August 06, 2007:
Well today we basically leave Newfoundland after staying more than 10 weeks! Since our ferry wasn't due to depart Argentia until 12:30 am (August 7) we decided to spend the day exploring The Cape Shore - a scenic route in the south west arm of the Avalon Peninsula.
First off, we left Bay Roberts and headed for the town of Brigus a historic village further round in Conception Bay, with its quaint houses and neatly laid out streets. After poking about in Brigus for a bit, we made off in the direction of the Trans Canada Highway to begin our journey down the south west arm of the peninsula. However, we managed to get off-track a tad and found ourselves on a very, very rough gravel road, even had to use the 4WD function in the truck to get out of a little pickle! One thing's for sure - Ford trucks are built tough!!
Eventually we found our way to the Trans Canada and turned west before taking the exit for Highway 100. Travelling for around another 40 kilometres we arrived in the town of Dunville which was still reeling from the recent onslaught of tropical storm Chantal. We could see the devastation she'd inflicted on some homes along the main road plus where workers had recently stitched the road back together after a large section was washed out. The remaining pieces of road were looking extremely fragile!
Once through Dunville, we headed for the Castle Hill National Historic Site the site of Fort Royal which was built between 1693 and 1703 to defend the town of Plaisance (Placentia) which was first settled by the french in 1662. A play called "Faces of Fort Royal" was underway when we arrived which depicted the history of the area and tension between fishermen and merchants.
Soon, it was time to motor - we had to get to Cape St Mary's then back to Argentia in time to check in for the ferry crossing that evening. Cape St Mary's is an Ecological Reserve and home to a colony of Northern Gannets. A walking trail from the info centre at the road end takes around 20-30 minutes where you end up standing at the end of a point of land overlooking a sea stack which has absolutely no vacancy - completely full with gannets. Northern Gannets are gregarious and very noisy birds so you could imagine the racket. There were a lot of birds aged around the two month mark, still clothed in their white fluffy down and accompanied by one of the parents! Meanwhile, a small colony of Murres had made their home on a narrow rocky ledge nearby, and a few gulls were trying to ease their way into the nest of a couple of gannets who'd made their home on the mainland. It was a hive of activity!
Time was moving on, and it was time we did too so we headed back to the truck to begin the final leg of our journey on Newfoundland. Before that though we stopped for some pics of ripe Bakeapples (Cloudberries) which are world famous in Newfoundland! These berries which grow wild in bogs throughout Newfoundland can be eaten raw or made into jams or pies. They're an acquired taste - either you like them or you don't!
We got into Placentia and found a restaurant for a quick bite to eat before heading to Argentia where we got into a rather long vehicle queue for the ferry. We waited about an hour before boarding started. The first job of the evening once we boarded, was to secure some sort of sleeping accommodation - it was a 15 hour journey overnight and we wanted some sleep!! The best we came up with (which worked out nicely) was a dorm style of accommodation. So armed with our sleeping bags and pillows we headed straight down to meet our roomies!
We settled in for the night and managed several hours of sleep before hearing a major disturbance - an unfortunate fella get a rude awakening when he fell from his top bunk!! Ouch!! A few choice words slipped through his lips as he got back up into his bunk - don't blame him, the top bunks really have no barrier of any significance, definitely not enough to hold anyone in.
Tomorrow morning we'll still on the ferry which doesn't arrive in North Sydney, Nova Scotia until around 3:00pm - so join us tomorrow - in Nova Scotia!
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