Sunday, June 30, 2013

What a difference a day makes


Today started cloudy again, but cleared up and warmed up as the day went on. It was too windy for boat rides, but just fine for touring around. It was already 18C at 6am, reaching 27C today, and sunny.

We took a pretty back-road way into Twillingate, one of the nicer drives we've taken in this area, right along the coast

We stopped at Skipper Jim's, and we had a nice chat. Skipper Jim said it wouldn't be pleasant touring today, too windy. Cod season didn't open for a couple of weeks yet, so no legal cod fishing anyway:

Heading further north, we continued the scenic drive to Long Point Lighthouse. Lots of hiking trails there with water views, but we didn't see any whales or icebergs today.

Back at Twillingate we stopped at the J&R restaurant for their World Famous fish & chips. Quite good, but we've had better (think PEI North Shore). On the way out of town we did find a really good fish market, where we bought some cod for our supper.  They would also cook lobsters for us, just a $1 premium per lobster for that service. We'd have certainly done that if we were staying longer.

Next stop was the Auk winery, where they make a variety of fruit wines, including rhubarb. Cathie really enjoyed the tastings so we bought a few bottles to bring home. The wine didn't travel very well unfortunately.

Back at our camp we ordered a bag of firewood, delivered to our site, and invited our next-site neighbours over for a fire later on. The neighbours are from Baden, not far from Kitchener Ont where we used to live, and had set out to head east the same day we did. They had been to a lot of the same places we have, and had noticed our almost-unique trailer at other camps.

We enjoyed Twillingate and area much more in the sunshine. There are lots of little coves and villages to see in the area.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Still camped near Twillingate

It's a cloudy rainy day, mild but with restricted visibility. The cloud, wind and rain is putting a crimp on things we had hoped to do (like going out cod fishing). 

We grew up hearing the Gander name, and wanted to see what it's like now that trans-Atlantic flights don't need to stop over here anymore. So we decided to take a day trip to Gander today, but didn't take a single picture. 

Gander is still a fair-sized town with some evidence of prosperity, like WalMart and MacDonald's. Hard to think of those as prosperity, but in some areas they are. We haven't seen many in Newfoundland. 

The cool nights reminded us we forgot to bring one of our usual polar fleece blankets. You'd think we'd remember things like this now, but we did find one to buy in Gander. We found a second-hand bookshop for 3 books, and a store that sold pipe tobacco. They didn't sell me any pipe tobacco though, as they wanted $35 for a small packet!

Back near the campground we stopped at a small shop that sold prepared seafood and also had a live lobster pound. We had no way to cook a lobster. They would cook it for us, but wanted almost double the cost per pound of the live lobster.We got a couple of small lobster rolls instead, and they were very good.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Camped near Twillingate for a few nights

We were able to keep the trailer hooked up to the car overnight at Green Point, so had a nice easy start today. 11C, a beautiful day for a drive.

We saw a large Bald Eagle sitting in a treetop near Bonne Bay looking for fish, and a silver fox hunting near the highway.

We stopped for lunch and a mall walk in Grand Falls, having a good cod bits & chips at a mall restaurant the tourist info lady recommended. We also got one of our 20 lb propane tanks filled at a nearby station, after 2 years of camping use.

It's the long weekend, and camping is fairly busy generally. We've had no problems finding sites though. By 3:15 we were parked at an unserviced site in the Dildo Run Provincial park. They did have one serviced site left, where we could have run our electric heater, but they warned us it was in a party area, so not for us. We expected to do more day tripping in the area, so signed up for 3 nights.


We've camped on non-hookup sites at the previous Provincial parks too, 5 nights plus the 3 nights here. It's working out ok, but means we have to limit our furnace use, as its fan is our biggest consumer of battery power. Solar is too expensive yet. Some changes I made to the Tahoe last year have worked well for charging up the laptop and cell phones as we drive.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Heading South to Gros Morne again


It was only 2C this morning, another furnace morning. This park had really good drinking water, so we filled our water tank before leaving. We saw another moose on the way out, and some whale spouts off the western coast as we cruised by.

We're leaving Pistolet Bay today, heading to Green Point campground in Gros Morne park. We had a look at this park on our way north, and it has some nice sites.

Not too far south we noticed a ferry arriving from Labrador, at Pidgeon Cove / St Barbe. The Labrador coast is relatively close here, easily visible, but still a 1 hr 45 minute ferry ride. The ferry is  not a large as the one we took to Newfoundland, but still a good size:

Here's a short video of the nose opening and the ramp lowering. This is where vehicles unload and load here. They must back in to the dock at the Labrador end, like they did in Port Aux Basques on our arrival in Nfld, so nobody has to drive in reverse on the ferry:


We were camped at Green Point park by about 1pm, so had our pick of sites. No hookups, pretty basic. More expensive that the Nfld Provincial Parks, this unserviced site was $15.70 for the night. It would have been another $18 for the required day pass, if not for our annual National Parks pass! No seniors discounts.

A really pretty spot though, on a pretty day:

Today's short journey:






Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day trip to Cape Norman



Cool again today, it finally got up to 9C by mid-afternoon. Nice though, not as windy at first. We're prepared for this kind of weather so we're still out and about. Any rain we've had has come overnight, very convenient.

We decided to head north to Cape Norman today, as far north as the road goes here. There's a lighthouse there, not sure what else. Our waxed cotton coats were welcome today, they provide good wind protection.

Rugged terrain

Lovely tiny wildflowers though, even here

More icebergs slipped by, along the Labrador coastline. We think the closer white specs in the water were Eider ducks:

We counted 10 icebergs along there at one point

A pretty little Nfld community with friendly people and a community-maintained hiking trail along the shore. They were rightly proud of the trail and pleased to welcome us to use it:

Still a brisk wind today


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

L'Anse aux Meadows

It looked like a landing strip on this berg

It was a cool night, only 5C at 6:30 am, but sunny. Since we weren't connected to electricity we ran our Little Buddy heater before going to bed, and again in the morning to warm things up. It used a whole 1 lb propane bottle, but the heat was welcome.

After poaching some eggs for breakfast we headed off for a tour of L'anse Aux Meadows, where Vikings visited about 1,000 years ago. Not exactly dinosaurs, but a long while back. "Free" admission with our National Parks pass.

Watch out for the natives

From a balcony, a large iceberg drifted by


The recreated main building was interesting. Walls about 6 ft thick. Layers of ceiling too, rated at about R100 insulation overall. Today was a nippy 9C high with a brisk breeze, and it was nice to get in the building where a fire (propane powered) was going:


Cathie the Red strikes fear into the heart of...?


We finally saw some moose! Nfld is supposedly crawling with them, but we had to have an afternoon nap so we could stay up and out late enough to see them I guess.

Later on we took a bumpy road into an ecological reserve, and saw some of these apparently-rare ladyslippers:


Some miscellaneous things we've come across. Lots of woodpiles at the side of public roads. People cut wood by permit through the winter, and stack it to dry for a year or so. The piles usually have their permit attached, and apparently theft isn't a problem. The wood has to be for personal use; most comes from blow-downs etc:

Small garden plots also show up beside the roads. Most are surrounded by short fences, as the moose and caribou like the garden contents too. The microclimates vary a lot, but tend to be a bit warmer inland, and the gardens are put wherever some decent soil is to be found or made. Often there are no homes visible in the area around the plots:

We've decided to stay at Pistolet Bay for a couple more nights, as it's been a nice spot and is a good base for daytripping in the area.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bergs and whales

Today we headed to St Anthony for a boat tour. We
expected to see icebergs and maybe a whale. We saw great examples of both.

Our tour boat today

Limited room up on top


We considered finding this stairway trail up to the communication tower later, but decided against it:

HaHa wonder why we decided against the climb? 435 steps!

This berg was grounded, so we got pretty close in the boat. Fairly unusual shape apparently, really pretty:


Same berg, different angle:

We had some amazing whale sightings from the boat too. Unfortunately we weren't able to capture them in pictures. A humpback whale entertained us by chasing its quarry right up on to the rocky shore a couple of times. Once it breeched (sp?), spectacular. Cath saw most of it, right out of the water before the huge splashdown. I saw the ripples.

Apparently the transient whales are about 50 miles offshore right now, and will be following the capling in to this immediate area over the next few days.

Later on we drove to a cove where a couple more bergs were beached. We ate our lunch in the little kiosk you can see here, just watching:

One of the bergs was shark-like (maybe a camel shark, with its two humps):

While we were there, the large front fell off with a crash and a splash:

Shortly after that, the berg rolled over about 90 degrees:

We watched the bergs for quite a while. Even saw another whale hunting nearby. We saw just the back of it periodically this time, as it came up for air.
Here's a 2 minute video of the berg rollover:

Later again, we drove to a place we could see the same grounded berg  we saw from the boat this morning, from a different angle. It was a bit of a hike but worth it. On the way to the hike we stopped and bought 2 lemonades from a stand run by a couple of little girls. We had to give   the cups back though! As we were leaving we saw them running into    the house all excited to tell Mom about their big sale.                                                                                                                    

We sat and watched it for quite a while. It was a beautiful spot, and we heard a loud Crack once, so stayed longer in case it was going to calve. It didn't while we were there, but we'll be heading back there today to see what happened overnight.

On the way back home we stopped at a little restaurant we had noticed on the way, and both had one of their lobster special dinners. Excellent!