to wake up, it is not easy. I don’t want to show my exhaustion, I still want to get to know these people who are rich in history and full of goodness !
Let’s go for a little evening in the port with these lovely people !  Sailing is the main subject !

The marina of Lewisport.
The Newfoundlanders are really warm people.

I had planned to take a rest day, then to go on my way…
But I linger; a wonderful woman offers me supper, offers me her car to go grocery shopping, and shares her story and her husband’s incredible story with me !
I am so surrounded and absorbed by these people that I don’t realise my energy is waning as it demands so much of my attention.
In between these meetings, the need for silence is becoming more and more apparent…
And finally I will need four days spent inside myself and away from the outside world, resting here on the sofa in the hall. How lucky I am to be able to take a break from my nomadic journey! How good the people are to me !

The call of the road, always…

Every evening my luggage and my bike are ready to go, but in the morning when I wake up it’s impossible to leave. Have I gone too far ?   Have I pushed my body beyond its limit ?   Will I finally be ready to ride again tomorrow morning ?   I want to so much… No choice, tonight again to rest my head and let go of this questioning…  If this journey is to end, then I will have accomplished a major challenge and learned to recognize my limits more.  Good night Julie…

My faithful mount, which carries me, activated by the Heart…
… which, by dint of the Beauty and Goodness I have encountered, transforms and beautifies me !

But you know. I’m back on the road, of course !
It seems that my legs are stronger than my head !
But the solitude of the journey has been joined by an air of simplicity…
Pedalling would be enough for me.
Even if deep down, in order to share better, I would embark you all on a one kilometre long tandem-totem pushed or braked by the winds of this Great Country…  Just to hear your breaths in the effort and your cries of joy on the way down !

My trip is not over yet.  Newfoundland is made up of countless islands around an island and attractive peninsulas overlooking an infinite sea…
Next step, Fogo Island and its mythical hotel…

Thank you for continuing to follow me, to read me, to motivate me.

Gros-Morne Hike

Hiking in Gros Morne National Park.

A bit of hiking, it’s a change from the pedal !

Shortly after my arrival on the island, on a beautiful day, I had the opportunity to hike the Gros Morne National Park.

I love the mountains as much as the road and this place was a longstanding wish because of its reputation. As they say, it’s a ‘must’!
And if you go to Newfoundland, and especially if you arrive by boat from Blanc-Sablon, for sure, Gros-Morne is waiting for you!

It is an exceptional place because of its landscapes, its geology, its telluric energy! I hope you will meet him, he is like a giant of the Earth and the Sea.

A New Found Land

Here I am at last ! Newfoundland !  The New Promised Land !
Since 2019, I have been dreaming of coming back…

Arrival on the island.

I arrived on a rainy Friday night; I put my tent in a small park in the port of my arrival, the village of Sainte-Barbe, the north-western gateway to the Newfoundland peninsula.  And I fell asleep with the sound of the waves and the whales’ blowing… Wow ! Finally a new sea !

A very ‘marine’ weather!

Saturday morning, it rains non-stop, but I get on my bike, too excited to discover this new road. I’ve been riding for two hours and I haven’t seen anyone, not a vehicle, nothing…

Few roads cross the peninsula.
The road of the Vikings, those discoverers before history.
Almost deserted road, omnipresent sea air.

I ask myself: am I the last human on earth ?
What a strange sensation, this mixture of solitude and freedom…
And this coastline, so different from the North Shore and even more so from the west coast of British Columbia! Only the road, the horizon of the sea, a little vegetation, no big forest.

Typical maritime landscape.

I end up arriving at a mini village. The inhabitants welcome me with open hearts. A lone woman on a bicycle arouses a lot of interest. Sitting quietly at the local convenience store to dry off a bit, a good man buys me a hot dog !

Civilization on the horizon !

The rain has finally stopped and after 160km on my bike, I arrive at Arches Provincial Park. A beautiful sunset awaits me there, it’s fabulous ! I set up my solo tent and quickly fell asleep. My first day was a blast !

The Arches Provincial Park.
… like a little rock with a hole in it!

Next destination: Rocky Arbour, located in the heart of Gros Morne National Park.  The road between this park and Rocky Harbour is smooth. The smell of the sea, of flowers after the rain and of conifers intoxicates me. I feel an intense joy to be on this impressive island !

In the distance the Gros Morne… not so dull !

As I am so close to the Gros Morne Park, I take the opportunity to go for a hike that is popular with many hikers.

Waiting to participate in the interview with Pépito Live Costa Rica, I ended up at the ‘Out East Adventure Center’ youth hostel where for 20$ I could pitch my tent and enjoy the nice facilities.

This corner of the country, despite its sometimes undeveloped, bare and wild appearance, is full of natural and human resources !