Up at the crack of dawn to see the puffins as someone told us they were usually quite active before heading out to sea for the day. The operative word here is "usually." Saw a few flying around, but it was so foggy even the puffins knew to lay low in case they bumped into the cliffs.
Never discouraged, headed across town to some incredible rock formations, including sea stacks. Some good hiking over the rocks, repeat the landscape is beautiful. Met a few tourists and Newfoundlanders and had some fun chats. Back to the AirB&B, then off again to Puffin hunt.
Glenn dropped me off at the Puffin site, and off he went to visit the John Crosbie Interpretative Centre on the sealing industry from its earliest days. It blew Glenn away to think about the hardships these people endured.
Meanwhile, back in prime Puffin country, Sylvia saw ONE. After 45 mins, she had had enough, so back to town and then to our abode. The fog is back, so slow evening ahead. Back at it tomorrow.
Decided we wanted to get to Bonavista without delay and do some exploring. Stopped at Trinity, where we had such an amazing 5 days in 2005 thanks to Peter Henrico's generosity in donating an Oceanex return trip to Montreal to St John's, which we "won" at thru Royal Vic Ball. Trinity has grown so much in the past 18 years; hard to recognize it. It still is the prettiest town on the Bonavista Peninsula. Now designated a historic site so tightly controlled. We had great memories of our time there and seeing the Inn, we had stayed at.
Quick lunch and off to Bonavista to check in to our Airbnb. Beautiful overlooking the ocean, we have 5 ghz Wi-Fi, a first since the beginning of our travels, we are in a state of shock…lol. Ruth, the owner, said you're not going to see puffins in the fog; best to head to King's Cove; there is a giant iceberg there.
Off iceberg hunting, we went and were not disappointed despite our great success in Twillingate. Good pic. Great 2 km hike to the Lighthouse, and then off again to find where the puffins were hanging out. The fog was so dense you couldn't see in front of you to see so will try again tomorrow. The town of Bonavista is the biggest town on the peninsula, so we'll do some exploring. Sylvia has dug up some pics of our visit to Bonavista in 2005, of which I have zero recollection other than visiting the root cellars. Foggy like crazy now, so again hoping for clear weather tomorrow.
Hopes of a good day for hiking dashed on the rocks like those in the nearby ocean! Windy, cold and more rain!
Another day with 5C, rain and wind. Decided hiking was not really worth it. We didn’t even see any locals out and about! Some great pics from the car and a few quick ins/outs by Sylvia in Greenspond, a beautiful fishing outport nearby. It still boggles the mind when a group of houses seemingly just pop out of nowhere. Can’t imagine what it is like during the winter. Everywhere is clean and tidy. Properties well maintained. The weather is so lousy it has slowed the internet down to a crawl, and now the TV satellite is on the fritz.
Enough of today; we leave tomorrow for Bonavista (3 sleeps) and, with any luck, we'll see whales and maybe a hike.
10:00 am ferry plus 5 hours driving brought to New Wes Valley. Beautiful coastline and is very different from up north. Hope to explore tomorrow as the weather forecast seems reasonable. The day could have been more uneventful!
After lunch and we headed back to the ''highway,'' Sylvia proclaims that she cannot find her iPhone!!! This is an apocalypse—photos, messages, e-mails etc. Glenn tried to call her cell, but there was no reception in the area. A thorough search of the car turned up nothing. Retrace the steps- nothing at the gas station, so back to where we had lunch—nothing in the restaurant. Finally had some phone reception. Phoned, and it rang off the hook to voice mail. Sylvia keeps her phone on silent mode – panic rising. Got through on Find My Friends and realized the phone had to be in the car after figuring out where we were. She then thought of pinging her iPhone from her iWatch. Lo and behold, we heard a faint sound in the car; somehow, it had fallen behind the driver's seat and camouflaged by a lot of clothing. You can't believe we felt.
All the Newfoundlanders at the resto and gas station were great and really tried to help find the phone at the various spots.
We arrived at the beautiful Kittiwake House in New Wes Valley, where we stayed for two nights.
Season is only starting, so inquired about what might be Open for dinner. We were told that a good restaurant was about 1/8 km away and impossible to miss. So we decided to walk for the exercise and because it was actually very nice outside.
Either we were ill-informed, or Glenn misunderstood. Instead of turning left on the main road, we turned right. After walking for 15 minutes, figured there was a problem, so flagged down a guy on an ATV who told us we were on the right path and the restaurant we wanted was about 10 more minutes on the right side past the hospital and was a green building - "we couldn't miss it'', so he says. Got to a Café in a beige building, but it was closed. Went across the street to a Studio that was getting ready for the season. Asked about the restaurant The Ship to Shore. Said they knew of it, but it was back past where we had come from. "Go down to the village, and at the junction, hang a right, which is only slightly up on the right." We were offered a lift, said no, thank you, we would be OK, BUT halfway down the front steps, Glenn decided a ride was a great idea. Fred drove us in his pick-up, the 3km mostly uphill to the restaurant. Decided we would walk back to the B&B as, after all, it was only 1/8 km. Asked the owner for directions so we would be sure. It was quite simple, but Glenn had her repeat four times to ensure no more screw-ups. And to make really sure we'd get back to the B&B, we used google maps to walk us back...lol. Made it back uneventfully and hope tomorrow will be nice so we can enjoy some hiking.
Started off at 06:00 with heavy fog. It is one of the times for moose to be moving about, so the heavy fog and the fear of moose encounter kept us down to 60-70 km. We safely arrived for the 08:30 ferry at 07:00. A short 1 hour 15 minutes crossing with one stop to Change Island to let 5 cars out. Uneventful.
Well, Fogo Island isn’t very big! Lucky again with a sunny day. Visited all the small outports and ate twice at The Cod Jigger Diner as it is still considered off-season, aka as winter here, and so there are only two eateries open on the island, viz.,
Fabulous moderate to hard walk up one of the four corners of the flat earth with 147 steps and a rocky ground on the Brimstone Head Trail (338 ft above sea level)—a breathtaking view of the ocean, icebergs and the historic community of Fogo. Exhilarating!
The Marconi Interpretive was closed for the season, so missed that.
Although the world-famous Fogo Island Inn, which goes for $2875 (343 sq ft)- $5575 (663 sq ft) per night minimum 3-night stay, is off limits except for registered guests, we managed to sweet talk our way for a look-see. It is quite well done, with amazing views of the North Atlantic. Not convinced about the value, but it is fully booked until October, and we say good on owner Zita Cobb a local Fogo Islander who made good money in the early stages of fibre optics with JDS Mitel. Now operates through a Charity, although we hear the Govts kicked in $10mm. She is now the largest employer on Fogo Island and pours a lot of money back into the local economy – a good story.
Glenn had a good conversation with a retired fisher, Melvin Brown. Again, amazing characters and fun to talk to, he greeted us with saying “slue” we didn’t quite understand, after looking it up it meant “hello” go figure. Their rhotic accent is so heavy we barely could make out what he was saying. All in all, a good day.
Halleluiah Hallelujah first sign of sun in 7 days. Still mighty cold at 5C with some wind but NO RAIN.
Toured all the nooks and crannies of Twillingate and there are many. Beautiful scenery and Sylvia managed to capture a lot of the local flavour. Big highlight was being able to see icebergs up close. Last year Twillingate had one iceberg and this year the bay is full. Luck of the draw.
Went by zodiac with twin 300hp outboard motors. That in itself was a bit of a thrill. Some wind so seas were up. Sylvia’s pics speak for themselves. Guide fished out a small piece of iceberg to pass around. Good fun. Cold but sunny!
Went for dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Glenn tackled some delicious snow crab and got instructions from a local resident on how best to get the meat out without cutting one’s fingers. Had a good chat with Kevin Sansome current owner of a seafood restaurant started by his Father Doyle many years ago. No reservations, cash only. Food outstanding. Had a few minutes with Kevin afterwards. He had fished for every kind of fish and crustacean for over 50 years. Hands gnarled and bent up with arthritis. Great person. He said Glenn had a strange accent and when I said Irish from Quebec City he just nodded. To be told by a Newfie that someone has an accent is a compliment (I think). Done for the day. Tomorrow Fogo Island - here we come at 05:45.
Click here to Another God-awful day to travel. Seven hours of wind and rain. Heavy traffic on Trans Canada Hyw. Decided to detour to Gander to see the airport and visit the Appleton Peace Memorial in recognition of 911. Never seen the Gander airport before; it is immense. The Memorial was very well done.
Before arriving in Twillingate, decided to visit the Interpretive Centre, which explains the lives and early extinction of the Beothuk Native tribe nearby. The history was quite interesting, and the Centre was very well done. Sped into Twillingate only to have Waze deliver us to the wrong street.
Figured it out, so found our B&B. For those familiar with the Bible, please refer to the Book of Job, which focuses on trials and tribulations. For those who are not, please do it anyway. Pouring rain when we arrived, the B&B door was closed up tighter than a barrel of 26-year-old Single Malt; no one at B&B or the owner's home nor could we reach them by cell, text, or e-mail. So, has something happened to them? Mild panic – the idea of sleeping in the car is not so appealing, especially at 6C. Got some hotel names from the Restaurant where we ate. Managed to find a room for one night but not two. Twillingate is very popular this time of year, as evidenced by the dozen icebergs in the harbour (we go tomorrow). So the next night was problematic, so had to decide to change Itineraries again. Out of the blue, the B&B owner called and asked where we were. Long story short, they were with Family in a no-communications zone. The door was not locked but required a strenuous two-handed effort to open as it was 'swollen because of all the rain.' Rain we know all about, swollen doors is above our pay grades. Anyway, B&B Keeper was very nice and majorly apologetic, and we got checked in.
Still raining. Must say icebergs looked amazing even from a good distance. There is a huge one that looks like a freight train. Hopefully, we shall see it and others close up demain. If so, it will all have been worth the anxiety and weather..
Travelling day. Worst morning yet of wind, rain and cold. As we made our way south, weather got progressively better, and we actually saw some sun and a bit of blue sky First time in almost four days. 6C in Deer Lake but no wind or rain so seems like summer to us. Tomorrow we head northeast to Twillingate to the Promised Land of Icebergs. Spoke to the Skipper of our planned tour, and while he agreed on guaranteed icebergs, he said it was ‘still too cold for whales’. So there you have it, folks, even the world’s largest mammals know not to be out in this weather. Stay tuned for the next blow-by-blow icy commentary.
More fecking rain, howling winds and 3C. If it had been up to me, I’d have Leif Erickson keep the place! Parks Canada did an excellent job of recreating some Viking structures, and in fact it was quite interesting. A shame it was just too miserable for us to want to hike. Did get some great pics of smaller icebergs. Big ones promised for Twillingate! Still, shake our heads in wonderment about the really remote fishing outports—tough people. We kept getting tips from the locals to go to a variety show in Saint Lunaire- Griquet as it was going to be a lot of fun. It was indeed a lot of fun, yet pretty hokey—mostly locals and a few Come from Aways in attendance. We had a good time, and the local musicians were, surprisingly, quite good. It was at an old school purchased by an enterprising couple (female Newfie and male transplanted Brit) who have made it into a for-profit activity centre – good on them.
The last part of the evening (over around 9 PM so people don’t have to drive home in the dark because of the moose who seemingly have no fear of cars) was a skit written by the owners but involving five audience participants who were required to act out what the narrator read off. All participants were from the tourist sector, and when asked, Glenn could not really say ‘no thank you.’ So up he went on the stage, his role was to be a customer in a café and to have some interaction with the roller-pin-carrying waitress. Did not help that Glenn grimaced terribly to the delight of the audience when given a cup of coffee to drink. Ended up having to kneel down under the table. Ah, well, the audience got a good laugh. The funniest part was that the tourists, for the most part, didn’t know what the narrator was narrating as she was speaking Newfoundlandish. Made it all the funnier for everyone.
Drove home in some serious heavy fog. Did not see any mooses, thank goodness.
Today started out with a ‘bang’ aka the sharp piercing shrill sound of the smoke detector going off at 1:30 AM! Figured out pretty fast there was a power failure but had to explore to be sure; the last place to be is on the second floor of a wooden structure if there was a fire: no fire, just no power – so goody. Cold cereal for breakfast, no coffee, but the homemade jam was yummy! Spent a few hours touring the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Heritage Site, including the interpretive centre. Phenomenal ceramic murals in the rotunda of the local hospital, artist Jordi Bonet. Incredible what he did for the people of the Labrador coast and northern Newfoundland. Most impressive and was especially appreciated by Glenn, who being an Anglo from Quebec City, had heard about Dr. Grenfell throughout High School. Happy to see history up close. Excellent seafood chowder at The Lightening House Café for lunch and went back for a Viking Feast in the evening.
It was to be an interactive rowdy Viking evening of songs, skits, and laughter. About 45 people, tourists and locals, showed up. Some serious characters in the cast, especially the Chief Magistrate (this could be a Mr. Ripley favourite)– 50 years old, less than 5 ft tall, 50 waist, voice like a foghorn, one eye, seriously diabetic, had a stroke last year – ‘keeps on truckin’ says he’—food at long tables.
Evening centred around three audience-generated mock trials where cases would be heard, and the overall audience was the jury. Case from our table involved Sylvia filing a formal complaint against Glenn for deliberately accelerating the car exiting the hill from our B&B to the main road causing her extra heavy camera to fall on her knee, causing severe pain and a crying episode. It actually happened, but she exaggerated by borrowing a cane to limp up to the witness box and gained a lot of sympathy from the audience, which was required to bang their fists on the tables to show support. Glenn countered in defence that although the camera did fall on her knee, it was due to the fact that he saw a moose out of the corner of his eye and another vehicle speeding towards them. The crowd sided with Glenn and rejected the complaint - until he fessed up and told them there was no moose. Sylvia then won the case until she walked off the stage unaided by the cane, to which the audience and the Chief Magistrate howled. Both were found guilty of perjury and had to dance in a circle back-to-back with elbows inter-twined. Lots of laughs by everyone. It made up for the lousy weather.
The Grenfell House, Newfoundland home to Dr. Grenfell and his wife and three children - was built between 1909 and 1910. All the items in the home are original.