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North America » Canada » Newfoundland & Labrador » St John's
September 18th 2022
Published: October 7th 2022
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Rescuing shipwrecked passengersRescuing shipwrecked passengersRescuing shipwrecked passengers

This is ony a picture of what the people had to do back in the day to rescue folks shipwrecked on these rocky shores.
We had to backtrack somewhat on our way to the Irish Loop and Portugal Cove South because the “highway” we wanted to take was gravel. Only about 40 kilometres but we had a rental car and didn’t want to take any chances. However, taking the TCH had one benefit. It took us past Salmonier Nature Park which started as an environmental education centre but has become a tourist destination. A two-kilometre boardwalk took us through some very interesting exhibits including many animals that had been injured and were recuperating in a setting as natural as could be made. There even was a section dedicated to animals that were now extinct like the Great Auk. It was a setting totally different from what we had been used to. This park is in the interior of The Rock so there were no beaches and water views. Quite a change.

The Irish Loop

As we headed south on the Loop, the weather took a turn for the worse. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and hadn’t found anywhere to have lunch until we got to Trepassey. Just as the skies opened, we found the Edge of Avalon Inn which included a really nice
Remnants of the pastRemnants of the pastRemnants of the past

We saw lots of old bridges, many abondoned.
dining room. The special of the day was beef stew which was perfect considering the turn in the weather. The staff was wonderful, and we really enjoyed the experience. Dianne couldn’t finish her stew so she asked if she could have a container to take the rest home. “Sure, my darling!” replied the server and, when she returned, she commented that she had added a bit more stew and included another bun and some butter! We had a few more laughs and Dianne even got a hug from the server. Another bonus was the skies had cleared during our hiatus.

Portugal Cove South

Dianne had booked us into The Stages, a small grouping of dwellings much the same as the stages used to process the cod in the old days. The bay as right across the street and it would have been great to sit on the deck and watch the sun go down, except for the weather. But it was fun to storm watch. The units were very compact and we quite enjoyed ours. The main
Salmonier Nature ParkSalmonier Nature ParkSalmonier Nature Park

Totally unexpected, we found this park to be really interesting and a nice break from rocky shores.
reason for being here was to make the trek to Mistaken Point and the fossil beds. It got its name because the point was often mistaken for Cape Race and many ships paid a big price. We were surprised how many people showed up for the guided hike. We thought tourist season was over. While we waited for all the people who had registered to turn up, we toured the interpretation centre. Some interesting displays. One showed them lowering a chap down the cliff face to rescue some people who had been shipwrecked. One of the guides said her great-great-grandfather had been one of the people who had done that. She said that was just what people had to do back in the day. You must drive to the start of the hike in your own vehicle, so we formed up behind the guide’s vehicle and set off. It was quite a road which did include some gravel, some potholes, three one lane bridges and at least one 18% hill. Once we had our vehicles parked, we headed off
BoardwalkBoardwalkBoardwalk

Certainly not bored walk; it was a couple of kilometres.
over the tundra, or what looked like tundra to us. It was about three kilometres over a slightly rolling landscape to the edge of the sea. It would have been shorter but the bridge they used to use was washed out in a recent storm. Foreshadowing? The guides took small groups onto the rock faces that had been thrust up at about 45 degree angles. The surfaces were smooth and contained several thousand fossils that date back millions of year. Pretty impressive.

The Irish Loop continued…

The next morning, as we headed north towards St John’s, we passed through several small towns until we came to Ferryland. Lord Baltimore founded a colony here in the 1600s before he moved south to the area in the U.S. where there is a city named after him. There weren’t any “coffee shops” around so we had to have something in a large restaurant where we were the first customers. We had to wait while they made a fresh pot of coffee but that is a good thing. Refreshed, we set off to walk around town. Of course, we visited the local church and then the Interpretive Centre for the colony. Unfortunately,
Auk wardAuk wardAuk ward

We liked the reminders of extinct species. What could we have done differently? Are we ensuring we don't continue bad practices?
it was closed for the season but there were plenty of trails with many informative signs to keep us occupied. The remnants of the colony went out onto a large spit and the trails incentivised us to walk out to the end of the spit. What did we find? Yes, another lighthouse. But the trail was interesting and helped us work up an appetite for lunch at the same restaurant. The views over the bay were great as was the weather.

Dianne had booked us into an Airbnb in Witless Bay and we had another one of our GPS situations. The address is on the main highway and the GPS had trouble identifying it (so did I). We drove past it twice before we spotted the complex. Another one of those obvious things when you know what you are looking for. Older place but nicely fixed up. The couple who ran it lived nearby and were very pleasant to deal with. We walked around town and discovered a heritage cemetery. Quite moving. When we started back to the Airbnb we realized we weren’t too sure where we were going. We stopped a gal out for an evening stroll and
Nothing to stew aboutNothing to stew aboutNothing to stew about

We really enjoyed our lunch in Trepassey. Terrible weather but warm, friendly people inside.
had a nice chat for about half an hour. She pointed us in the right direction and we made it home safely.

We visited Bay Bulls where we had done the Puffin watching boat trip while on the bus tour. We had a little more time, so we were able to explore the town. We particularly wanted to see the church where they had cannonized (sic) four saints. See Pictures. The day also included a trail along the coast where we were able to watch the tour boats visiting the island that we had seen on our boat trip.

This was followed by a trip to La Manche. There was a settlement with a suspension bridge, but both were wiped out by a winter storm in 1966. There is a provincial park and campground, but it was closed. The road into where the remains of the settlement are located was interesting to say the least. It was followed by an hour’s hike through the forest. It is part of the East Coast Trail. We quite enjoyed the hike and the visit. A surprising number of people were also making the trip to the ruins. I managed to lose
The stage was setThe stage was setThe stage was set

Ours was the little blue stage with our trusty vehicle, Whitey, beside it. The picture was taken from the end of the breakwater so you get an idea of how close we were to the water.
some of the best pictures I took on my iPad. Sigh. To see the history of La Manche, click here.

The road home

We left our last Airbnb to head to the airport to drop off our rental car. Our flight home left at 5:00am (gasp) so we were spending our last night in an airport hotel to ease the transition back into reality. We got there way too early to check in so setup shop in the lobby very close to the reception desk. There was much lighthearted banter going on between the reception staff, the stream of people checking in, and us. Dianne asked one of the reception people if she (Dianne) could do something. “Of course, my darling” she replied. “As long as you promise to take him home with you. I have one like him at home and don’t need another”.

Our wake-up call was at 2:15am. Down in the lobby, the receptionist gave each of us a “take-out” breakfast – orange juice, muffin, and an apple to go with the coffee. A nice touch as we were obviously too early to take advantage of the continental breakfast. Leaving the hotel at 3:00am
Dogging our footstepsDogging our footstepsDogging our footsteps

On our walkabout in Portugal Cove South, this dog attached himself to us and walked all over the town. He would run ahead then look back and if we stopped, he would run back and wait for us. Never did find out where he lived.
on the free shuttle, we arrived at the airport 5 minutes later. The flights were uncomplicated. Our bags showed up again. It was good to get back to Pender. And start planning our next trip! Maybe a cruise around the British Isles???? Hmmmmm ToBeContinued!


Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 27


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The cavalcadeThe cavalcade
The cavalcade

I believe there were 11 cars in the trip to the fossil beds. Based on the usual amount of traffic in these parts, I can imagine the guy we met going the other way was wondering where he was.
Fossil bedsFossil beds
Fossil beds

The two beds were sloping at quite an angle. You had to take your shoes off to walk on them to prevent damage to these millions of years old fossils.
One fossil exampleOne fossil example
One fossil example

When Dianne spent time on the two large fossil beds, she took many photos. This is one of them.
Another fossilAnother fossil
Another fossil

Quite an experience. Signs indicate that you must not go on the beds without a guide. They are trying to prevent any further damage to the fossils.
Lord Baltimore's colonyLord Baltimore's colony
Lord Baltimore's colony

The picture shows the peninsula where the colony was originally located. We walked from the centre located at the beginning of the peninsula out to the far end where the lighthouse was located. Lovely walk with lots to see even though the centre was closed.
Cannons were a big part of this areaCannons were a big part of this area
Cannons were a big part of this area

There are many stories of the battles between French and English, Catholics and Protestants over the years. Particularly the one where tthe men were away so the women took over the defense of the colony and were successful in holding out on the island in the background. Love the garbage can.
Work placesWork places
Work places

We have seen many displays relating to the cod fishery. This one was neat as it showed the women processing the fish standing in barrels to keep their clothes as clean as possible.
Archeological digArcheological dig
Archeological dig

One could spend a lot of time walking around looking at the remnants of the original colony which was set up in the early 1600s.
Modern defensesModern defenses
Modern defenses

Cannons aren't required but the sea is a merciless force. These breakwaters are an attempt to keep the peninsula safe.
Garbage shedsGarbage sheds
Garbage sheds

We never cease to be intrigued by the different ways they have to decorate their garbage sheds.
Heritage CemeteryHeritage Cemetery
Heritage Cemetery

This cemetery dates back to the 1700s and the oldest stones to the 1800s. The Celtic Cross was erected in 1880. I is tucked away but worth the visit. Very restful.
Cannonized saintsCannonized saints
Cannonized saints

The church in Bay Bulls had the statues of four saints mounted on old cannons leading to a wag saying the church had cannonized four saints.
Tricky photographyTricky photography
Tricky photography

Dianne was in 7th heaven, not just because she found some low bush blueberries but that she managed to take this picture with her cell phone as a selfie.


7th October 2022
The stage was set

Newfoundland
We stayed in the blue one in August. You'll have to check out our blog.
9th October 2022
The stage was set

Newfoundand adventures
Just read your NL blog entry. I thought I was following you but I guess not. I think I am now so should get your next one. Pretty funny that younstayed in the Blue Stage just before we did. We quite enjoyed our stay in Portgugal Cove South as well as the rest of NL. Labrador was pretty interesting too.

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