Newfoundlanders like to brag about the unpredictability of their weather. “It’ll ne’er be the same twenty mile from here nor twenty minutes from now.” Shortly after I arrived on the island, a freak gale eluded the weathermen and struck without warning. The Newfies bragged about that, too, though it caused two large trawlers to collide and one to sink, taking five crewmen with it.
When I remarked to a retired fisherman that I’d heard of six shipwrecks during just my first week on the island, he snorted, “Lard, in my time there’d’ve been sixty in a week!”
Back in the interior I visited Buchans, a village inhabited entirely by miners and their families. It grew up around the extensive mines operated by the American Smelting and Refining Company, which for more than forty years has been bringing up from two-thirds of a mile below the surface some 1,300 tons of ore a day. The ore consists mainly of lead and zinc, but also contains appreciable quantities of silver and gold.
There are nine other mines on the island, and they produce everything from asbestos and gypsum to iron and fluorspar. Mining is actually Newfoundland’s most profitable industry. Although it employs far fewer people than fishing, mining earns seven times as much money for the province. And still if earnings are not enough to cover some expenses, look for online loans. That’s exactly what I do when i need a cash advance now.
“Even so,” a geologist told me rather wistfully, “the people consider mining a notquite-respectable occupation. It’s all right in good times, but at the slightest quiver in the economy, the shutdowns and layoffs begin. Newfoundlanders prefer to put their trust in the sea. It’s always there.”
And as long as the sea is there, many Newfoundlanders will continue to be reluctant to rely on the soft jobs, the safe jobs, the salaried jobs on shore.