Day Ten – Grand Falls-Windsor, NL to St. John’s, NL

Welcome back!  We have recovered from our Screech-In and we have arrived in Canada’s oldest city, St. John’s – founded in 1583!

Travelling from Grand Falls-Windsor, we spotted Gambo, home of Joey Smallwood (1900-1991), Newfoundland’s first premier.  We also stopped at the Gander airport to view the Kenneth Lochhead mural.

KLFlight

Continuing eastward, we visited the Silent Witnesses, a memorial for Flight 1285.

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Making an “executive decision”, we braved the elements (which were not much) to visit Salmonier Nature Park.

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Day Nine – Port aux Choix, NL to Grand-Falls Windsor, NL

What a day we’ve had – full of adventures, intriguing stops and fun times with our crew!

First stop and full disclosure… John’s evening expedition of Moose Spotting paid dividends this morning as we took a trip down to the Port aux Choix Lighthouse where he saw a small herd of caribou (see photos from Day Eight!).  We took photos at the lighthouse then, believing the caribou had moved on (they had!), the group was so excited to see a bull moose!!

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Then we visited Port au Choix historic site and learned about the nearly 6000 year history of human life in the area.  Truly amazing!

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Moving south through Gros Morne Provincial Park, we made a couple of photo stops to remember the gorgeous island.

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After a lovely lunch in Rocky Harbour, we headed east at Deer Lake and made our way to King’s Point.  The pottery of King’s Point was unique and the shop had so many tempting pieces of art from over 300 artists.

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The Whale Pavilion was a highlight of the day as well where we had the singular opportunity to see a fully restored humpback whale skeleton.

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Our overnight at Mt. Peyton featured Ed Power and Weldon giving us a traditional Newfoundland “Screech-In”.  We were all treated to Ed’s voice and guitar while Weldon cracked a few jokes and played the accordion!

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Day Eight – L’anse au Clair, NL to Port au Choix, NL

Our travels today took us north to the National Historic Site of Red Bay where evidence exists that the Basque whaling ships traversed the Atlantic in search of the “Right Whale”.  Come on tour with us to find out all the details about these behemoths and how they changed the lives of the whalers for between 75 and 80 years in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Then we had a look at some of the artifacts as well as a miniature “rendering station” where blubber became the lucrative oil.  (Not much has changed off the coast of Newfoundland in 400 years!  Still getting oil from the ocean!!)

Our Good Lookin' Crew!

Our Good Lookin’ Crew!

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A Chalupa (in Basque: Txalupa) is a small boat used for whale hunting

A Chalupa (in Basque: Txalupa) is a small boat used for whale hunting

The Mighty Pinware River

The Mighty Pinware River

"Stand Tall!"

“Stand Tall!”

Outside the museum - lovely views!

Outside the museum – lovely views!

 

We had a delicious meal in Blanc Sablon and then we had just a few minutes to spare while we went to the dock to see the fishermen bringing in their stocks of herring – simply fascinating!

Catch of the Day: Herring!

Catch of the Day: Herring!

Shucked Scallops

Shucked Scallops

The Apollo comes back for us!

The Apollo comes back for us!

Much better day today for our ferry crossing!  Although it was still a little foggy, we were able to see porpoises off the starboard stern of the boat a few minutes after we were leaving Labrador.

At our arrival in Port au Choix, then gent who helped with the luggage was very keen to help yours truly with the difficult task of finding a moose to photograph. While the moose were elusive, we found three on the far side of a pond.  What was really amazing, however, were the caribou that really didn’t mind having their photos taken!  Brendan was gracious enough to spend about two hours in search of great photos and the incredible wildlife.

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou with young

Caribou with young

Young Male

Young Male

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Look carefully...three moose

Look carefully…three moose

Newfoundland Sunset

Newfoundland Sunset

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Day Seven – Plum Point, NL to Blanc Sablon, QC to L’Anse au Clair, NL

Today we sailed across the Strait of Labrador or the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.  Not an ideal day for a ferry crossing but we made it across under wet weather and buffeting breakers. Ah well…a rainy day on vacation is still better than a good day in the office, right?  We dropped luggage off on our way up to L’Anse Amour to see the lighthouse, visit the gift shop and watch for wildlife.

Our coach bus at L'Anse Amour Lighthouse

Our coach bus at L’Anse Amour Lighthouse

Several of our crew climbed the entire 109 ft to the top of the lighthouse!  I’m so proud of my troopers! Well done!

Meanwhile, the area of L’Anse Amour is a breeding ground for capelin, a tiny fish that forms the basis of so many diets of species around Newfoundland (even some two-legged varieties!)  For that reason, the Northern Gannet was here in droves.  I’ve captured a few images of the gannets in action below.

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Diving

Diving

Plunging

Plunging

On the hunt

On the hunt

Gannets in Flight

Gannets in Flight

About to dive in...

About to dive in…

A Flock of Seagulls  ;) Also a buffet of Capelin

A Flock of Seagulls 😉
Also a buffet of Capelin

After the lighthouse visit, we made our way back to the hotel for supper and a little entertainment.  There was a small theatre group that reenacted a few scenes from Raleigh on the Rocks (here’s the story of HMS Raleigh) and sang a couple of songs too!  After that, Bob treated the audience to a piano rendition of “Killagrew’s Soiree” and “I’s the By”.  Well done Bob!!

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Day Six – St. Anthony, NL to Plum Point, NL

We have arrived at Plum Point this evening and are getting excited about heading across the 11 mile span to Labrador.

Today we explored the areas around St. Anthony, NL. Our first stop was Fishing Point, site of the sod hut restaurant as well as stunning views of the rugged coastline.

Our great looking "crew"!

Our great looking “crew”!

John and Larry at the Lighthouse

John and Larry at the Lighthouse

Coastline at Fishing Point

Coastline at Fishing Point

Gerald, "On the Boardwalk"

Gerald, “On the Boardwalk”

Sod Hut w/ Moon

Sod Hut w/ Moon

We also experienced what life was like for Dr. Grenfell, a dedicated and passionate doctor who left England bound for Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Then it was on to the Jordi Bonet Rotunda at the hospital. This rotunda is (by extension) a tribute to Dr. Grenfell (The Labrador Doctor) and Dr. Curtis who continued his work.

Jordi Bonet Mural

Jordi Bonet Mural

After a quick lunch (and stocking up on supplies!), we made our way to L’Anse aux Meadows where it’s now generally accepted that Leif Erikson made his camp right here in Newfoundland.

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Crossing the bridge with Fred, our guide.

Crossing the bridge with Fred, our guide.

Gerald and Jim show the relative height of Norsemen and Anglo-Saxons

Gerald and Jim show the relative height of Norsemen and Anglo-Saxons – Gerald doesn’t look too pleased!!

A Norseman with his lyre

A Norseman with his lyre

We learned that we really shouldn’t call them “Vikings” – that’s somewhat derogatory and doesn’t quite fit what the Norsemen were actually doing. From Norsemen, we moved to Dark Tickle jams. We had a really fascinating stroll through the Dark Tickle Factory and their yards. Moving through about an acre, we learned about the differences between crow berries, partridgeberries, bakeapples and so much more. Our guide was very knowledgeable and discussed the process of bringing berries to the breakfast table.

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We boarded the bus and arrived at our overnight stop: Plum Point. Our evening constitutional included a stroll to the boardwalk while taking in the sights by the water…

A Tern dives for its supper.

A Tern dives for its supper.

Capturing supper!

Capturing supper!

Pine Grosbeak (Juvenile Male)

Pine Grosbeak (Juvenile Male)

Day Five – Port aux Basques, NL to St. Anthony, NL

Whew!  We had an absolutely gorgeous drive today through sunswept mountains and sprawling scrub!  The scenery of Gros Morne is simply spectacular!

Leaving Port-aux-Basques

Leaving Port-aux-Basques

Oh and we saw our first iceberg in St. Anthony today!  We’ve already hit the “Newfie Trifecta” on our first full day on the island!! (Moose, Icebergs, Whales…oh my!)

After we left Port aux Basques, the vistas immediately became distinctly different from anywhere else.  Here we visit Rocky Harbour, a little gem within Gros Morne park:

Rocky Harbour

Rocky Harbour

Rocky Harbour

Rocky Harbour

Rocky Harbour

Rocky Harbour

Only Newfoundland, with its rich geographic history and glacier specific artistry could produce this much beauty in a single province.  Travelling through the Provincial park this afternoon, we stopped at a couple of scenic lookouts:

Scenic Lookout near the Park's Entrance

Scenic Lookout near the Park’s Entrance

Western Brook Pond

Western Brook Pond

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant

After Gros Morne, we visited another Provincial Park: The Arches – wonderful rock formations, battered by time and tide and another living testament of the rugged beauty of nature. (And people were ‘gettin’ frisky’!)

Artsy Arches!

Artsy Arches!

Peter and Sandy

Peter and Sandy

The Rodgers Clan!

The Rodgers Clan!

Jim and Janet

Jim and Janet

David and Gloria

David and Gloria

Fast Friends on Tour!

Fast Friends on Tour!

Bob and Sue!

Bob and Sue!

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We arrived to Hotel North around 6pm where our hotel staff met us with our keys already in their hands, the luggage handlers walking out to greet us and our amazing host, Rick Reid (something about the name, eh??) greeting us at the front desk.  After dinner at Jungle Jim’s (again, staff, food, promptness, etc. are all first class!) we were ready to sleep in their newly renovated rooms.  My comment to Larry was, “Why can’t more hotels be as prepared and welcoming as Hotel North?!”  Kudos to the staff and management!

p.s., Critter Count: FIVE Moose today! Five Atlantic White-sided Dolphins! A pod of Humpbacks from the ferry! Gannets, Shearwaters, Terns and more!

Day Four – Baddeck, NS – Port-aux-Basques, NL

Welcome back!  We have arrived on the island after a six hour ferry ride that was SMOOTH sailing!  After a leisurely breakfast at Gisele’s, we headed for the ferry at North Sydney.  Here are a few photos from our crossing:

Our Ferry was the MV Highlanders

Our Ferry was the MV Highlanders

 

Good bye Nova Scotia!

Good bye Nova Scotia!

Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin

Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin

Shearwater (There are 30 species - probably a Manx or Cory's)

Shearwater (There are 30 species – probably a Manx or Cory’s)

 

Northern Gannet

Northern Gannet

Our first views of Newfoundland:

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Once we arrived in Port-aux-Basques, we were treated to an excellent meal at St. Christopher’s Hotel that included Newfoundland favourites like seafood platters, partridgeberry cheesecake, cod tongues (and 1892 ale!)  That’s all for tonight!  See you tomorrow!

 

 

Day Three – Moncton, NB to Baddeck, NS

Welcome back intrepid virtual tourists!  Quite a full day today that included walking on the ocean floor, getting a taste of home away from home, a delicious meal at Gisele’s and a Ceilidh! Let’s get started…

John promised to show us the best of each area and Hopewell Cape was no exception!  Our 45 minute trip down to the shoreline proved to be both exciting and informative.  We watched the “Chocolate River” change and swirl as we left the Riverview area of Moncton.  Entering the park, we met Kevin (our expert local guide) and he took us into the “whale’s tail” viewing area.  After an introduction and this video,

we headed down to the ocean floor where we heard and saw more about what makes Fundy such a special and unique area.

Since Big Stop wasn’t taking our calls, we decided to have lunch at Swiss Chalet where we got to know the group a little better.  Everybody is getting along and making fast friends!

Finally, we were off to Gisele’s in Baddeck – one of our favourite spots on tour!  With its lovely flowers, wonderful decor and personal service, this is a welcome rest.  Dinner tonight had options of fish, pork or chicken and made any choice difficult – they were all delicious.

No time to rest…John had other plans for the evening!  We were on our way to a Ceilidh (pronounced “KAY-lee”).  Buddy and Howie played the guitar, fiddle and piano while some audience members showed us a little “soft shoe”.  Here’s a sample from tonight’s music:

Two hours of music seemed to fly by while we enjoyed the celtic flavour of the island.  Then it was back to the hotel to rest up for our ferry crossing to Newfoundland!!

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