Local News

A Geosite Day on the Bay
12-10-2015

On the beautiful fall day of October 4, IATNL executive members Paul Wylezol and Kevin Noseworthy joined True North Charters and Tours' Tony and Joan Oxford on a scenic excursion around North Arm and the outer Bay of Islands. The goal was to identify significant geosites for Cabox Aspiring Geopark, which will extend from the Lewis Hills to Gros Morne National Park.

(L-R) Kevin Noseworthy, Joan Oxford and Tony Oxford at the base of North Arm Hill

The day began on the beach and adjacent wharf at Cox's Cove

Coxs CoveDories in the morning at Cox's Cove (click to enlarge)

before passing Middle and North Arm Points

on the way to Little McIvers. The fishing outport is one of a number of small seasonal communities where inshore fishermen from Humber and Middle Arms set up operations for the summer.

Little McIvers on the south side of North Arm near North Arm Point

Just across the arm looms North Arm Massif, the only one of four Bay of Islands Ophiolites which rises directly out of the ocean.

North Arm HillNorth Arm Hill (click to enlarge)

The Ophiolites are composed of high structural slices of Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician rocks, and extend from the Lewis Hills in the south to Table Mountain (i.e., the Tablelands) in the north.

Humber Arm AllochthonBay of Islands Ophiolite Complex (click to enlarge)

The North Arm Ophiolite is bisected by Stone Brook, one of the few distinct geographical features named by James Cook on his 1768 Chart of the West Coast of Newfoundland.

Just to the west is Back Cove, location of the IATNL North Arm Traverse base camp.

Back CoveIATNL Back Cove base camp (click to enlarge)

The cove has been fished by a family of Parks from Cox's Cove for over 100 years. They moved further into North Arm from nearby Liverpool Brook, a small river known for its seasonal run of sea trout.

Unlike North Arm Hill, the mountains around lower Liverpool Brook are part of the Blow Me Down Brook Formation, just east and west of the Blow Me Down Ophiolite on the south side of the Bay of Islands.

A little further to the west, the landscape changes to the Middle Ordovician Crabb Brook Group, a mix of pebble to boulder breccia, red, green and gray shale, and calcareous sandstone and siltstone.

The pebble beach extends approximately 5kms (3 miles) and connects the seasonal outports of Crabbs Beach and Lower Crabbs Brook.

View of Crabbs Beach fishing outport, where Joan Oxford spent time as a child

Lower Crabbs is one of the most remote outports in the Bay of Islands, at the northwest corner of the bay as it rounds rugged Crabb Point with its basalt pillows and volcanic breccia.

Crabbs PointlCrabbs Point (click to enlarge)

The most remote outports are on Tweed and Pearl (Big) Islands, large chunks of the Little Port Complex set adrift in the windy outer bay.

Seasonal outport on the northeastern end of Pearl (Big) Island

Pearl Island provides a spectacular vantage point to view the Gregory Mountains, composed largely of gabbro from the earth's oceanic crust.

View of the Gregory Mountains from Pearl (Big) Island

To the south, Tweed Island has a lovely but unexpected sandy beach

with a snug little outport tucked away behind headland and islet.

Tweed Island outport, with Guernsey Island (Weeboll) in background

The return trip to Cox's Cove provided a terrific view of Pearl, Tweed and Guernsey Islands

(L-R) Guernsey, Tweed and Pearl (Big) Islands

and a local seiner searching the bay for large schools of fish.

Paul and Kevin were holding down the arse end (i.e., stern)

while Tony and Joan were up front steering for home!

The last stop before port was Green Island (aka Eagle Island), a small low island with a colorful mix of red sandstone and gray shale topped with lush green grass

almost as colorful as the orange and green Bay of Islands dories lined up safely on their slips!

Many thanks to True North Charters and Tours for the Geosite Day on the Bay and their support of Cabox Aspiring Geopark. Though it's a little late for 2015, to plan next year's Bay of Islands tour, go to True North Charters and Tours website.