Thursday, September 08, 2016

GTT Days 35-36

September 4 - La Manche Provincial Park, NL.
Well, our last full day in Newfoundland! We were scheduled to go out on O'Brien's puffin and whale watching tour boat in Bay Bulls at 11:30am so we didn't rush. The weather was perfect as the sun came out and the cold wind died down just as we got there.
We were taken out to the Witless Bay Wildlife Reserve and past several rocky islets. Sadly we were past the peak whale season and we didn't see any but we did see puffins and murres. And we caught a glimpse of a tropical sunfish, mole mola, as it came up to the surface and turned under again. Very exciting!
This is where the puffins have their burrows and the mean seagulls wait to steal their fish just as they dive in to feed their young. I couldn't get close enough to catch a photo of anything but dots and blurs of the puffins. They are very awkward in the air! But they dive extremely well and can hold lots of little fish in their beaks.And this is the islet with all the murres:
Their pesky preditors are bald eagles who steal their eggs and babies. We saw at least 4 or 5 circling above. Tough life being a sea bird, huh? It was a fun trip and Joe, the narrator, made many jokes, answered questions and sang songs. He even presided over a Screeching-In ceremony where 2 Brazilians were made honourary Newfies. The boat ride was a bit lumpy but we had a great time. Remind me why some people go out on these trips and never even look at the scenery? It's not cheap. Never mind. Tiny rant over.
Just a little further along the coast from Bay Bulls is La Manche Provincial Park where we stayed for our last night here. It was much nicer than Butter Pot PP but very busy with Labour Day Weekend campers. We were lucky to get one night here! Great view from the campsite too. We found a trail that led to us on a good hike to a waterfall:
There were moose tracks in the mud but no moose to be seen. Luckily. After dinner we watched the sun set over the pond:  
September 5 - somewhere in Cabot Strait on the way to Nova Scotia.
So today we have an overnight sailing from Argentia, NL, to North Sydney, NS. We have a cabin reserved so we'll be as comfy as possible while our little van resides somewhere in the hold. We stocked up on gas and ice to hold us until we get to Cape Breton tomorrow. But since we didn't have to be at the terminal until 2pm or so we took a side trip to Castle Hill, site of the first French settlement in Newfoundland in 1662. The displays were very good and we also got earphones and a player to take up to the fort and listen to the history of the place at 19 stations throughout the site. I'd say we're getting our money's worth for our annual Parks Canada Discovery Passes!
And I finally got to kiss a cod!
OK so it wasn't a real cod. It was an anatomically correct stuffed version that you could remove his head, slice his belly, cut out is very realistic innards and open flat - just like they did back in the 1600's. I wanted to keep him!  
Placentia is really pretty from the heights of the Fort:
And we found yet another set of Red Chairs:
We came to Newfoundland in a rainstorm, experienced extremely changeable weather every day since and now we're leaving in the sunshine. Go figure. We love the place though. It's beautiful, remote, COLD, windy and there's water everywhere you look. But the people are warm and friendly (though rather aggressive drivers) and we have really enjoyed our stay. I'd be sad to leave but we still have nearly a month more to travel to get home!

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