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Life in Newfoundland

Coastal exploration of Spout Path

Back in August 2011, I went on a zodiac tour of the cliffs below Spout Path, it was great!

After arriving¬†at O’Brien’s in Bay Bulls all the passengers¬†were¬†sized up by the captain and fitted with bright¬†orange safety suits, which felt¬†very¬†hot on this blue-sky summer’s day.

The small vessel we boarded was called the Kingfisher, and soon enough it bolted away from the docks, onto the Atlantic Ocean, where every one of the eight passengers was treated to a generous amount of cold seawater that blew over the bow and straight into our grinning faces. The orange suits sure came in handy at this point!

After a lively trip over the waves the boat made a beeline for the coast and brought us to the Spout, the peculiar freshwater blowhole this part of the East Coast Trail is so famous for:

The Spout, as seen from the water ‚Äď Spout Path

The Spout, as seen from the water ‚Äď Spout Path

Several Spout-eruptions later the¬†boat turned south and continued along the coast at a leisurely pace, giving us a great look at all the familiar landmarks and quite a few new ones. The many sea caves and sea arches in particular were new to me, because¬†you can’t really get a proper look at those from the trail:

Sea cave below the trail - Spout Path

Sea cave below the trail – Spout Path

A delicate sea arch, almost invisible from the trail above - Spout Path

A delicate sea arch, almost invisible from the trail above – Spout Path

Captain Brian expertly navigated cave after cave, some were so small the vessel would hardly fit but it always worked out somehow. Entering the caves was always accompanied by moving through a curtain of water dripping from the cliffs above, and often there were large jellyfish in the water and young kittiwakes watching us from their nests.

Inside one of the many sea caves along the coast - Spout Path

Inside one of the many sea caves along the coast – Spout Path

Lion's mane jellyfish - Spout Path

Lion’s mane jellyfish – Spout Path

Sea Stack Cove - Spout Path

Sea Stack Cove – Spout Path

As we passed the enormous sea stack in Sea Stack Cove we were joined by three bald eagles soaring overhead, each of them complaining about our presence, as eagles always do:

Bald eagle at Sea Stack Cove - Spout Path

Bald eagle at Sea Stack Cove – Spout Path

Another beautiful sea arch - Spout Path

Another beautiful sea arch – Spout Path

After viewing another dozen coastal marvels the boat shot into gear again, racing over the ocean surface and soaking us all over again. Even with the shower of salty spray dousing us, I couldn’t help but smile throughout the whole thing.

Near the Bull Head Light¬†we slowed down for a brief encounter with a whale, but it didn’t give us much to look at aside from¬†a few flicks of its tail.¬†That’s quite alright¬†Mr. Whale, this time I came for the sceneryūüôā

After three hours on the water we made it back to the harbour, where I was happy to get out of my crazy suit, what a perfect day on the water!


Lion’s mane jellyfish

In waters far colder than ours, lion’s mane jellyfish can reach¬†monstrous sizes. With¬†tentacles trailing more than 30 metres behind their huge bells, these bad boys¬†grow¬†longer¬†than even the longest blue whales…

In Newfoundland, the largest specimens I’ve seen are about the size of a large man, not nearly¬†as colossal¬†as the ones up¬†North but still something you wouldn’t want to get tangled up in!

Here’s a small orange one, seen up close from the dock at Tappers Cove:

Lion's mane jellyfish - Father Troy's Trail

Lion’s mane jellyfish – Father Troy’s Trail

This next guy is a bit larger, seen in Deep Cove on Flamber Head Path:

Lion's mane jellyfish - Deep Cove, Flamber Head Path

Lion’s mane jellyfish – Deep Cove, Flamber Head Path

The last shot from Motion Path clearly shows these jellyfish come in purple too:

Lion's manes in Fortune Cove - Motion Path

Lion’s manes in Fortune Cove – Motion Path

On your next hike, be sure to keep a look out for these guys, because there are absolutely everywhere!


Get ready for the 2016 Perseids!

The peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower is coming up, and in Newfoundland that means you need to get ready and have a good look at the weather forecast.

This year’s show¬†will¬†peak on the night of August 11-12, but looking at the current St. John’s forecast that night is going to be quite cloudy. A better night to witness the spectacle will be the after-peak night of August 12-13, which as of right¬†now still has a favourable forecast.

Alternatively, any reasonably clear night this week will do, as the Perseids are already here, just not peaking yet.

Astronomers have predicted a big¬†outburst for this year’s shower, forecasting¬†an incredible 200 meteors per hour at its¬†peak! If in any way you can plan a night outside, do so, because you’re not going to want to miss this!

The¬†best place¬†to see the Perseids¬†is any¬†place suitably dark and far away from the¬†city lights. Meteors and fireballs will be streaking across the entire night sky, so there’s no need to look in a particular direction. The best hours to watch are the dark hours between 1am¬†and 4am.

Have fun!

August 11 Update
Tonight will be the peak night of the event, and the current Clear Sky Chart for St. John’s is looking promising: it’s not completely clear but more than good enough to go outside tonight during the actual peak! Other good places to watch the show¬†from Newfoundland tonight include Bonavista, Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Gros Morne, Springdale and Twillingate.

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