Given its design and handling, they’ve been called the “race cars” of the 16th century, and have been such an essential part to the history of Basque sailors that their silhouette made up part of the coat of arms of many Basque towns in the 13th and 14th centuries.
With them, first the Basques, who created them, and then many others, whaled and fished all over the Atlantic. In txalupas, Basque whalers captured cetaceans as well as codfish on the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador.
In that part of the world, on the other side of the Atlantic, the memory of those intrepid Basques is being recovered, thanks in large part to the world of Selma Huxley and the discovery of the shipwreck of the San Juan in the waters of Red Bay. It’s even reached the point that the Red Bay Whaling Station has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Thanks to a forum dedicated to wooden ships, we’ve discovered how there are replicas of those txalupas in northern Newfoundland, built as an homage to those Basques who came before. One of them, named Hendaia, is located in the town of La Scie, and was built by local enthusiasts with the help of retired Basque fishermen from the Northern Basque Country.
We’ll leave you with the link to the forum with the photos, and the Google Street View image of its exact location.
Woodenboat – 9/7/2015 – USA
A Basque Whaler in Newfoundland
In a the small town of La Scie (The Saw, named by the Basque Fishermen who settled it because the mountains resembled the teeth of a saw) is a replica of a Basque Whaler.