Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gros Morne National Park

August 20, 2009

We enterted Gros Morne National Park from the north. So our first views were of these spectacular mountains and beautiful glacier carved fjord at Western Pond.  Sadly, we arrived too late in the day to do the BonTour's Western Pond Boat Tour.  It is a 1.8 mile walk to get to the boats.  The tour lasts 2 hours and costs $52.00 for adults and $25.00 for kids.  It is on my to do list for the next time we make it to Newfoundland.  BonTours also has boat tours of Bonne Bay.

The scenic town of Rocky Harbor is the place to stay to enjoy Gros Marne - good hotels and restaurants as well as beautiful ocean views. Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse drew me because I love lighthouses.

The rocky beaches west of Rocky Harbor made a great sunset vantage point.

The next morning we headed south and drove through the mountains of Gros Morne.

We knew we hadn't given this park the time it deserved, but we got a wonderful taste of the beauty and wonder here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Arches Provincial Park

August 20, 2009

As we headed south from St. Anthony, we came across this small provincial park.  Lighting wasn't great with the cloud covered, sunless sky. I shot for HDR hoping I could create a good memory photo since I knew we couldn't stay around this location long enough to get a sunrise or sunset setting. 

While the main attraction is this wonderful set of sea arches, the rest of the beach is also lovely.  

These wind sculpted, dead trees tell the story of strong winds and a harsh climate.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Newfoundland's Crown Land

I was fascinated by the small gardens that we saw along the roads in northern Newfoundland. These gardens were not next to someone's house our field, rather they were right next to the road. When I asked local people, it turns out that the best soil for gardens is where soil was brought in to build the roads. This land is "crown land," land owned by federal or provincial governments. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia only 11% of Canada's land is in private hands, 41% is federal crown land and 48% is provincial crown land. Newfoundland has the highest percentage of crown land with 95% being owned by the government. Among the permitted uses in northern Newfoundland are these gardens that provide needed produce during the short growing season.

Picturesque and well kept, the primary crop seems to be potatoes, but some of the larger plots had a mix of garden vegetables. In a place where it is not easy to get fresh produce, these gardens are an important part of the food supply here.

There also seems to be a certain amount of wood gathering permitted.

I suspect that it takes a lot of hard work to live in northern Newfoundland, but I really appreciate a lifestyle that manages to find ways to live off the land using the resources available-fish, wood, native berries, and these lovely gardens.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Whale Watching at St. Anthony, Newfoundland

August 20, 2009

Being fascinated by whales and marine mammals, I take every whale watching tour I can find. In St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Northland Discovery Boat Tours offers iceberg, whale, and seabird tours. We were too late in the season for icebergs, but we headed out on a foggy, misty morning. As we headed out to sea, there was Newfie music playing over the loud speaker - lovely, jaunty Irish sounding melodies. As we left the harbor and headed out to sea, these stark, rocky cliffs were amazingly beautiful.

As we reached the choppy open water, we began to watch for spouts.

Whale watching is exciting to me even when it is just watching those sleek bodies gracefully surface and submerge again. Sometimes you are lucky enough to see the tail as they begin their deep dive.

We were seeing humpback whales and they were consistent with their surfacing and deep dive timing. So we got good regular sightings.

We also got to see Atlantic white beaked dolphins. Whales come up and surface with a slow rhythmic pattern, giving you time to capture the experience with your camera. Dolphins zip right past the boat making photographs more a matter of luck than skill.

What with the gray day, low lighting, I didn't expect great shots, but I couldn't resist trying to catch these playful dolphins.

It continued gray and foggy even as we returned past theSt. Anthony Harbor Lighthouse and into the harbor. There's a great restaurant at the lighthouse, the Lightkeeper's Cafe, and a great view. We found the cafe and lighthouse area a great place to end our days at St. Anthony, Newfoundland.

I am grateful I don't get seasick easily, because it was a choppy day on the water. But even with gray skies, swells, and seasick visitors next to me, it was still a great way to spend the morning!