We had quite a bit of time to kill in Cartwright since the ferry wouldn’t leave until the afternoon, but fortunately there was stuff to do. For instance, there’s a crafty shop there called Mealy Mountain Gallery, where I was able to purchase a “Free Labrador” t-shirt, (but not in the colour I wanted because they were out of my size in that colour, so I bought a red one). It had the sprig from the Labrador flag on it. Even though Newfoundland and Labrador are technically one province, they each have their own flag. Labrador’s flag has a white stripe, a green stripe, and a blue stripe, and a sprig of spruce on it. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the symbolism of this flag:
The top white bar represents the snow which colours the culture and lifestyle of Labradorians like no other element. The bottom blue bar represents the waters of Labrador which serve as the highway and sustainer of the people of Labrador. The centre green bar represents the nurturing land. It is thinner than the other two, as the northern climes of Labrador have short summers.
The twig is in two year-growths to represent the past and future of Labrador. The shorter growth of the inner twigs represents the hardships of the past, while the outer twigs are longer as a representation of the hope Labradorians have for the future. The three branches represent the three founding nations of Labrador; the Innu, the Inuit, and the white settler. The three branches emerging from a single stalk represents the unity of the distinct peoples in the brotherhood of mankind.”
Labradorians are very proud and so this flag really means a lot to them, at least the ones we discussed it with.
The lady that ran the shop also gave me an explanation about inuksuit that I hadn’t known, which is if you look through the hole it shows you where the inukshuk builder had left a cache of food or equipment. She also told us there was currently a bus motel in the area, which is a giant 3 story tour bus that has bunks that the tourists actually sleep on, so they are living on the bus! This one was reportedly full of Germans, but we never saw it. I wish we did because I imagine seeing a 3 story tour bus roaming around Labrador would be a surreal experience—even just hearing about it is quite odd.
We went into a food store where I purchased some Lay’s “Fries and Gravy” flavoured chips, which struck me as sort of redundant. Fry flavoured chips? WTF? And I guess the “gravy” might be a similar flavour to “steak” flavour—-I don’t know. Anyway, I had never seen such a thing so I bought 2 and we ate 1, and the other I kept to add to my Food Museum which I had at home.
Then we went to the top of Flagstaff Hill, which had a path lined with rocks painted with the elements of the Flag of Labrador. I enjoyed trying to identify the berries and plants along the path, using my little booklet I had bought in l’Anse au Claire. I ate a “blackberry”, which didn’t look anything like a west coast blackberry, and it didn’t really taste like anything. At the top of Flagstaff Hill was a gazebo and some old cannons. From there you can see a little bit of the Porcupine Strand, which is a super dooper long strand of sandy beach that the Vikings called the “Wonderstrand”, (although maybe they pronounced it “Vunderstrand”), and is a popular destination for it’s beauty and fishing.
After a while we returned to wait for the boat. There is no ferry terminal parking in Cartwright, just a parking lot where everyone who’s taking the boat converges. Earlier it had only one guy with Arizona plates who had a crazy Westfalia that he had put giant truck wheels on (I guess he was on his way to go hunting or something), but now it was filled with all sorts of vehicles and people listlessly waiting, waiting, waiting to board the ferry. One kid had been driven by boredom to get onto a rock in the harbour. We took this time to write a few cards, and I popped by the post office on the lot and mailed them. I thought people would enjoy getting mail with a Labrador postmark. At last there came a speaker announcement saying we could all drive down the street and board the ferry, and from there the boredom morphed into slow motion chaos.