Thursday, September 06, 2018

Newfoundland Journey 2018 — Phase 9

I'm on a two-month journey in Newfoundland. My goal here is to post some highlights, both in words and pictures, and to try to include some tips if you're planning to make the trek to the Rock.
 You can click on any picture in the blog to blow it up. Most of the pictures are available as large format prints at very reasonable cost. Contact me.

This is the last in the series of blog posts documenting my summer-long trip to Newfoundland. That doesn't mean you won't see any more Newfie pictures, indeed you will! But maybe not in a semi-chronologically organized fashion.

This post starts mid-August. Amin is back and we're based out of Torbay, north of St. Johns. From there we drove back to the West coast, visited Gros Morne, then spent a day around Stephenville and the Port au Port peninsula, then drove via Codroy to pick up the ferry in Channel-Port aux Basques. After getting on the ferry, I never even took the camera out. So the post ends when we left the Rock.

Here are some stats for the trip.

BTW for those who don't know, Amin is a friend from the Haliburton Highlands Camera Club. He drove out with me, spent a couple of weeks, flew home and then back for the last two weeks of the trip. He loved it and would do it again, but was admittedly disappointed in the number of icebergs, whales and close-up puffins he saw. And moose. See below!

  • Total time away: 70 days
    • In Newfoundland:    65 days
  • Total Mileage: 12,525 km
    • In Newfoundland:     8,350 km approx.
  • Number of car problems:     1 (nail in tire)
  • Number of Shutter Clicks: 13,416
    • D800:   10,333
    • D5500:   3,083     
    • Approx. number of "keepers": 8,812
           Not out of focus or poor exposure or composition. Includes images stacked
           for merging as panos, HDR's, but not startrails (I discarded those after stacking).
  • Number of camera problems: 2 (dropped camera/wide angle lens, 400mm doesn't want to autofocus sometimes)
  • Number of times I went out in a boat: 6 not counting the ferry
  • Number of times I ate fish: approx. 15
         Note: this is a significant number since at home I NEVER eat fish
         Note: in Newfoundland, "Fish" means "Cod".
  • Number of icebergs I saw that weren't 15 miles away: 1. And it was just a little bergy bit. It just wasn't the year for them.
  • Number of whales I saw: about 12. 2 or 3 from boats, a few pictures, some tails, no breaches.
  • Number of moose I saw in all that driving: 0. That's zero. None.
  • Number of caribou: also 0. They don't exist. They're just a story they tell people from away.
  • Number of birds: Lots. Puffins, Gannets, gulls, sea birds, shore birds, check out my pictures!
  • Number of disagreements, testy moments: 1. In a Royal Bank who didn't want to serve me because I didn't reveal that I had an RBC client card. I don't count the time I got stopped for speeding because the nice RCM Policeman let me off with a warning!
  • Oh yeah, I forgot: 
    • Number of iPhones I stepped on and broke: 1
    • Number of times I dropped my camera: 1
  • Number of oil paintings I did. One. Not happy about that...
  • Number of charcoal/pencil sketches I did: 4. Really just three because I did the same scene twice. Again, not happy, I should have done more.
  • Number of waterproof rain jackets I bought: 2. Can't help myself!
  • Number of T-shirts I bought: 2. At Cape St. Mary's and a long sleeved one in Rocky Harbour.
  • Number of stuffed animals I bought: 2. I bought a Puffin as a decoy for Elliston and a Moose to remind me that they actually might exist. They're going to my granddaughters in New York. (don't tell them!)
  • Number of times I took out the two folding chairs I brought all that way: Zero. Ditto my light tent and light kit
  • Number of times I got up to shoot at dawn: 1.
It was a fantastic 2 months. I met some amazing people, saw some unparalleled scenery and wildlife, hiked much more than I thought I could, stayed in some great places, enjoyed a variety of weather ("you have to love the wind"!).

Am I coming back? You betcha, b'y.

If you are an outdoor type person, there's no excuse for not visiting the Rock. 


 Newfoundland is serious about their hiking trails. They are unbelievably scenic and extraordinarily well maintained, right down to putting chicken wire on boards crossing wet spots and carving "X's" in the steps so that hikers don't slip in the wet.

OK, now let's do some pictures to wrap up the trip. 

This was at the foot of the cliff where the house I rented was located.

I hiked out on the Cobbler's Path, East Coast Trail at Torbay Point twice: the first time I didn't make it all the way (before I decided that yes, I can actually walk!). This was from the second trip, and I got Amin to shoot a picture of me on the rocks at the end of the trail.  Photo credit: Amin Shivji 

If you look back from there, you get this view of the peninsula. On the right is Outer Cove, on the left, Europe! Here's a Google Map of the spot. 

Looking the other way, here's Amin at the very end. In the distance, can you see Greenland? No?

By the way, there are some very beautiful estates and estate lots on the road to this point. Awesome view of the ocean or the bay or both. We saw a sign offering a one-acre lot for $595,000. The former premier of Newfoundland (Danny Williams) lives there, along with other big names.

Just around the corner is the Ocean Science Centre, part of Memorial University. Very interesting architecture! 

North of Torbay is the northern part of the Avalon Peninsula. Since I like to drive my Subaru as far as I can until I run out of road (I call those rough dirt roads, "Suba-roads") we managed to get to the very end of the peninsula, at Cape St. Francis beyond Pouch Cove.

There used to be a manned lighthouse at this point, we were told by a local, but they tore it down and replaced it with an automated one and a helipad. They fly from here to the oil rigs in the North Sea and for Search and Rescue. The road goes up and down some challenging hills!

Just before you get there, you find this wonderful vista. I did a multi-shot pano here, you can see exquisite detail in a print or a blow-up.  We were told that there are literally dozens of shipwrecks on the rocks in this bay dating back centuries. 

In Pouch Cove itself, there are some slip ramps where small fishing boats are launched. They go up probably 100' on the cliff faces. This old boat is sitting at the top of one of them.

Bird Pictures

We went down to Cape St. Mary's together with Ray Mackey on a fog-less day (for a change!).  I took a lot of images including this one of a hen caring for her chick. 

Amin and Ray on the hike out to the rock where the Gannets nest. It's just to the right of Ray, near the end of the peninsula in the distance. The walk out is about a mile. 

The rock itself. It's late in the season so there are fewer gannets than there are mid-summer. You can blow up any image by clicking on it.

A young Northern Gannet in flight. They don't get that white colouring until they're a few years old 

Typical Gannet pose 

I shot this from on board the Molly Baun II, a tourboat out of Mobile, Newfoundland.

Common Murres, with some Thick-billed murres and some puffins thrown in for good measure. Can you imagine the smell? Shot from the Molly Baun at Gull Island in Witless Bay 

A puffin doing his best to take off after gorging himself on capelin. Also from the boat. 

Harlequin Ducks 

immature Spotted Sandpiper (no spots!) 

Parting Shots

We spent the last couple of days on the West coast, in Gros Morne and Stephenville/Port au Port before heading to Port aux Basques and the ferry home. Here are some closing images...




"One of these things doesn't belong here. One of these things isn't the same"!

I'll probably add another blog post in a while to summarize experiences, add some images and make some more recommendations for your upcoming trip to Newfoundland (you are coming, right?). 

In the meantime, "Long may your big jib draw"!

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