Lillian Rumbolt , now living in the quite town of Port Hope Simpson, likes to reminisce of days gone by, fishing on the small rugged islands off the coast of Labrador. In those days, the cod fishery was the bread and butter of our offshore resources. Located beside Battle Harbour, and nestled on the opposite side of Caribou Island, the small outport of Indian Cove quietly overlooks the ocean. “This was a large community before the fishery closed. We had our own general store, a church, and even a school house. It was always such a mad panic to get our things packed and ready for the season. We had to load everything onboard a coastal ferry that traveled between every nook and cranny of the shoreline, taking families and their belongings to their summer fishing homes. Still, coming out here was like living another life. We never had much, but we had our freedom. This was not always a place of easy living, we worked hard, our family worked hard, and we struggle to break even at the end of the season; but we always came back. I cried the day the fishery closed, I was so worried about the future, wondering if we’d ever make it, most of all I was worried we would never see our small fishing home again.” It’s been
25 years since the cod moratorium, and the colourful houses that once lined the cove have been abandoned, many now have collapsed, leaving their remains and the memories they housed, to be carried away by the cold northern tide. Not all have been left to this fate; among the few that continue to come back every year are Lillian and her husband. Their tiny home is now a retreat from their busy lives in the bay, a safe haven when the wood stove is always full, and a good cup of tea is on the table.
“We couldn’t leave something we put so much work and pride into. I still enjoy carrying wood from the shed while looking over the ocean. I’m happy here, and happiness is something the moratorium could never take.”
Indian Cove, Labrador