Excert from the History of Newfoundland From the English, Colonial, and Foreign Records by D. W. Prowse, Q.C.
Professor Hind states that there are extensive banks lying off the shore all along this northern part of Labrador. Captain Blandford believes, from the number of stranded icebergs seen on his voyage of discovery, that these banks are at least thirty miles off from the archi¬pelago of islands that fringe the coast north from the Bull Dog Islands to Cape Chidley. This portion of the coast has never been properly surveyed, and when fully laid down in a chart, Capain Blandford believes the islands and fiords will be found very differently situated from the pre¬sent vague idea of coast line. It is calculated that the codfishing grounds on this vast Northern Labrador are equal in extent to the whole area of our Island's coast fishery ; to a large extent it is a terra incognita, but from the information already obtained it would appear to afford in the future an almost indefinite extension of our fishery.
I am indebted to Captain the Hon. Samuel Blandford for a very interesting account of his exploring trip to Cape Chidley in 1893. He started from Blanc Sablon on the 1st of August, in the S.S. Nimrod, with a crew of forty-five men, ten trap boats, five traps, and four cod seines; on the 6th August he arrived at Nachvak Bay. This bay he describes as a long inlet, about a mile wide, and fifteen miles deep, the land on both sides being precipitous, ris;ng to the height of about three thousand feet; it is indented with coves, some of which have a strand at its head it divides into two arms; into the north-west branch a large brook pours its waters the land is. Dower here than in any other part of Nachvak ; there is a large trout fishery at the mouth of the brook. Captain Blandford describes the bay as resembling one of the romantic fiords of Norway, with deep water and towering cliffs. An enterprising Newfoundlander, Captain Downer, master of the schooner Laddie, belonging to Mr. Scott, of Pogo, has frequented this remote spot for the past ten years. There is a Hudson's Bay post at Nachvak. Fish struck in, and in three days Captain Blandford secured three hundred quintals; five other Newfoundland schooners came in whilst the Nimrod, was at Nachvak. On the 17th of August, in the evening, he arrived off the Kickkertaksoak Islands, south of the bill of Cape Chidley. Here the current runs at the rate of six knots; the steamer was headed to the south-west, and about seven miles from Cape Chidley the Captain found a beautiful land-locked port which he named "Blandford Harbour"; moving on again, he found another commodious port about half a mile inside of Kickkertaksoak Islands, which he named after Sir T. N. O'Brien. There were plenty of codfish here, but the terrible race of the tide and the danger to his traps from floating ice induced him to move further towards the Cape; south of Cape Chidley he found a harbour which, in compliment to his owners, he named "Lady Job Harbour." Captain Blandford describes this northern haven as a beautiful land-locked port; there was just room for the S.S. Nimrod to swing. "For the month I was there," he says, "we could only see the sun at three o'clock, when it then crossed a notch in the hills which are about three thousand feet high, with absolutely perpendicular cliffs rising sheer out of the water; so high was the" surrounding land, and so completely was the little port sheltered from the breezes, that we could never tell in the harbour how the wind was "blowing." Inside the Openigevik Islands lies a narrow channel leading into Hudson's Straits; nowhere is it more than a mile and a half wide, and the tide rushes through this narrow passage at a fearful rate; the master of the Hudson Bay Company's steamer Eric has been offered a large sum to navigate this channel, as it would considerably shorten the passage to Hudson's Straits, but as the vessel would not steer, he did not dare to run the risk. I have a very strong idea that the intrepid Blandford with his bold Newfoundland crew will somehow get through this strait and solve the problem of its difficult navigation. The captain believes that there is good cod fishing around both the Button Islands and Resolution Island in Hudson's Straits'; he intends to fully investigate all the extensive fishing grounds in this high northern latitude.