The Southwest Coast By Boat –
Part 2

A ferry sails between Burgeo, Ramea, and Grey River every day. A separate coastal boat (no autos) operates between Burgeo, Grey River, and Francois, and every Thursday it continues east to McCallum and Hermitage. When travelling by coastal boat or ferry it's always a good idea to plan everything in advance. Schedules can vary.

Enjoy an 80-minute ferry ride

Ramea, an island community, is 20 kilometres southeast of Burgeo, and the crossing time is about 80 minutes. About 620 people live here.

The name “Ramea” is believed to come 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 late 19th century. Shipbuilding and outfitting were major industries here, and the local trading company did business in Europe, the West Indies and South America.

Grey River

Grey River is a community of about 175 people, backed by hills that rise to 1,000 feet (305 metres). A spectacular narrow passage leads to a sheltered basin. Grey River was originally called Little River, but when measles broke out here in the early 1900s, the people wired St. John's for medicine that was accidentally dispatched to another community (also called Little River) on the northeast coast. Many people died as a result of the mix-up, so after that disaster the name was changed to Grey River.

Next along the coast is François

Fewer than 150 people live here in Françoise, 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 have sustained the community over the years.

McCallum to Gaultois and Hermitage

McCallum has a population of 380. Nearby islands provide its harbour with good shelter and in summer a coastal boat sails from McCallum to Gaultois and Hermitage every day.

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 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.

Gaultois, with a population of 265, is located on a large island in Hermitage Bay. It 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.