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Unveiling the Fabulous Fishing Stages of Fogo Island, Newfoundland: Like a local!

Updated: Jun 17

The beauty and the fascination of stages, wharfs and old fishing stores are a photographers dream here in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador!! Full of history and traditions these were the first gathering places of rural NL. Men gathered to get ready for the day and board their boats. They gathered at the end of the long day to fillet the fish and repair their nets! On my recent excursion to Fogo Island I wondered what stories these old walls would say if they could talk!!… I am sure they were the towns society social hot spots! I love it!!

most photographed stage on logo island
The most photographed stage on the island

Fishingstages of Fogo Island
The Red Stages of Fogo Island

Red stages
Red Stages

Absolutely captivated by the beauty of these structures, I devised a plan to embark on an island adventure on a foggy day to capture some stunning photos! Accompanied by my local tour guide and friend Angie, we explored the renowned, oldest, and most visited sites. I ended up snapping over a hundred photos as we wandered around, and the experience was truly amazing! Now, I have countless questions to ask! Lol...

Nestled off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada, lies the ruggedly beautiful Fogo Island, a place rich in history and culture. The island's roots date back to the 18th century when European settlers arrived, drawn by the abundant fishing grounds surrounding the island. The fishery has been a cornerstone of the island's economy for centuries, with cod fishing playing a significant role in shaping the community and way of life on Fogo Island.

Fogo Island is home to several vibrant communities, 11 to be exact, each with its own unique charm and character. Some of the notable communities on the island include Joe Batt's Arm, Seldom, Tilting, and Fogo, the largest community and administrative center of the island. These communities are steeped in tradition and have a strong sense of community spirit that is evident in their close-knit relationships and shared history.

In addition to its picturesque landscapes and quaint villages, Fogo Island boasts a rich cultural heritage that is preserved in its museums and points of interest. Visitors to the island can explore attractions such as the Fogo Island Inn, a striking architectural gem that offers luxury accommodations and stunning views of the North Atlantic. The Fogo Island website also plays a vital role in promoting the island's cultural heritage and has so much info about the island so make sure you check it out. For those interested in the island's history, the Fogo Island Museums offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, showcasing artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of this unique and resilient community.

the white dots guided the fisherman
Guided by the white dot!

A fascinating detail about the doors of the fishing stages

These vibrant red fishing stages flaunt two quirky door decorations. A white dot would sparkle and guide the fisherman through the waters to the stage entrance, while a lucky horseshoe provided the fishermen with a good luck charm for a prosperous season with a plentiful catch.

Horse shoe on the door for good luck
Lucky Horse Shoe

I stumbled upon the fanciest gem on the island, and let me tell you, it's a real heart-stealer! The owner, with pure magic, transformed a rundown space from doom to bloom! By upcycling old fishing gear and doors, he crafted a table and a snazzy wood storage unit. Talk about stunning! This place, once his dad's, is now a personal paradise for his clan, not for rent, just for pure joy! It's a breathtaking spot to soak in the sunset, chill by the cozy fire, and simply be amazed! The soul purpose of fishing stages has somewhat evolved over the years however one thing remains the same. These traditional and intriguing structures found in so many rural communities in Newfoundland Labrador still anchor those communities and serve as the modern day gathering places! I totally fell in love with this fancy stage! The detail was extraordinary in this little cozy shanty by the sea. The owner salvaged some of the weathered boards from the door to make a table, the rocking chair was a family heirloom and the old wood stove created the most perfect ambiance. The view of Joe Batts Arm is simply stunning and to watch the waves would be a perfect way to spend the day!

The fancy stage in Joe Batts Arm
Fancy stage in Joe Batts Arm

The fancy stage in how batts arm
The coziest bed in the stage!

The fire in the stage in Joe Batts Arm
The cozy fire In the stage

The most wonderful part of Fogo Island is the Hospitality

What truly sets Fogo Island apart is the genuine warmth and kindness of its people. Whether sharing stories over a hearty meal at a local diner or receiving a heartfelt welcome from strangers on the street, I was constantly reminded of the inherent generosity that defines the fabric of island life. In Fogo Island, hospitality isn't just a gesture—it's a way of life.

Here on some tips on how to get there and what to expect while you are on the Island:

To reach Fogo Island from the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) in Newfoundland, follow these steps:

  • Depending on your location on the TCH, take exit ramps to connect to local roads leading to the coastal areas.

  • One route is to exit at Gambo Loop route 331. Eventually this route will merge into route 331 and 335 too as you head to Farewell. This is a very scenic route and you will pass the ever so popular Lumsden Beach area if you access the ferry this way.

  • Another route is the Gander Bay road (Route 330 North), the route 331 and eventually to route 335 to the Community of Farewell for ferry access.

  • The ferry costs approximately $6 for a walk-on per person or around $18 for a car (one-way fare; returning is free).

  • Expect waiting lines as bookings are not accepted. Watch the weather too.

  • The island is 25 km long and 14 km wide, making it possible to drive around in a day.

  • Fogo Island has 11 communities, best explored by car, with numerous hiking trails (over 200 paths and trails).

  • Known for its colorful stages, bright houses, unique history, rugged coastline, and warm hospitality, the island is home to just over 2,000 residents.

  • While visiting the island you may encounter caribou, whales and icebergs depending on the time of year

  • Cell service is not great in all locations so be prepared for shotty service!

In conclusion, Fogo Island is more than just a destination—it's a tapestry of tradition, hospitality, and natural beauty woven together by the hands of time. Whether exploring its storied fishing stages, immersing oneself in the warmth of island hospitality, or venturing into the wild embrace of its untamed wilderness, a journey to Fogo Island is sure to leave a mark on the soul. So, pack your bags and set sail for this remote jewel of the North Atlantic—you never know what wonders await just beyond the horizon.

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