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Life in Newfoundland
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Moving to Prince Edward Island

Two years ago Marije and I left Newfoundland to live on Vancouver Island. It was an exciting new job opportunity that lured us out west back then, and now the same is happening all over again but in reverse:

We’re moving to Prince Edward Island!

Yes, Atlantic Canada! We’re both very happy with the news, we’re told that PEI is a beautiful place to live, and what’s more, it’s much closer to Newfoundland, the island we’ve been missing these last two years.

Right now I don’t really know how often I’ll be able to make it over to The Rock, but from our new home in PEI it’ll at least be possible to drop in every now and then, so I’m very excited!

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Summer hike on Flamber Head Path

Flamber Head Path is a beautiful forest trail that runs from the suspension bridge in old La Manche Village to Brigus South, passing countless cliffside viewpoints along the way.

One sunny summer morning in 2013 I hiked this trail from Brigus South up to Flamber Head and back, that’s about a 10 km return trip; the trail was very quiet and dry, just the way I like it.

Here are some pictures:

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Peaceful inner harbour, near the trailhead – Brigus South

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Looking back towards Brigus South – Flamber Head Path

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Minke whale on a mirror-like ocean – Flamber Head Path

Cliffs of Brigus Head Path (in the background) - Flamber Head Path

Cliffs of Brigus Head Path (in the background) – Flamber Head Path

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Harebells at Roaring Cove – Flamber Head Path

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A lion’s mane jellyfish – Flamber Head Path

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The always beautiful ‘Deep Cove’ – Flamber Head Path

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Underwater capelin

In Newfoundland, there is one simple question that brings people together on the beach, and on the Capelin Calendar, a question that defies time as it echoes through the ages:

Are the capelin rolling?

After a bit of a wait, the answer is a resounding Yes b’y, yes they are!

This weekend many of you saw them roll in places like Torbay, Lumsden, Middle Cove, Long Beach and Witless Bay, and many of you even shared your stories on the Capelin Calendar, very exciting!

The 2016 capelin season is not done by a long shot of course, many beaches still haven’t seen any capelin action and I expect they will follow in the weeks to come, so please stay tuned.:-)

Because you’ve probably already seen your share of capelin on the beach, here are some capelin underwater shots instead; I took these some summers ago by wading into the water with a waterproof camera.

Up near the shoreline the situation is quite amorous, with capelin swimming through sandy gravel that is caked with eggs:

Capelin in the surf - Middle Cove

Capelin in the surf – Middle Cove

Walk a little further into the surf and you’ll find capelin that are not quite ready to commit:

Well-behaved capelin, not quite ready to roll - Middle Cove

Well-behaved capelin, not quite ready to roll – Middle Cove

"Look b'ys, he's taking our picture!" - Middle Cove

“Look b’ys, he’s taking our picture!” – Middle Cove

Yes, it’s even more crowded underwater than on the beach😉

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Capelin watching

Although many visitors to our fair shores don’t realize it, capelin watching is no less interesting than whale watching. Without capelin, whales wouldn’t even show up in Newfoundland, these small fish are on the menu and the whales just can’t seem to get enough!

Right now is an excellent time to go capelin watching because capelin have already rolled on a select number of beaches around the island and presumably many more beaches will follow soon. If you have any capelin news, please step forward and share it on the Capelin Calendar.

A few summers back when I was hiking the East Coast Trail near Brigus South, I came upon a beach filled with eggs; evidence of a recent capelin rolling doesn’t get much more obvious than that:

A beach filled with capelin eggs - Brigus Head Path

A beach filled with capelin eggs – Brigus Head Path

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, all that stuff that looks like sand is not sand, it’s a blanket of eggs! Here’s a closer look:

Capelin eggs and seaweed - Brigus Head Path

Capelin eggs and seaweed – Brigus Head Path

Because the entire shoreline was filled with these tiny and delicate eggs, I was unable to approach the water to see if the capelin were still there, so I continued my hike up the headland to get a look at the cove from above:

Capelin by the thousands - Brigus Head Path

Capelin by the thousands – Brigus Head Path

Wow. As an experienced capelin watcher I have seen my share of capelin, but this was something special: the massive school of capelin was mesmerizing to watch, so beautiful, it was moving like one enormous single-minded animal, it even explored the shallows with its fingers stretched out, carefully exploring its surroundings, trying not to bump into things:

The capelin creature moves by touch - Brigus Head Path

The capelin creature moves by touch – Brigus Head Path

It wasn’t long before I noticed predators among the prey, as a seal popped up and swam right through the school of capelin, cutting a clear path wherever it went. Seabirds of all sorts were also present and diving down for an easy meal. As I was enjoying the show, I heard the telltale blow of whales nearby, so I quickly got up and moved to another viewpoint where I saw these guys:

Humpback whales - Brigus Head Path

Humpback whales – Brigus Head Path

Humpback tail - Brigus Head Path

Humpback tail – Brigus Head Path

Pretty cool right? As I often say, you never know what you’re going to find on the East Coast Trail!:-)

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Morning hike to Black Head North

Early July is a great time to go out on a morning hike: the sun comes up so early you can easily squeeze in a few hours of fresh air and scenery before work, there’s just no better way to start your day!

While I lived in Newfoundland I hiked the East Coast Trail as much as I could, including many early mornings when the sunrise lit up coves and cliffs that were usually cloaked in shadow.

Here are some photos from a hike that leads from Pouch Cove to Black Head North, over the first 5 km of Stiles Cove Path:

Morning light - Stiles Cove Path

Morning light – Stiles Cove Path

Sea stacks of Black Head Cove - Stiles Cove Path

Sea stacks of Black Head Cove – Stiles Cove Path

In the forest I ran into one of my favourite plants, frequently found on the side of the trail:

Crackerberries on the forest floor - Stiles Cove Path

Crackerberries on the forest floor – Stiles Cove Path

The open meadow at Black Head North gives you a lot to look at, including a distant preview of the northernmost East Coast Trail (Biscan Cove Path, seen in the background):

View from Black Head North - Stiles Cove Path

View from Black Head North – Stiles Cove Path

On the other side of Black Head North I caught a few glimpses of a minke whale at Chimney Gulch, but the sparkling water was too bright to get a good look:

Cliffs above Chimney Gulch - Stiles Cove Path

Cliffs above Chimney Gulch – Stiles Cove Path

The sun was up much higher on the way back, reaching into places that rarely see any light at all, like this small sea arch hidden below the trail:

Small sea arch at Sandy Cove - Stiles Cove Path

Small sea arch at Sandy Cove – Stiles Cove Path

Fishermen at Sandy Cove were busy checking their pots:

Fishermen hauling in their lobster pots - Stiles Cove Path

Fishermen hauling in their lobster pots – Stiles Cove Path

Return to Pouch Cove - Stiles Cove Path

Return to Pouch Cove – Stiles Cove Path

Closing in on Pouch Cove, my last stop was Shoe Cove, a natural resting point on the trail that comes with its own little beach:

Shoe Cove - Stiles Cove Path

Shoe Cove beach – Stiles Cove Path

Shoe Cove lupins - Stiles Cove Path

Shoe Cove lupins – Stiles Cove Path

After my hike, I picked up Marije at home, drove her to work, and got started with the rest of my day.:-)

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