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The wrap up of Newfoundland trip

July 2, 2007
 Sorry about the delay, our internet was down for part of the day that I had off and I had to get back to this later.  Without furthur ado… here is the last of the saga!
 
 
 I am wrapping up my tour of Newfoundland with the last few days we spent there when Jeff and I were able to do some more touring.  I can’t finish off without mentioning the goodness of the people we met there.  For the most part, I found the people we met to be much like good people I have met from anywhere else.  But that is just it, we met a lot of good people, and a day didn’t go by without someone giving us a smile and being helpful.  When I was doing some research for my last entry about Terry Fox, I watched a video about his welcome and send-off by the city.  The mayor put her robes and chain of office on him, and applause and friendly honking followed him through out his run out of the city.  At the time Terry did not have the notoriety that he did when he reached the middle of his tour.  Through their goodness they know how to give to people no matter what.  It was the same goodness that opened up homes to all the stranded air travellers on 9/11.
 
  One of the happy things about going to a conference is all the goodies you receive for attending.  You can go into any thrift store and easily find corporate give-aways in the form of bags and shirts, but I think that the lovely fabric shoulder bag we received with a puffin on the pocket will find a lot of use at home.  It has already served handily for travel and as grocery bag once for me.  At our tables we also got a "piece of the rock."  It was a palm sized rock, hand painted with scenes of Newfoundland.  Mine has a lighthouse on it and I like it a lot, it is a lovely gift.
  Whenever I look at my Puffin bag now I will be reminded about the tour we took with Gatherall’s boat tours.  It had been really warm day in St John’s, but thanks to living on the west coast we knew that it could be a bit chillier on the water and we dressed warm for our planned trip to Bull’s bay and the ecological preserve of Witless bay.
  The trip began in the community of Bay Bull’s about a 20 minute drive out of St John’s.  As we waited to board the roomy cataraman we watched a group of local children disembarking and having a bonfire by the beach.  One young boy picked up his accordian and started playing and singing while others threw rocks into the ocean, while adults lit the bonfire and set up the food on picnic tables.  We also got to meet a big, hairy Newfounland dog as a lady walking her dog showed him off for us.
  The Witless bay ecological preserve is 30 km south of St John’s and consists of several islands just the right distance away from the mainland that it is safe for many, many birds to nest away from predators.  There are thousands of puffins, murres, petrels, kittiwakes and other birds.  They nest, burrow or just lay their eggs on the side of the rock and raise their babies in relative safety.  They spend the rest of their time feasting on little fish called caiplins in the sea surrounding the islands.
  There were so many birds flying overhead the tour guide suggested if we look up we should keep our mouths closed.  Puffins are really cute looking characters that appear to be designed by committee.  They are also called sea parrots because of their bright orange beaks and feet.  They are small little birds (about the size of a parrot) that do quite well swimming underwater to catch fish, and if they catch and eat alot, find it quite difficult to launch into flight afterwards and scuttle along the water flapping their little wings like mad.  In any case that is they way they fly, they have such stout bodies that their wings seem to almost have to beat as fast as a hummingbird’s to get anywhere.
 
 
 
 The extra few days that we spent we had more time to visit the city.  We took our time and visited an art gallery/museum called The Rooms.  It was fantastic to see the artwork of the East coast and learn more about the history of the people who settled there.  Those early fishermen were really tough!  We also enjoyed a gallery with student artwork and photography.  There was one student work that was a tribute to the premier called "Marjorie’s Man" that was really delightful in the details.  They had a photograph of the first airplane that visited Newfoundland called Vimy Vicker’s, which is a really old WW1 bomber.  

  The Geo Centre was also fascinating and was quite the thought provoker.  We learned a lot about the history of the earth and how it formed.  One display showed several globes with a "you are here" spot as time progressed and the continents formed and shifted.  At some points in history the current position of Newfoundland was once in the middle of the ocean and even once on the West coast of the continent!  There was also a display with several clear plastic square pillars containing sand.  The first had a handful of sand with approximately 75 grains that representated the length of a human lifetime.  The second pillar was about the size of a bar fridge filled with sand and  contained a grain of sand for each year representating the time since dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Then there was one that reached the ceiling filled with sand and representated the time since the earth has been around.  The centre also had displays that were very informative about the Titanic (which sank a ways off the coast of Newfoundland) and the Hibernia oil rigs and the work that goes on there.  I didn’t know that they are also at risk for icebergs, but that they have boats and spotters, and they actually have tugboats that go out to the icebergs and tow them away from drifting into the drilling platform.
http://www.geocentre.ca/earth.shtml
 
  The last days of touring we rented a car and took off to see the countryside.  We took a trip along the Killick coast.  A killick is a sort of a homemade anchor which was used commonly.  The area is North of St John’s along Conception bay.  It has some fantastic views of the coast and beautiful and picturesque towns and villages.
 
 
 
  We also took a ferryride to Bell Island from Portugal cove.  Their system is so much simpler then BC Ferries, you line up with your car and when the boat gets there you pay as you drive on.  I guess if you decide you don’t want to go after all you can just get out of line and no problem. 
  Bell Island was a lovely drive around with great scenery.  We went to visit an iron mine that was in use until 1960, and now is a museum and tour. 
  Downtown on the island they also have several pretty murals on their buildings.  Bell Island is also known as having been the only place in North America to have seen enemy action in World War 2. 
  "The pier, where 80,000 tons of iron ore was stored for shipping, was torpedoed by German U-boats in 1942.  At low tide you can see the relics of the 4 ships that were sunk during the attack and on shore stands a memorial to the 69 men who lost their lives." quote from Tourism and economic development brochure. 
  We did not visit the site as I don’t believe it was low tide, and the fog was starting to come in.  Our trip back on the ferry we decided to get out of the car and stand on the upper deck.  We met another couple with a nurse from the convention who had stayed on to visit and we all tried to spot a whale.  We didn’t see any but we did have a nice view.
  After that it was back to the comfy little bed and breakfast that we were staying in.  It was in a heritage house and our room was on the main floor just off of where the large front room would have been.  They had converted part of the main room with the fireplace into a bedroom.  It had stained glass windows and a whirlpool hot tub.  The bed was very soft and comfy and the kitchen was open to our use at any time.  They did not prepare our breakfast, but provided supplies that we could help ourselves at anytime.  It really suited us because we are not big get up in the morning and eat types, and we were able to sleep in a bit and have snacks later in the day as well.
 
  Finally we had to go home and try to adjust back to the Pacific time zone.  I had so much fun I would really like to go back some day. 
 
 Click on the pictures below for a last few pictures. 
 
 You can also take a look at pictures from my online photo album at http://groups.msn.com/SusansDigitalPhotos
 
 
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