Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Ferry to
there would be), fishing boats, and lots of scenery. We went on the Western Brook Pond boat trip that took us up a pond formed by the closing off of a fjiord millions of years ago, the fjiord having been formed by glacial excavation even more millions of years ago and rocks that are apparently some of the oldest on the planet. The water in the pond is so pure and ion free that it doesn’t conduct electricity, and it has taken several million years of draining out the sea water and replacing it with glacier melt and rain water to get to that state. It is a truly impressive landscape, and I’d recommend the trip to anyone thinking of coming out this way.
Apparently the land that makes up
After a couple of days in Gros Morne, consisting of the boat trip and a couple of extra mini-hikes, making a good 15km day of strange scenery and lookouts, we headed out early on the Sunday to get the short ferry over to Fogo Island.
I agree, it’s not somewhere I’d heard of either, but it was at the top of Smitch’s list of places she wanted to visit, so I guess I owed it to her to tag along. The name Fogo comes from the Portuguese word ‘fuego’, meaning fire. The Portuguese were the first visitors in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s, on account of the good fishing, before the French settled in the 1720’s and the English took over in the 1750’s. Its other main claim to fame is that the Flat Earth Society (who believe the world is indeed flat and the only reason governments don’t agree is because it would bring down society and education as we know them. Go figure….) recognise Brimstone Head in the town of
I have used the time on the island to try and get some artsy-fartsy photos of fishing boats and coastlines, but I’m not too sure how successful I’ve been. At least they are digital and easily delete-able!
As for the title of the blog…well, I took my kiteout today on a beach on Fogo, and it was AMAZING!! The wind was strong enough that I was forced to lean back into it to avoid being pulled over, and was still dragged along the beach by the pull of the kite, which was, itself, on dynamite form with its swoops and dives. I was holding it together pretty well, getting a workout into the bargain and decided to let Smitch have ago. Sure enough she crashed it (and she wonders why I don’t let her behind the wheel of the car) – although, fair dos, it was her first time flying this beast, and in extreme conditions to boot. I got her air-born again, and before I could cover the 30m sprint to where she was standing, she nearly took my head off with the strings, as she scythed it across the beach and crashed it again. A lesser man, or indeed a child, would have been neatly sliced in to 3 pieces by the cheese-wire effect. I, however, was left with only a couple of nice friction burns across my right cheek and forehead, which have been getting me some peculiar looks over the last few days as they have scabbed up rather more dramatically than the picture shows. I just hope they don’t leave a more permanent mark! I soldiered on, took back control, and 5 minutes later one of the strings broke, pin-wheeling the kite into the sand for the last time that day. Beaten by the wind and eaten by the beach!! I have now fixed the kite, however, and will be back for more somewhere else. Down, but not out. It’s back to the mainland of Newfie tomorrow, then down to
Time has passed. It does that, so I’m told, but on this occasion more time has passed than I intended between blog entries. When last we met, I was still up on Gaspé Peninusla, hoping for a good night’s sleep, which I got. It took two more days of driving to get to Halifax, one along the last part of the peninsula, the second done almost entirely in the rain, causing us to bypass the Bay of Fundy (largest tides in the world) and head straight to
Smitch’s ‘cottage’ then…not so much a cottage as a mansion, with 5 bedrooms, several bathrooms, huge decks and lakeside views. It is actually her dad’s retirement home…or rather the second home he will move to when he retires and wants to get away from the rat race of
Alas, when I got there, the promised rock formations, about which I had been most specific in my request, were sadly missing, and only a red clay tidal bed was visible. Very disappointing, so I left and stopped in a small town called Wolfsville for lunch. A nice quiet lunch, I thought but, within moments of sitting down to eat, I was unexpectedly joined by a lady with fairly severe learning disabilities – meet Terry. She just sat herself down at my table with a big smile, a vacant stare and line of drool, and her carer politely apologised for the intrusion and tried to encourage her to go inside instead. She was having none of it, however, so after about 5 minutes of slightly awkward small talk between me and the carer (Caitlin), I did the chivalrous thing and invited her to join us, and we had lunch together. It went without a hitch, although I had to make sure I was looking anywhere other than at Terry, who had a massive appetite but not a lot of coordination when it came to targeting, or indeed much retention when it came to keeping the food in the required location for swallowing. She put away a double helping nonetheless, and there was far less collateral wastage than I had expected to see. Some how, her system turned out to be pretty efficient.
I got back to the cottage after another 8 hour day in the car, which was the last thing I’d wanted, and I hadn’t even got to see the Fundy rocks for my trouble, so that went to the return-leg list. The rest of the time at the cottage was far more restful, and by the time we set off for
Aaah, motivation and the lack thereof…The problem I was facing, it transpired, was that everyone who had suggested that so much driving in such a relatively short space of time would be bloody hard had been right, and I (who maintained it would be a breeze, I’d done South America after all, which was much bigger) had been wrong. My blasé attitude to the distances I would have to cover and the time in the car it would take to do so was wearing thin, and I was starting to hate being in the car. I was, however, too close to my goal of getting out to both coasts to be able to stop now, or even share the driving. How could I say I had driven from Tofino to
Forgoing the full Cape Trail, we cut back to North Sydney (people – mostly Americans- have actually been to Sydney in Nova Scotia thinking it was the one in Oz. True story.) in time to take the 6 hour ferry to Newfoundland. Which I will talk about in the next entry, as other wise this one will become too long!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
First order of business: photos uploaded to flicker, see the link on this page.
So, a week of R & R in Waterloo, catching gigs, going on a date (Ooooooo), celebrating Hana’s birthday, getting enormous bolts removed from tyres and subsequent punctures fixed, trying to not drive too much, celebrating my first Canada Day, the normal kind of stuff, I suppose.
Also, spent some time doing some very minor preparation for the next leg of my trip –
In return for this planning, all I had to do was transport an entire Dodge Caravan load of furniture out to Halifax, via the long way round, ready for Smitch’s move there later in August. Oh, and take a bunch of Dani’s stuff too. Suddenly my cavernous vehicle didn’t seem quite so cavernous. Poor Flash Harriette has never had so much shoved in her back door before. There was, in fact, barely room for my small day pack, which was all I could fit in of my own belongings. The suitcase I had been living out of to date had to stay behind. No matter though, no matter.
The first day of the trip was Sunday 3rd July, getting to
French is slowly coming back to me by day 3, and its actually quite rewarding remembering some of this stuff, but it will continue to be a struggle, and I’ll be relieved when we finally get back to the English-speaking part of
The hostel in
The next morning was a sluggish one, and the drive out to Ste Anne des Monts was all the more difficult for it. Still, Ste Anne was on the
Unfortuntely, the ‘what’ that went wrong was the earlier in the evening, conveniently located beachside bar. After about 11pm it turned into a noisy, rowdy beachside bar and stayed that way, just outside our non-sound-proofed, canvas-sided yurt, until about 4.30am. So, that was nice. Strike two for a good night’s sleep.
Today, we continued our drive around the Gaspé, getting as far as Anse-aux-Os, a small villagey type place with, hopefully, a much quieter hostel. Although, I think it would take a small explosion to keep me awake tonight. Not only am I two nights of sleep down, followed by two days driving, but also we went walking along cliffs today and saw maybe half a dozen hump-backed whales between 100m and 300m off shore. It was pretty cool actually, and the extra excitement wore me out just a little bit more.
Gaspé is definitely a nice place. It was sold to us pretty hard before we came here, and maybe that was over-hype, a little bit, but only because I have been all around