Wednesday June 1st 2005
Vacation: I drove up from rocky Harbour to St. Anthony, stopping at the Arches provincial park. One of the arches in this rocky formation on the coast has collapsed within living memory – so said the Tourist Info person at Port Aux Basques. I tell you standing under the arches and thinking that is a bit intimidating. I continued up the coast and took some long pictures from a cliff of a dory doing lobster ‘fishing’ near Daniel’s Harbour and drove in and around a town called Cow Head. No aforementioned body parts found.
Things got interesting in Port Saunders. I saw a black bear at the side of the road driving into town. Despite no where on most side roads to pull over, I have got quite adept at this and grabbing the camera and switching to the long lens, changing filters and shooting. I think my spur of the moment driving would be too much for a passenger given the impulsiveness of my stops, but I didn’t have to worry about that. The bear was about 100 feet away or so after I passed it and pulled over. It was pretty small as bears go and after two or three minutes it had enough of me and crossed the road and into the forest beyond. Curiously I wasn’t afraid. I have never seen a bear in person and not in a zoo so I quite certainly should have been. Standing outside by the tail of the CRV and watching it was pretty exciting.
In Port Saunders I saw the largest working dock facility I have seen to this point and watched the crew of the Good Venture load ice from square plastic bins. I had seen lots of these bins in towns and villages to this point and didn’t know what they were for. Light blue and with an interior volume of about 1.3 cubic M I guess they are filled with crushed ice that is dumped or shoveled into the holds of the fishing boats to keep the catch fresh. The crew were quite amused with me taking pictures with my camera and thought I was a reporter. “Gee make yerself presentable – a photographer.” And “You’re going to be in the New York times der b’ye” and similar comments as the worked.
Port aux Choix has wreck of a grounded boat with a hull outline of a ferry like those in the Toronto Islands or perhaps one of the trawlers you can see in Port Stanley. And a Subway where I got a bite to eat. It’s supposed to be a big Lobster town, but talking with a guy earlier in the day at Parson’s Pond where I stopped to stretch my legs said there was precious little of that going on and if you exceed your quota the fines are huge and not worth it.
A bit farther up the coast, near Doctor’s Creek I saw my first moose followed about 20 minutes later by my second. No antlers. Eating by the side of the road as moose are apt to do. They do this, I found out, partially due to the salt from the roads, and also from the fact that when the roads were made they really turned over the earth in the immediate area and made for better plant growth. It is the same reason why you see dotted up and down the roads these small fenced in gardens where people are growing vegetables. Most of the land isn’t arable, so these patches of industrially tilled earth is quite useful. And there is really no stealing of crops or anything apparently.
I continued up all the way to Flowers Cove with little stopping (you have a map to follow on with right?) and found some cool abandoned boats at the end of a spit at the end of a very cratered and unmaintained road. My suspension is taking a beating! I then turned inland away from the Straits of Belle Isle still on highway 430 through Savage, Nameless, Shoal, Glenn, Island and Eddies Coves.
A comment on the geography. Up to about Port Aux Choix you are flanked on one side by ocean vistas and the other by fjords and mountains – the ones I have posted. Then it turns barren and tundra like, marshes. Pale browns and dead trees with ponds trapped in them. Much different scenery. I thought going through all those tiny villages – really no more than a cluster of a dozen houses and huts in most cases – that this was certainly an inhospitable land. It must be brutal here in the midst of winter. On one curve of the road there were these 10-15 foot high sticks on both sides as you went around the corner. It was some time before I realized that these were for marking the road when there are huge snow drifts. They are there so you don’t plunge off the side in a storm – or just when there is lots of snow! That has to be a lot of snow.
Final highlight of the day was going down the last stretch of the 430 before St. Anthony along the south side of the Pistolet Bay and having a CL -215T water bomber shoot across the road right to left at about 40 feet and drop water on a brush fire. At first I thought it was a demonstration or an airport nearby but when I pulled over – this time I wasn’t alone – there was a fairly descent section of brush on fire. First the yellow bomber and then a second orange one made successive passes from different angles and elevations on the fire being coordinated by a helicopter and firefighters from the St. Anthony’s fire dept. At 1/2500 you can freeze the props on an airplane I found out. I had never shot an airplane in this way and unscripted – ie no airshow or runway and it was quite interesting to watch this from different view points and distances. The last shots being from about a km away. Made for a nice sequence or two.
I am in the Vineland Hotel for two nights here in St. Anthony. And at this particular end of the Universe there is a Tim Horton’s. Here in SW Ontario we are used to a TH location every few blocks. But it has been literally 800 km since I saw one in Cornerbrook. (** I missed one in Deer Lake apparently as I found out on the way back. So say 740km) . A reminder of civilization. A large double double to go. Was easier to ask for than a large two cream one sugar I found given various accents and languages…
:: Mike Wood 16:59 [+] ::