Thursday, August 13, 2015

Puffins and the Rock

August 11, 2015

Had a good ride from Pugwash to the ferry in North Sydney NS.  I had some time to kill before I had to be there so I thought I'd find a provincial park to hang out in.  I picked one off the gps and made my way toward it.  But when I got there, I didn't see any park.  But on the way I saw some signs for puffin watching boat tours.  I decided to check that out.  

I arrive at the place and asked the details about the tour.  "Leaves in about half an hour; 3 hour tour so returns to the dock at 8pm; plenty of time to get to the ferry which is only 15 mins away."  Perfect.  

We motored out to a couple of islands where there were several species of birds including puffins.  There were puffins, razorbills (similar to puffins), northern gannets, 2 species of cormorants, bald eagles, blacked backed gulls and herring gulls.  There were also a bunch of gray seals there.  They were in the water and would poke their heads up out of the water to watch us go by.  It was a great tour.  I'm glad I went.

Gray seals poking their heads out of the water to look at us.

Puffin.  That's the best I could do.  The boat was bouncing around, the birds were moving, even though they were close they were too far for the camera to catch well.  What can I say?

I know this is pathetic, but this is a razorbill.  Sorry.

This one is actually a little better.

Hey!  It was hard to get a decent pic!!  

Cormorants.  Adults and immature; Great and Double-crested.

Got to the ferry and found out I got a cabin!!  Boy and am I glad I did!  I saw the reserved seating and it was kinda like bus seats.  A little more room than an airplane and the seats reclined some.  The cabin was great!  It had a bathroom and shower and it felt so good to lay down.  I slept well although not for all that long because the ship sailed just before midnight and got in to Newfoundland at about 6am.  At 5 am they announced over the loud speaker that docking was in 1 hour.

My room on the ferry.

It had its own bathroom with shower.  So nice!

On the Rock

August 12, 2015

Motorcycles were first on the ferry and the first off.  The weather was gray, cold and dreary but not raining yet.  I rode up to Rocky Harbour and got a room in a hostel.  A bed actually but no one else was in the room.  On the ride up, I had a really hard time staying awake.  I was really fighting it.  So as soon as I got to the hostel, I figured I lay down for a few minutes and rest.  I slept for 3 hours.  So glad I stopped and didn't try to push on.  I needed that sleep.  

There were 2 guys at the hostel - Paul and Marco.  Paul reminded me of Paul Lynd with his voice and mannerisms.  He was very funny and animated and full of travel info.  Right away he started telling me where to eat, where to get this, how to do that.  He was nonstop with info.  Good stuff too!  I really needed a recorder or shorthand.  I hope I can remember a little of it.  

Marco reminded me of a much thinner Chris Farley.  He had the accent of Chris Farley.  He was a kind soul.  A photographer by trade.  On Newfoundland for work and taking a little time for himself as well.  He had a bunch of food and said he'd take me to the fish market to get some scallops and he'd cook dinner for me and Paul.  $5 for a whole mess of fresh scallops.  Oh man, was it good too.  We all sat and talked and had a good time.

The rain started after I got to Rocky Harbour.  It continued all night and all day today.  I had wanted to stay to do some hiking around Gros Morne National Park but decided to move on because the weather was supposed to be a little better at L'anse aux Meadows.  Then in a few days, it should be better at Rocky Harbour.  So I rode up to L'anse aux Meadows today.  Off and on rain all day.  But light.  No frog stranglers.

I'm staying at a B&B.  It's only $65 a night so that's about $50 US.  The hostel was $35 which is way too much for what it was.  The bed was a bunk bed with a mattress what was...  like a plastic mattress-shaped bag stuffed with...  toilet paper maybe?  It was bad.  But the company made it good.  Anyway, the B&B is right across the street from L'anse aux Meadows.

I went over and walked around and took a bunch of pics.  They're uploading now.  I'll probably have to update this post later with pics.  It's incredible to think about the Vikings sailing across to Iceland and Greenland and to here.  Oh, a guy staying here at the B&B from Norway said that the Vikings named Iceland Iceland and Greenland Greenland when it should have been reversed.  He said Greenland is nothing but ice and Iceland has very fertile land on the coasts.  He said the Vikings wanted to mess with people's minds so they named the green fertile island Iceland and the icy one Greenland.  I thought that was funny whether it's true or not.  

Since it's cold and rainy out and supposed to be nicer tomorrow, I thought I'd try uploading pics and updating this blog.  I'm kind of tired anyway.  I'm going to see if anyone here is going to dinner and see if I can go with them.  

Oh, something I learned last night from Marco:  United Airlines uses one ply toilet paper.  So don't fly United.  LOL!

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