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Life in Newfoundland

Iceberg hunting on the Great Northern Peninsula

We’re nearing the end of our stay on the west coast of Newfoundland, and I’m glad to say we’ve already achieved everything we came for.

These last few days we’ve been touring the Great Northern Peninsula, visiting every little harbour we can get to. We’ve seen dozens upon dozens of icebergs, they’re present everywhere we go, albeit in the far distance. From some viewpoints we’ve seen as many as 33 of these distant giants, a spectacular sight if you’re carrying binoculars. The icebergs closer to land are less numerous, so we’ve only seen a handful of those.

Sea ice is still present in many areas, very scenic but also problematic for the local fishermen and tour boats. Here’s a shot from Cape Norman that shows the sea ice:

Sea ice all the way to Labrador – Cape Norman

On the wildlife side we’ve been incredibly lucky as well. We’ve seen humpback whales, minke whales and killer whales, harp seals, grey seals and harbours seals, moose, caribou, and many smaller mammals, and of course all kinds of birds above sea and land.

For more details, check out the frequent updates I’ve been adding to my whales and iceberg sightings pages.

Winter wonderland, in May

We were supposed to be in the middle of iceberg country by now, but the weather had other plans for us. Upon leaving Cape St. George we received an ominous snow warning for La Scie, our next destination, and special weather warnings for many other areas on the west coast as well.

Faced with ice pellets, freezing rain, and up to 35cm of snow in LaScie, we decided to cancel our stay there in favour of safer accommodations closer by. It’s not that I don’t like snow, it’s our rental car with all-season tires that has difficulty dealing with these serious amounts.

After a one-night stay in the snowy but relatively balmy Corner Brook, the worst of the weather is behind us now and we are currently in Gros Morne National Park. In spite of the weather, we are having a great time, here’s a picture from the road:

Snow on the Tablelands – Gros Morne National Park

Home for a visit

After an absence of nearly three years, today I’m ‘back home’, back in my beloved Newfoundland, if only for a brief visit.

My mom and I arrived in Port aux Basques early this morning, we’re here for a 12 day visit, touring much of the west coast of the island on a quest to see moose and icebergs, two things I’ve been missing for quite a while now.

Within our very first hour on the Rock I was reacquainted with two things I hadn’t actually missed: black flies, which were as annoying as ever, and potholes, that have somehow gotten even worse. Of course, one look at the scenery was enough to make me forget all about those pesky critters and bad roads, even with less than stellar weather:

Old stone lighthouse – Rose Blanche

Today I saw lighthouses, barrens, mountains, marshes, beaches, cliffs, snow, sunshine, hundreds of seals and even whales, yes whales, swimming right below me at Cape St. George, on my very first day on the island!

While I will obviously be quite busy in the coming days, I’ll try to post an update every now and then, certainly on my whale page and iceberg page when I see anything, but I’ll share most of the pictures after I finish the trip in early June.

Please stay tuned, I have a feeling this is going to be an excellent trip!

Iceberg underneath a starry sky

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to visiting Newfoundland this month, there are so many icebergs right now and I want to see as many of them as possible!

Until that time, memories will have to do, so here are some photos from a cool night in May 2012, on beautiful Stiles Cove Path.

There had been icebergs in Pouch Cove every day that week, and while I’d already taken my fair share of pictures, I wanted something special for my next shoot, so out at night I went:

Iceberg underneath a starry sky – Stiles Cove Path

That’s pretty special, if I do say so myself… I only hoped for a field of stars above the iceberg, but I got a galaxy and a shooting star as a bonus!

That bright fuzzy thing near the top is the Andromeda Galaxy, when you’re out at night you can’t really see it with the naked eye but it does often show up in my night photos. The same goes for that faint shooting star, somehow I always manage to get them near the edge of the frame, oh well, it’s a nice shot regardless. 🙂

The lens I used for the above shot wasn’t nearly wide enough to capture the Milky Way  sparkling overhead, so for that shot I got out my fisheye lens, which is so wide it curves the horizon itself:

Milky Way over the iceberg – Stiles Cove Path

Yep, that’s me in the picture, who can resist taking a selfie with an iceberg and the Milky Way?

As night slowly turned into dawn, I left the cliffs of Pouch Cove and hiked out to Stiles Cove itself to see the sunrise:

Distorted sunrise – Stiles Cove Path

As the sun peeked over the edge, the morning sky distorted its appearance, making it look like a squashed orange. Those dark spots on the sun are actual sunspots, many times the size of earth. After a few minutes the sun was strong enough to light up the cove:

Sunrise in Stiles Cove – Stiles Cove Path

Ah, fond memories,.. and I’m sure I will soon make some brand new memories when I arrive in Newfoundland!

East Coast Trail Guide, version 1.5

After a big update in March, I’ve just published a small update to the East Coast Trail Guide, which brings the following improvements:

  • New links have been added to the Useful Websites section.
  • Brand new ‘weekend ideas’ have been added to the Camping section, suggesting how to make the best use of the official East Coast Trail campsites in the many spring and summer weekends ahead of us.
  • Several small corrections have been made throughout the book.

If you already have the East Coast Trail Guide, you can get this free update through the update feature in your iBooks app.

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