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Beautiful Newfoundland

August 12, 2016 0 Comments

After arriving a week ago, here’s few thoughts on Newfoundland, or NF as it’s known locally.

Woody Point at Gros More National Park in Newfoundland

Woody Point at Gros More National Park in Newfoundland

Newfoundland is an island above Nova Scotia, both provinces of Canada. We came here to fill in some time until the Cruiser arrives from Hamburg. We hired a car and then proceeded to find what a jewel of a place Newfoundland is.

We’ve been to 34 countries so far on his trip and as a destination, NF is a top five contender.

The driving force was Lynn to track down and experience the land described in a book called, “The Shipping News”. Thanks for that Adam.

This area has not disappointed. It’s no surprise the people here are wonderful. Our experience with people from 34 countries matches the program. What sets the bar a little higher is that Newfoundlanders, (Newfies), are so polite, aware of your personal space, so ready to be of assistance, genuinely keen to help wherever they can.

We met so many visitors, like us, who had been assisted, above expectations, like finding lodging when their hotel is full, fixing cars, delaying charter boats, showing people where to go, by taking them, and, unlike Moroccans, not expecting a penny.

They have a sharp sense of fun and a good sense of humour. Their broad NF accent is easier to understand the later in the evening it is!

We hit NF in a peak summer week, and lodgings were heavily booked. It appeared tourists were Canadians, who I think, have a wonderful nature. The mix of mainland Canadians and Newfies made the trip a memorable one.

The land is wild, windy and stormy. The vegetation ranges from Arctic heath (low level spiky stuff) to rocky desert appearance, where the ground is acidic and nothing will grow. Lots of pine and fir trees. A busy forest logging industry, feeding the pulp and paper mill at Corner Brook.

Village Bay in Gros More National Park in Newfoundland

Village Bay in Gros More National Park in Newfoundland

The National Parks are a treat. All the area of island we visited were clean, very clean. I remember one seven km walk where I saw one ‘popsicle’, stick about 40mm long. Nothing else! Fantastic.

We are fortunate to live on the NSW Mid North Coast, where we see whales migrate up and down the coast. But, at St Anthony’s, on NF, we saw humpbacks as thick as hairs on a dogs back and in the Cove (inlet, or harbour) was sitting a huge iceberg! The berg drifted into the cove, got near the end and grounded. It would have shown 60m long, 20m wide, and sitting up 6m. Ninety percent of it is under the water. To top it off, a seal was sitting on the berg, watching the world go by.

Unless you go to the Arctic or Antarctic, you are unlikely to see both together. We are told the berg was rare, late for this time of the year.

I could rabbit on about NF for a long time, but, it’s your lucky day! I won’t!

One little story though. Just to give you an idea of the island community (400,000 people and, depending on who you speak to, 100,000 or 140,000 or 300,000 or 400,000 moose!).

We stayed at the Hotel CornerBrook. It’s a clean, well-staffed hotel at the back of the pulp and paper mill. Anyway, there’s a little bar/disco thing next door. Pretty dark, lots of character, and full of characters. The barmaid, Angie, 40 odd, a champion.

I got to like an oil painting on the wall, an impression of Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow actually), as it reminded me so much of our timber boat trip from Sumatra to Batam. Angie couldn’t raise the pub owner, so I left resigned.

About 200km up the road, at our new digs in Port au Choix, at the Sea Echo Motel, we were having a late night cup of tea with the owner and his partner. They were going to CornerBrook the next day and the CornerBrook Hotel was his cousin’s before he sold it three years ago. He knew the owner of the adjacent pub and they knew Angie. So when they were in CornerBrook, they would pop in to get that painting, or the artist, who they knew, to paint another one.

We were doubling back to Sea Echo two days later, so we could re-group. Good to his word, they had tracked down the artist and were putting us together. Easy!

The first night at Sea Echo Motel was the example of the later in the night it is, the easier the local language/accent is to understand!

Of interest were comments that the dialect around the island varies dramatically as you move around. A fellow at Port au Basque was telling us that there are a few villages about 100km east, where the dialect changes dramatically for EACH village.

We couldn’t prove it, but we did notice huge differences in accent, even as we moved around the West Peninsula.

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