Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Leaving Newfoundland


A 3-kilometer walk from the parking lot to the tour boat on Western Brook Pond takes you across peat moss-rich bogs, lakes and through thickly-wooded areas.


Midnight

Aboard the S.S. Joseph and Clara Smallwood

The ship is just shuddering into motion as we ease away from the pier at Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. In six hours, we’ll dock again at North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Completed the crossing of Newfoundland with a race to the finish line this evening. It was a 250-mile day.

Later

At sea 45 minutes now, the low rumble of propeller shafts turning and gentle shaking, squeaking of ceiling and wall panels, an occasional roughness or turbulence, and a cabin full with quiet sleepers; it's much like flying in an aircraft. Only the fog horn every few minutes reminds me I'm on the sea.

Jeff is working with the ship's Purser to assure everyone is permitted to rest. He gets the blaring TVs in this part of the ship turned off. When there's an injustice, he's all over it. It's his police training, I think.

***

Earlier today, at the Rocky Harbor KOA Campground, we awoke to a beautiful morning. Everything was wet with dew, but a warm sun and gentle breeze soon dried our gear. The facilities at this campground are excellent; the showers housed in a remarkably clean and bright building. I may have to adjust my attitude about KOAs.

Drove into Rocky Harbor in search of breakfast, stopping for cash at the Bank of Montreal (a very temporary-looking modular building.) A bespectacled boy on bicycle came over to admire the motorcycles.

"Do you know if there's a 'Tim Horton's' in town?" Jeff asked.

"I wish!" the boy said with a sigh. Such is the passion "Tim Horton's" excites in Canadians.

We had to settle for the “Java Jack’s” across the street ("my type" of coffee shop.) Little attention was paid us as we stood at the counter waiting to be served. Jeff overheard the woman behind the counter being asked "did you make the cookies?"

"If I made the cookies, I wouldn't be working here."

A young lady walked in, stepped to the counter and was promptly served. Jeff and I glanced at each other. "Is there a protocol we're missing here?"

We seemed to be an inconvenience. We've seen an odd indifference in service sector workers up here. Numerous times now, I've asked a question, only to receive a blank look and an "I don't know" reply. Often people don’t seem particularly curious or helpful.

Ordered a croissant with local partridgeberry preserves (with a flavor like tart boysenberry-blueberry) and coffee. (Both were very good.)

Driving north on a clear blue morning, skirting out along the coast, I enjoyed the fresh, salty air. It reminds me of California’s coast.

A Neil Young song plays in my head:
Hey, hey, my, my,
Rock and roll will never die.
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
Hey, hey, my, my.
Something about never giving up.

Pulled off the highway at Baker's Brook to see if there were some photo opportunities down by the beach. Came upon a small fishing hamlet. Three fishermen were bringing in the morning's catch of cod. They had only been out a few hours and had a full load.



At a small fishing hamlet near Baker's Brook, Newfoundland, we found three fishermen bringing in the morning's catch of cod. They cleaned the fish right at the water's edge, then hauled them to an awaiting refrigerated van. This fellow had the remarkably clear blue eyes, so common up here in Newfoundland.


I spoke with one who was standing at the water's edge, smoking a cigarette, surrounded by the waste from the cleaning process, the water at his feet thick with pink entrails.

"There's lots of cod. The government says there's not, but there is."



Yuck. Is this where my fish and chips come from?


They cleaned the fish right there, then hauled them to an awaiting refrigerated van. When I first arrived, it was quite a messy scene, with fish entrails floating everywhere, but as the men started hauling away the totes loaded with cleaned cod, the seagulls moved in and battled for the scraps. Hundreds in number, they soon had the water picked nearly clean.



A delicacy, cod tongues!



Another delicacy the sacs containing roe



Nature is so efficient. The horribly messy scene was soon picked clean by flocks of seagulls.


We moved up the road to Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park. For a $38.00 fee (plus $8.00 Park Entry Fee) per person, we purchased a spot on the boat tour of this famous fjord.



One of two boats that ply the waters of Western Brook Pond. The $38.00 fee is a bit steep for the two-hour cruise, especially in light of the overcrowding and competition for the best seats. As Jeff says, "it's a short season. They need to make their money."



Western Brook Pond



In the fjord's stone walls, an image known as "The Tin Man."









A backward look toward Western Brook Pond's fjords.

1 comment:

Drew Kampion said...

Meanwhile, some unsurgents are heading off on your "bikes" ... Yeah, and who's the bearded dude?