Before getting to the final really big ticket item (Gros Morne) on our Newfie Nightmare a few tidbits to tidy things up as we leave the Rock. As I write this piece we are travelling on the Blue Puttees out of Port aux Basques, NL on our way back to North Sydney, NS. The seas look reasonably calm for our expected 6 hour crossing and expected dinnertime arrival so the sea sick baggies may have been a worthless investment.
As my faithful readers already know, for this portion of the MMM the Phantom Phaeton was left in dry dock in Sydney and LL and BBB bunked in with the Captain and Debbie Dewdrops in the cosy confines of the HMCS Eagle. This type of experiment is the kind that has the potential to turn out badly but with a hearty crew comprised of the Amiable American duo of LL and BBB with DD representing the Canadian side, even in her diminished state (a cold and other issues), no serious harm occurred. Only the staccato snoring of one of the crew distributed what can only be described as successful adventure. Of course the steady hand of the Captain at the helm just might have been the tipping point for success?? However a vote on this question has been postponed indefinitely.
One of our delightful finds (small things amuse small minds) on the trip was when we stopped in at Captain Dave’s on the way back from Twillingate. CD brought to our attention a definitely classical Newfie home grown musical in the form of the Ugly Stick, Any attempt to define this fine piece of musical craftsmanship would fall flat (pun intended) but can be seen in the following photograph. Once we became acquainted with the Ugly Stick we took notice that they were widely available in most souvenir shops in seemingly unlimited forms from the cute to grotesque.
Early on in our travels around the rock we observed a variety of blankets and nets casually adorning the curbs in front of a lot of people’s houses. All it took to determine the purpose of these coverings was to observe the workings of the crows and seagulls as they made short work of distributing the contents of unprotected garbage bags across the highways and byways.
According to official sources there are over 125,000 moose on the Island. Just about everyone we met, locals and visitors alike, regaled us with stories of moose sightings. Some folks went so far as to “guarantee” moose sightings. How you can guarantee such is beyond me, but being agreeable folks we took them at their word and BBB so wanted to believe them. So we drove over 1400 kilometers around the Island and guess what? Up to our last day we had seen only one moose however, this moose was seen galloping across the tundra at a distance where it could have been as easily a large caribou or some other antlered animal?? So there we were on our final day of travel being hyper vigilant for moose when the ecstatic cry of moose, moose, moose disturbed the otherwise calm in the truck. And yes there in a far away meadow stood a single cow moose posing for pictures. Although not a Bullwinkle BBB could claim a moose sighting, no bull.
The Great Gros Morne – June 16th to June 18th
Gros Morne really is a wondrous place that to give it its due credit should be explored leisurely over a few weeks. This UNESCO World heritage Site sight offers incredible opportunity to see some very unique geographical formations. We arrived at the KOA in Norris Point on July 16, 2016 where we set up camp for our 3 days here. The KOA was nicely situated but suffered from very tight spacing of RVs and when a neighbour had a campfire, well so did you, but you got just the smoke without the fire. Regardless we did have full hookups which were fortuitous as sunlight was at a premium for our stay.
On our first night here a short drive brought us to the small fishing village of Norris Point which is the home base for several water taxis for trips to Woody Point and other tourist destinations more easily accessed by boat than road. The big highlight of Norris Point visit for DD and the Captain was listening to a live version of that Newfoundland classic Aunt Martha’s Sheep (see video below). This classic was played seemingly continuously back in 1972 when DD and the Captain resided in New Brunswick. As we only had radio for entertainment in those “poor us” days, this song was indelibly ingrained in our minds.
Aunt Martha’s Sheep at Norris Point
On July 17, 2016 we spent a full day driving up to Cows Head and back. Along the way we stopped at several interesting sights including the wreck of the SS Ethie, Cows Head Lighthouse and along several walking trails. At Cows Head Lighthouse the Captain took a sketchy back road to the parking lot and of course DD erupted into maniacal screeching and at one point vacated the vehicle. One can imagine the need for a lighthouse would have been negated had the oggorfian screeching been available as surely it could have been heard several leagues away by passing ships. HaHa!!
Our last full day here on July 18, 2016 and we drove to and hiked up the Tablelands. This barren landscape derives from the earth’s mantle and because of its lack of nutrients and minerals doesn’t support plant or other forms of life.
The Last 350 KM
July 19, 2016 we drove to Stephenville and an overnight at noisy Walmart. Stephenville once the home of a US Air Force Base was getting set to host a 75 year reunion for base personnel. The base operated for 25 years from 1941 to 1966 when it was decommissioned and the land returned to Canada and Newfoundland.
Our final night on the Rock July 20, 2016 we camped at the JT Cheeseman Provincial Park located about 12 km north of the Ferry Terminal. A short 2 km walk to a beautiful sandy ocean beach seemed like a fitting farewell as we took a last futile look on the ocean for any sign of whales. Regardless, we did have a whale of a time on the rock. Lard tunderin I spect we’ll be back again me son!