All of Newfoundland is dear to me, but I have a special place in my heart for Twillingate and Fogo Island.
Both are fantastic places to get away from it all, I’ve been there several times in the past few years and I’m already looking forward to my next visit. Since that won’t be for a while yet, let me tell you the tale of a visit from a few years back:
It’s early April 2011 and I’m longing to see sea ice. Like every other year I dutifully watch the ice forecasts and satellite images, I see the sea ice approaching but not reaching St. John’s.
I figure if the sea ice won’t come to me I’ll just have to go to the sea ice instead, so I pack up my things and drive to Central Newfoundland, with no particular destination in mind.
After 7 hours of driving through all kinds of weather I find what I’m looking for in Salt Harbour, on New World Island. At this point it’s close to sunset and after taking the advice from a friendly local I set out on a trail that leads me to this view:
You can imagine how happy I was to arrive on the scene with all this golden light and sea ice moving in the surf. There was even a small iceberg there, or the remains of one at least:
After a good night’s rest in a Twillingate inn I spent most of the following day exploring the local hiking trails and drove around to see if I could find any wildlife:
In Toogood Arm I saw a pair of ravens eating a dead seal pup, a big lunch for these two lucky birds. Every spring you can find these ‘white coats’ on the ice here, some make it, most don’t, that’s nature:
After taking in the sights and sounds of the many small harbours on Twillingate and New World Island I joined the lineup for the 4:15 ferry to Fogo. On the approach to the island I was already able to spot several coves filled with sea ice and even a few icebergs. Exciting!
Once I was on the island I drove all the way across, just to see what I could find. I liked the look of the blue sky above Joe Batt’s Arm so this is where I got out, walking the trail to the Long Studio:This beautiful black box always grabs my attention, it somehow looks like it doesn’t belong but at the same time like it’s always been there, left by an alien culture to both puzzle and delight visiting photographers.
The bay in front of the Studio was filled with ice, big chunks of which had crawled up onto the shore:
After the sunset I walked back to the car, and somewhere along the way was joined by a fox. The friendly animal was perfectly happy following me on the trail at first, but soon it veered away and made me follow it instead. Keeping up with a fox is hard, but it always leads to something interesting, in this case I observed the fox for nearly half an hour as it hunted down a mouse somewhere underneath the snow: Eventually the mouse was found and quickly dispatched. The fox moved on, vanishing into the darkness, and I returned to my car with a big smile on my face.
That evening I found a place to sleep in Stag Harbour, where I was approached by a wobbly man from Port aux Basques. He had clearly had a few drinks too many and enthusiastically joined me on a pizza-quest across the island, before keeping me awake for most of the night, banging on his empty motel room door after having lost his key.
After sleeping in the next morning I once again woke up to blue skies, and continued my explorations of the island, starting with an invigorating walk up Brimstone Head:As you may know, Brimstone Head is one of the 4 corners of the flat earth, so I was very careful not to fall off the edge.
For the remainder of the day I drove through all the little towns and harbours, taking in as much fresh air and scenery as I could.
The Fogo Island Inn is quite famous now, but back then it was still in the early stages of construction. What a location!
At the end of this last beautiful day of my island getaway I returned to Joe Batt’s Arm for one last sunset, and I was not disappointed: