Sailing from Bonne Bay to Francois

Arriving at François aboard Akademik Ioffe

Sailing from Bonne Bay towards François our course took us through the Ramea island Archipelago a group of rocks the largest of which, supports a community of some 700 odd souls. Steaming south and east at 14 knots, two hours later we anchored off the community of Francois (pronouced Frans-way)

The 80 people who live here are steeped in the tradition of the sea and get very few visitors given their isolation.

The only way in is by air using helicopters or by sea.

The township was settled in the late 1700s, primarily as a fishing community. Small boat fishermen harvested a variety of species during the summer fishing season.

Francois’s rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory at nearby Chaleur Bay in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a lobster canning industry, which operated from 1870 to 1900.

Although no lobster factory exists today, the lobster fishery remains constant and lucrative. Local fishermen still harvest a variety of other species as well and sell their catch to outside interests.

Panorama of François from the Lookout

Francois has a deep and well-protected harbour accessed through a narrow opening that leads into the steep-walled rocky fjord that provides a perfect anchorage for a visiting superyacht. The waterway is naturally navigable year-round and features a helipad, which provides landing space for such aircraft.

Francois is what locals hereabouts call an outport and while it continues to operate as such the adjacent outports of Parson’s (New) Harbour and Rencontre West now lay as abandoned ruins that are well worth a visit.

We are grateful to Destination Canada, Air Canada and ship operators One Ocean Expeditions for kindly hosting us on this trip