Newfoundland

Took the ferry over this morning at 8.  It was a 1 1/2 hour crossing - very smooth - for $23.50.  Turned north and stocked up on groceries at St. Anthony.    Stopped to see a lighthouse and ran into a busload of tourists from Ontario.   When Effie got out of the van - they all wanted photos - first Newfie they had seen in Newfoundland.

Newfoundland in Newfoundland

Newfoundland in Newfoundland

Drove over to L’Anse aux Meadows - got a campsite and went to the visitors center.    It was raining hard and the busload of tourists were down at the excavation site - so we will return in the morning.  The Park Rangers were excited to hear we had a Newfie with us - said to bring her in tomorrow.   They are just redoing the visitors center.   They have real good evidence that the Vikings were here 1000 years ago - the first Europeans in the Americas.

Tues.

This private campsite filled up last nite - about 18 campers - small site - but still lots more campers than we saw in Labrador.   Boil water 5 minutes here - place is for sale - too small to make money I guess. 

Rain stopped - just fog now.

 Tues.

L’Anse aux Meadows is a pretty interesting place – hasn’t been known that long – but the Vikings were here 1000 years ago for something like 10 years. They came over via Greenland and used this as an outpost to explore further south – probably getting down into Quebec and New Brunswick where they found butternut trees and used the butternuts and the wood for making stuff.

The dwellings have the walls left – stacked peat that is very thick – the wood frames for the roofs are gone. The rectangular humps for the building walls are still visible – and the reproductions with the roofs are interesting. They have a couple of costumed interpreters that are making things in the old way.

Vikings

Vikings

 

Peat Walls

Peat Walls

 

The Vikings even made boat nails from the bog iron they processed here. It was a 3 week process. 

Blacksmith

Blacksmith

 There is a nice salmon stream running thru the area that was full of fish when they arrived. Lots of seals were used for skins, food and oil for cooking and heat. They had caribou and the occasional small whale. Berries were abundant.

 

We saw a moose during the tour – but they have only been introduced for the last 100 years or so – very abundant now. Wolves were eradicated in the 1920’s, so the moose has no natural predators. There are coyotes now – we saw one today – also saw a mamma moose and her calf.

 

We also stopped at Port au Choix – home of various people for 4500 years - from people that came across from Asia to European settlers – staying for different amounts of time. All thought this was a great place. It is home to a fishing community now – as a matter of fact they are one of the communities here that are having a “Come Home Week” We talked to one lady that came from Northern Alberta. Some big parties around.

 

Staying right on the ocean tonight in Port au Choix. The site is run by the Lions Club. 57 F, a little warmer but pretty breezy at 9pm. Sun went over the hill at 9:05. Pink sky for all 360 degrees. No wifi.

View from campsite

View from campsite

 

Sunset

Sunset

Sitting at the campsite watching people come in and park is something like sitting on a dock or at a mooring watching other people arrive, fun to watch their technique. The couple that came in near us last nite had a small trailer to back into a very open site. The wife got out and gave hand signals to the husband. I couldn’t understand them – maybe he couldn’t either. The trailer went every way but straight back in – maybe this was their first week with a trailer. She made some comment. The windows were shut and I don’t understand much French, but I imagine the husband said something like “If you are so #@$%#$^ smart, lets see you do it.” She tried it with the same results. I was tempted to film it, but decided to drive to town. When we got back, it was parked nicely.

I have seen as little as a 1” board under one side of the trailer. I wonder what they would think of sleeping on a sailboat under way that was heeled to about 20 degrees - not to mention going up and down over waves.

 

Wednesday

Heading for Gros Morne. 54F this morning – Wind about 15 knots. Effie loves it. No bug problem here – actually – none since we crossed the Belle Isle Strait – but there will probably be some when the weather allows – once we get down into the trees,

 

We already bought Parks Canada Discovery Cards. That covers admission in many parks – including the 3 we have been in so far.

 

Gros Morne is an “example of plate tectonics”. About 500 million years ago, the rocks that were on the ocean bottom were thrust up to become part of the upper Appalachian chain. There are examples of these ocean floor rocks, volcanic rocks, as well as the effects of the glaciers that came down through here. It is a large national park – people that have seen it seem to rave about it.

We drove into the big park from the north end - there is a combination of park and some private land.  There are some boats down on the water.    

Boat houses

Boat houses

 There was a fisherman that stopped fishing in 1975 and the park finally made an exhibit of his house and his shop etc.

Boat shed and shop

Boat shed and shop

You can see two inboards with small engines as well as a dory in the background

Boats

Boats

There were lobster traps inside and out.

Traps

Traps

 The park terrain was way different than north of here.

Park terrain

Park terrain

We stopped into town for some bread at a bakery and I talked to a local  guy - maybe in his late 50’s - in the parking lot.  He was very glad to see Effie - really liked Newfies.   He said he worked in northern Alberta driving trucks to make money.

Stayed in a  big private campground in the northern end of the park - had everything.  Before dark we saw some amazing clouds.     

Mammary cumulus ?

Mammary cumulus ?

 It was not over us - and went by - but there were some very strong gusty winds around..

Thurs-

Forecast for rain in the afternon- went to the other end of the park and worked back.   There was a group walk in “Tablelands”.     It is an area where the rock was shoved up from the earths mantle (under the crust). There was probably crust on top, but that is eroded away to the mantle rock - and that rock is so deficient in many minerals that almost nothing grows there.   A tree that is knee high could be 300 years old, and much of the hill is bare.

Tableland

Tableland

 The rock in the center of the background has about no vegetation, that is the tableland. The lower foreground is a glacial valley. We decided to pass on tthe group walk because of the weather and went to a fishinng village at Trout River.  There are still boats that fish cod from here, they limit them to 6 gill nets a boat.

 

Trout river

Trout river

We saw a sigh that said fresh fish and went in - they are the buyer and do large quantities,  We asked them if we could get a fillet or two.   He gave us a look - but went back and grabbed a cod out of a tub of ice and filleted it for us.   $12 for 3 pounds.      In the smaller towns, there is an accent up here as well as some unusual terms.   I could understand him ok.  When a fisherman came in and talked to him, I could hardly follow them. 

Anyway - when we cooked the cod, it was great.  There is a cook shelter in the campground with a big wood stove - we put the cast iron fry pan on that and cooked it there. 

Cod dinner

Cod dinner

 Talked to people from Ontario as well as Northern Alberta there. 
We had mooseburgers for lunch - $9.95 for just the burger, $12.95 with fries.    They were good.
Sropped at Norris Point to a marine research center and took a tour - interesting. www,bonnebay.ca
Some of the arms of the ocean that come up in here are narrow and 660 ft deep. - Cod in the arms - fiords.
Up here, when people say fish, they mean cod.
Fri
Decided to head across the island to Terra Nova - on the NE Coast,  another National Park - reminds me a little of Arcadia in Maine.   It is very hilly with big deep (almost 1000 ft. )  arms of ocean (fiords) .  

Terra Nova

Terra Nova

We are staying just out of the park - in the Schriners RV  Park - nice  park with the best heads yet.  Glad to support their organization.   They are expanding.  Lots of kids around that love Effie.  

Effie and some friends

Effie and some friends

Don’t forget to click on the photos - once, then again.
 The local adults like her too.   
Everyone says the weather has been bad - lots of rain - some about every day.  We will be in St. John’s soon, there are a lot of events - from dory races to music this time of year.   
The accents in differentt parts of the island vary - interesting talking to people - 2 even though I was from here when they saw Effie - even after we talked for a few minutes.
 

I never made a bucket list – but there are a few things that I won’t have to put on it if I do.

 

  1. Sailing across an ocean

  2. Sailing across the Equator from Tahiti

  3. Driving across Labrador (and the Yukon)

  4. Catching a salmon in Alaska

5 . Taking photos of Puffins in the wild.

 

Puffins

Puffins

 

Puffins by burrow

Puffins by burrow

6 Taking a Newfoundland dog to Newfoundland

Effie

Effie

7 . Going to the Root Cellar Capital of the World

Root Cellar Capitol of the World

Root Cellar Capitol of the World

8. Visiting the home of Capt. Bob Bartlett

Hawthorne Cottage

Hawthorne Cottage

 

Conception Bay

Conception Bay

 Monday

Drove north along the water and saw some guys cleaning fish.

Fish?

Fish?

 It was a little foggy out there.   We investigated - there is a 3 week cod recreational season.   Limit 15 fish per boat trip.

Cod

Cod

 Most were that size -but one guy had ahold of his biggest cod ever and broke his rod - maybe 50-60# he said.

Big cod

Big cod

 Most fish were this size.

Tyhpical Catch

Tyhpical Catch

 Effie was very interested.

Effie

Effie

 The guys liked her.

We also found a place that rescuued Newfoundland horses.

Newfoundland Ponies

Newfoundland Ponies

 There were a few bigger horses there too. These people rescue the ponies.

Rescue

Rescue

Stopped for a special lunch at the Lions Club - had fish and brewis

They take hard bread and soak it overnight - also soak salt cod overnight - then they boil and combine them.  The cod is boiled several times and the water changed to cut the salt down. 

Then they combine them to make fisherman’s fish and brewis. The cook explained it.     Serve it with either drawn butter or scruchions and onions (cracklins) - salt pork.  Restuarants serve the cod and the bread separately.  Interesting and good.

Stopped at a dock fish place and got a fillet of cod for dinner.   A guy there asked how old they were.  She said they were filleted this morning.   I looked at my watch (1:30) - the  local gave a little approving chuckle.

Rain again.  we are hoping it will clear by Wednesday - in time for the oldest sporting event in North America - the St. Johns Regatta.  They decide at 6AM whether to have it or wait another day - or two.  The whole town takes a holiday on race day - rowed on Quidi Vidi Lake in town.  The 10 day forecast calls for 8 days of rain - but partly cloudy Wed.

We visited the Wood Boat Museum in Wintertun.   They show some of the older small fishing boats - sail, row, and motor (with the old make and break motors.  They are also sarting to build a replica of a sailboat they used to explore Trinity Bay.  Website is www.woodenboatnl.com 

frames

frames

Went to St. Johns - visited Signal Hill, Cape Spear, and went to the St. Johns Regatta =  oldest sporting event in North America, 
Signal Hill is a great spot on a cliff above the city - where the first trans-Atlantic radio signals were received.  Took two hours to walk around. itr was a nice sunny day and everyone wanted to pet Effie and get their pictture taken with her.   There weree two statues on the way - a Newfoundland and a Labrador (the lesser Newfoundland dog). Effie was very interested - sniffed both of their butts.

Big dogs

Big dogs Signal Hill has a great view – could look down at humpbacks right there, 500 feet down. The caplin must be in.view

Th hill has great military significance as well as being important for communications. The entrance go St John’s harbor is quite narrow, making it relatively easy to defend from a hill. It is also very protected from the weather.

view

view

There were lots of people taking in the view – a really nice sunny day for a change. Effie was a hit – people wanted to pet her and take photos. I have heard that there are a few locals that take their Newfies up to show people. We filled in for about 2 hours.

 Since it was a nice day we a aso went down to Cape Spear – more whales there. Think it is the easternmost point.

Humpback

Humpback

 

Took a trip up north of St. John’s - to Flat Rock and Pooch Cove. Then we came back to Flat Rock to stay with friends for 2 nites – on the ocean again and could see whales again. Had a great visit.

 Wednesday was the big day for the St. John’s regatta. It started in 1826, the oldest sporting event in North America. The club has at least 2 sets of boats and they raced those in many age groups on Quidi Vidi lake.

Regatta

Regatta

 

Regatta boat

Regatta boat

People were lined up most of the way around – lots of food stands and games and stuff for kids. There were races all day until 7 PM. It is a holiday in St. John’s. In case of rain, the races and holiday are postponed a day or two. We went to a party later in Quidi Vidi Village. We met a guy that used to breed Newfoundland dogs but got out of it finally. He said there are very few breeders here. He couldn’t tell me of any good ones, I hope there are some.

 

On Thursday, we moved to Pippy Park, a campground right in St Johns, in a big park. First, we drove down to the waterfront to look it over. It is a great harbor – and they are busy with the oilfields off the coast.

 

We then went to the Geo Center, a place that describes the geology of Labrador and Newfoundland. It is pretty complete, with many great rock samples. They have found some of the world’s oldest rocks in Labrador, some 4 ½ billion years old. Newfoundland is actually part of the Appalachian range of mountains.

 

We stopped back down to George St – a street of just bars near the waterfront. There was a brewpub with a door on George St. and one on Water Street so we had a beer there. We had also tried beer from the Quidi Vidi brewery the day before. Personally, I liked the Yellow Belly Brewpub beer a little better, more body and flavor. It was a very cool building – built in 1725 – survived the big fire over 100 years ago.

Yellow Belly

Yellow Belly

 As far as I know, they are the only two places on the island that make beer, with the possible exception of the big breweries, and I am not very interested in their beer.  

  Driving in St. John’s is an adventure – unexpected one ways and many crazy angles. You definitely need someone with a map or GPS navigating. Even with that you get sidetracked

 Friday

we went over to the other side of the harbor and looked at the fishing boats and the entrance as well as Signal Hill. The cannons protecting the harbor were very apparent. It is a well protected harbor.

 

Guns of the harbor

Guns of the harbor

We also visited some botanical gardens that the large university here runs. It is the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Talked to the head gardener, an interesting guy. He said there are few beekeepers around – there were a lot of bumblebees in the gardens.

Some cool plants

Cool Plant

Cool Plant

 

Our campsite is across from a duck pond – there is a constant stream of kids feeding bread to about 6 ducks. We are surprised they don’t weigh 200 pounds. There are 7 kids right now. Some little fufu dog jumped in after them – thought we would have to send Effie in to get him -but the owner hauled it out by its leash

 Talked to several people from Alberta – one driving a big BMW motorcycle.

 

Alberta BMW

Alberta BMW

Made reservations for Wednesday for a 6:30 PM crossing on the ferry to Nova Scotia, not our first choice. From what I hear, it is unlikely to be on time. Even the newspapers say that the poorly run ferries are hurting tourism.

 We still haven’t seen many nicely shaped, well groomed Newfoundland dogs. Too bad, I think there are more. Some people call them Newfoundlander dogs. Effie has never been petted or photographed so much. Bring a nice looking Newfoundland dog up here and people just smile when they see her and want to talk to you.

 There is a big folk concert this weekend, We walked over when they were setting up and the organizer saw Effie and came over. He said Friday nite is a zoo – come on Sat afternoon. We will try for that, tried to get advance tickets – about 100 people in a line in the rain. We will try our luck at the door, then start heading west.

Got fuel – can make Corner Brook on this tank. Diesel is a little cheaper than regular gas, about $1.08 /liter Canadian $.

 Sat

Spent the day at theNewfoundland Labrador Folk Concert  - started at 10AM with some sessions with themes

sessions

sessions

- then the big stage at noon.

Two Greatt Young Preformers

Two Greatt Young Preformers

 

Crowd

Crowd

 

Sunday

Left Roaches Line this morning – new campsite - - nice heads and great internet access. It is near Joe Smallwood’s (the first premier of Newfoundland) old farm There is a horse weather vane.

Weather Vane

Weather Vane

Along the highway we saw a sign for bakeapples – a small wild fruit. We got a jar of them – they pack them in a canning jar with a little water

Drove west to Gander and stopped again for supplies. We made it a point to spend money there again, they were great during 9/11.

Nice day so we carried on to a small campsite near Springdale, at the base of the Baie Verte Peninsula on the north side to a small campgrounds on the Indian River going into Halls Bay. It is a salmon river with a salmon ladder by the campsite. The Atlantic salmon run is around the last week in June and the first two weeks in July.

Indian River

Indian River

A local guy stopped by and asked about the Sprinter. He had a Bass Pro hat on so I asked him about the fishing. This river is flies only and barbless hooks. He told me a few places to try for trout tomorrow along the road. He said to use a size 12 or 14 fly.

 

Salmon Fishing

Salmon Fishing

 mvi_6573 is a video of the falls

 While driving by a few good spots, it was raining again. Decided to go to a capmpsite near Port aux Basques.   Passed the Upper Humber River where it goes into Deer Lake.  It is one of the most famous Atlantic Salmon Rivers. There were 3 very good fly fisherman working the area where it came out of a hydro dam- watched - but no salmon.

 

fly fishing for salmon

fly fishing for salmon

Tuesday morning

Driving south towards the ferry was interesting, we went thru an area that is noted for the wild winds. They have been known to tip over big trucks and did tip over a narrow guage train  . Apparently, is is where the two mountain ranges converge at the south west corner of the island. It was OK when we came down.

The terrain is a little more like New England and there were more varieties of trees here than up north. In Labrador, most of the trees were small black spruce. Here there are larger spruce as well as balsam, white birch, aspen, tamarack, small maples,and a few small wild cherries. It is not a great farming area, but there are some market farms, we got some fresh vegetables at a road side stand two days ago and we saw some cows yesterday. We also bought some Newfoundland eggs at the store.

There are a few mosquitoes around, but not nearly the bug problems of Labrador. I am sure there are more mosquitoes and black flies back in the woods. They bother Mary Anne more than me.

 

Went to The Isle aux Morts, or the Island of the Dead. In 1828, the Harvey family, with the aid of their Newfoundland dog, Hairyman, rescued 163 people from the sinking brig “Dispatch” The boat was full of Irish immigrants When we stopped at the gift shop, Effie was very well received. They are thinking of building a Newfoundland dog memorial. Effie liked sitting on the rocks looking at the ocean there.

Effie

Effie

 

 There is a couple from Ontario that have a summer place here. They have a black as well as Landser Newfoundlands. A guy from the gift shop showed Mary Anne a bunch of different local berries.

 

Have reservations on the other side at a big campground on Bras d’Or Lake. We may get in around midnight. They said “Go to the end of the paved road in the campsite and turn right and pick an empty site – see you in the morning.” Bras d’Or is a big “lake” with outlets to the sea in both the north and the south. Boats sail thru it.

 Just had a pristine ‘55 Ford drive thru the campsite,.about as expected as having a Stealth bomber fly over.

 Checking out places to go and see in Cape Breton. There is a scotch distillery there – only one in North America. Also the Cape Breton Highlands – a big park. And there is nothing like a Cape Breton fiddler.

 

It is a beautiful clear nite – one of the few up here.

 

Last day in Nova Scotia – near Port aux Basque – a Basque settlement and the ferry port. Stopped in the info center and a lady named Effie was working there – so she had to meet Effie and they got along very well.

The ferry has been running late for at least a few weeks, but they seem to have caught up. Our 6:30 pm left at 7 and it was a smooth crossing. They are booked ahead for at least a week. We got in at midnight, had to wait for another ferry to leave -

 

Got a campsite – time to switch to Nova Scotia – and the sub-category of Cape Breton.