Tiny Towns, Towering Cliffs
In summer the coastal boat sails from Burgeo to Grey River and Francois five days a week. On Thursday it sails from Burgeo to Francois, McCallum and Hermitage-Sandyville. A separate ferry sails between Burgeo, Ramea and Grey River every day.
Ramea, an island community, is 20 km southeast of Burgeo, and the crossing time is about 80 minutes. More than a thousand people live here. The community's name is believed to be derived from the French word for branches and refers to the island's many streams. Ramea was known to early sailors and was an early fishing station. American fishermen held rights here, and in other places along the Newfoundland coast, in the early 19th century. Ship building and outfitting were major industries here, and the local trading company did business in Europe, the West Indies and South America.
Grey River, a community of just more than 200 people, is backed by hills that rise to 1,000 feet (305 metres.) A spectacular narrow passage leads to a sheltered basin. This community was originally called Little River, and when measles broke out here in the early 1900s, the people wired St. John's for medicine. It was dispatched, but was sent to another community called Little River on the northeast coast. Many people died as a result of the mix up, and after that disaster the name was changed to Grey River.
Next along the coast is Francois, which the residents pronounce `Fransway.' Just more than 200 people live here on a narrow strip of land at the head of a fjord. The town is completely hidden from the sea. The big hill behind the village is called The Friar. There are few trees and no land for farming, but the rich fishing grounds nearby sustained the community.
McCallum is the next stop. Nearby islands provide its harbour with good shelter. The French fished this area in the 1500s, but the community is named for the man who was governor of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1901. Before the Europeans came here, it's likely that aboriginal peoples fished here. Permanent settlement began after the Seven Years' War when St. Pierre was ceded to France and the English merchants there had to resettle along Newfoundland's south coast. In summer a coastal boat sails from McCallum to Gaultois and Hermitage every day.
Gaultois, pronounced ‘gaultus,’ is located on a large island in Hermitage Bay. With a population of more than 500, this is one of the larger communities along the coast. Gaultois was first settled by the French and its name is believed to be an old Norman word for pinnacles, of which there are several in the area. The area was also occupied by aboriginal inhabitants perhaps two thousand years ago or more. Like other communities along the coast, Gaultois has had a winter fishery because this section of coast is ice-free year round. There are no roads in the town.
Hermitage-Sandyville is located on the east side of a deep fjord called Hermitage Bay, and from here Route 364 connects with other roads on the Connaigre Peninsula and with Route 360 that takes travellers from the south coast north to Newfoundland’s central region