From St John’s head south 30 km on Route 10 to Bay Bulls, which got its name from the French “Baie Boules,” a reference to the bull bird or dovekie, which winters in Newfoundland. The town was first fortified in 1638, when Sir David Kirke governed the colony of Newfoundland from Ferryland. Despite its fortifications, the community was captured and burned by the French on several occasions, the last in 1796.
This area was the site of a brief meeting in 1612 between colonists from Cuper’s Cove (Cupids) and a small group of Beothuk first nations, and they exchanged gifts and shared a meal. Once numerous on the Avalon Peninsula, the Beothuk have been extinct since the 1820s. In the 1850’s the first attempt to land a transatlantic telegraph cable was made at Bay Bulls Arm, but the cable broke. A second cable was later landed at Heart’s Content.
In the deep waters of Bay Bulls lies the wreck of HMS Sapphire, sunk in action against the French in 1696, and was excavated during the 1970s by the Newfoundland Marine Archaeology Society. Bay Bulls was a strategic port in the Second World War for Allied warships and merchantmen and the German submarine U-190 surrendered here during the last days of World War II.
More recently, nearby Great Mosquito Cove was chosen as the site for construction of the massive Hibernia Oil Production platform in 1990. They were made of poured reinforced concrete in the cove before begin towed to its drilling location several hundred kilometres out to sea.
Today, the communities of Bay Bulls, and nearby Witless Bay and Bauline East, are embarkation points for the tour boat to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, which encompasses three islands and the waters around them which are homes to about a millions birds, including Leach’s Storm Petrels, Murres, Razorbills, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Northern Fulmars, Black Guillemots and Black-Legged Kittiwakes, and Atlantic Puffins, the provincial bird. They, and the more than a dozen species of whales frequent the waters of Newfoundland, come here to feed on the schools of capelin fish.
While all this is going on, there might be icebergs offshore, which typically weigh hundreds of thousands of tonnes and have ice that can be thousands of years old. They break off from the leading edge of glaciers on islands in the Arctic and drift south on the Newfoundland Current, eventually melting in the warmer Gulf Stream waters southeast of Newfoundland.
Bay Bulls Sea Kayaking Tours
P.O. Box 55
Bay Bulls, Newfoundland, A0A 1C0
(709) 334-3394, fax; (709) 334-3394
Take a 3-hour excursions, 1/2-day or full-day tours in 2-seat kayaks and we cater to young and old alike.
From Apr 01 – Oct 31