We woke up, had breakfast, filled the Rav with gas and headed out to see what adventure the day would bring. It was a beautiful sunny day in an amazing part of the Province of Newfoundland / Labrador and we were ready to take in the sights.
We first wandered out to a point we had noted earlier, and wanted to see in proper, clear daylight. A tourbus arrived shortly after us and disgorged its contents all over the road, but I tried to ignore that as much as possible. I noticed something out near the horizon in the water. I reached back into the Rav and got the binoculars for confirmation. Whales. I could see whales cresting far out in the harbour, and they were blowing spray high up into the air, refracting the sunlight at times into rainbows.
When we finished here, we went out in search of a former U.S. Air Force radar station located, as is typical, on the highest point in the area. St. Anthony's AFS was almost too overgrown to see, but some of the concrete foundations still stood out through the vegetation.
The radar station became operational in 1953, ready to guide interceptors to unknown targets from the large Air Force base at Goose Bay. It began with equipment such as FPS-3C, FPS-502, FPS-20A, and TPS-502. In 1963, the site was integrated into the SAGE network. It closed in 1968 and has been dismantled leaving little but concrete foundations to tell of its presence.
Initially, I sat on the high foundation of a former radar tower, just admiring the stunning view. Although little remains of the station itself, I still considered it a worthwhile stop. The US military presence in Newfoundland and Labrador, prior to the latter becoming part of Confederation, was an important part of the defense of North America. The men and women who served here on “foreign soil” were far from home in a sometimes hostile climate, just doing their jobs. The deserve not to be forgotten as nature reclaims the physical signs of their presence.