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A barachois is a term used in Atlantic Canada, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Réunion and Mauritius Island to describe a coastal lagoon partially or totally separated from the ocean by a sand or shingle bar. Salt water may enter the barachois during high tide.

The bar often is formed as a result of sediment deposited in the delta region of a river or - as is the case in Miquelon - by a tombolo.

The term comes from a Basque word, “barratxoa”, meaning “little bar”. The popular derivation from the French “barre à choir” is without historical merit.

In Newfoundland English, the word has become written and pronounced as barrasway.

The term is also used to describe the coves in the lagoon of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.


Dark Harbour, New Brunswick.