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Baccalieu Island facts for kids

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Not to be confused with Balcalhoa Island or Bacalao (phantom island).
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Baccalieu Island
Iceberg offer Baccalieu Island.jpg
Baccalieu Island as seen from Avalon Peninsula
Geography
Area 5 km2 (1.9 sq mi)
Highest elevation 137 m (449 ft)
Highest point  
Administration
Canada
Province Newfoundland and Labrador
Demographics
Population 0

Baccalieu Island or Bacalhoo Island (/ˌbækəˈl/) is a 5 km2 uninhabited island at the northern extremities of Conception Bay in Subdivision 1G, near the community of Red Head Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is separated from the island of Newfoundland by Baccalieu Tickle, a small strait and an abundant fishing ground. The island has some trees but mostly rocky.

The name Baccalieu is derived either from the Portuguese bacalhau, Spanish bacalao or the Basque baccalos, all meaning "codfish". Early Portuguese maps dating before Columbus' voyage indicate an island west of the Azores named Terra do Bacalhau which may have been the whole island of Newfoundland. Modern Baccalieu Island was known to Europeans by that name since at least 1556, when it was drawn on the Gastaldi map as "Bacalaos".

Ecological Reserve

Baccalieu Island is the largest seabird island in Newfoundland and supports the greatest diversity of breeding seabirds in eastern North America. The island supports the largest known colony of Leach's storm-petrel in the world, approximately 40% of the global population and about 70% of the western Atlantic population of this species. It is a nesting area for 11 breeding species:

The island has a surface of 5 km2, and the reserve spans 23 km2, including all of the island and one kilometre of ocean around the coast.

Lighthouses

Baccalieu Island Lighthouse
North Point
Location Baccalieu Island
Avalon Peninsula
Newfoundland and Labrador
Canada
Coordinates 48°08′59″N 52°47′54″W / 48.149849°N 52.798201°W / 48.149849; -52.798201
Year first constructed 1859 (first)
Year first lit 1990s (current)
Deactivated 1990s (first)
Construction brick tower covered by iron plates since 1893 with balcony and lantern (first)
steel skeletal tower (current)
Tower shape cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern (first)
triangular tower (current)
Markings / pattern rusty colour tower (first)
white tower (current)
Height 11 metres (36 ft) (first)
13.5 metres (44 ft) (current)
Focal height 166 metres (545 ft) (current)
Characteristic Fl W 6s.
Admiralty number H0498
CHS number CCG 472
NGA number 1736
ARLHS number CAN-647

Historically, two lighthouses were operated on Baccalieu Island; today both are automated. The lighthouse on the northern end is not operational any more; its light was extinguished in the early 1990s. This lighthouse was replaced as an aid to navigation by an automated light on a skeletal tower. It was originally a brick tower and was later encased in iron. The two storey residence attached was removed after 1950. The old tower's data:

  • Tower height: 36 feet (11 m)
  • Height of focal plane: 443 feet (135 m)
  • Description: Red, conical cast iron
  • Date established: 1859
  • Date present tower built: 1858
  • Date deactivated: 1990s
  • Current use: Unknown
  • Open to public: No

Four generations of the Ryan family "kept the light" at Baccalieu from 1858 to 1950. Other keepers at Baccalieu included Felix Noonan, Eric Blundon, John Hyde, Linus Walsh, Joseph Hatch, Pat Rice, and principal lightkeeper Raymond Hyde.

Ghost ship

In 1884 the merchant brig Resolven was founded abandoned in the waters off Baccalieu and Catalina, Newfoundland and Labrador. The fate of the crew is unknown.

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