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As everyone in Atlantic Canada knows, this has been an unusual fall. It was fairly innocuous and pleasant until Post-tropical Storm Noel hit in November, immediately followed by a mix of rain and snow (I wish it had been a bit less post and a bit more tropical). Then winter hit a “little” early, with frequent flurries and temperatures that rarely made it above -5 C. Then we got this week’s weather. Things started warming up until today it broke plus 10 in places, a fair amount of rain fell, then it cleared up this afternoon and was amazingly sunny, with brisk (to a Newfoundlander) winds and temperatures staying above zero.

The nice thing for me was that the storm gave half decent waves along the Atlantic coast, so I rushed to Peggy’s Cove after work. Except for the wind blowing sea spray directly onto my lens when shooting straight at the waves, it was perfect. I finished around 4:40 pm, then drove back to town. Things had become strangely calm, with very little traffic, almost nothing open (except video stores and movie theatres, of course). The sense of calmness and serenity was wonderful.

I went home, downloaded some of the images from the Cove, and present them as one view of an Atlantic Canadian Christmas. Happy and peaceful holidays, and may your New Year’s resolutions be little ones.

Looking Out the Entrance

Looking Out the Entrance
The Gulls were really active, since the waves had stirred up the ocean.

In the Cove

In the Cove
Bad waves almost never make it into the Cove. Today there were 4-5 metre waves outside the cove and pounding on the entrance.

Crash

Crash
Tip: Don’t shoot directly into the wind, unless you like spray on your lens…I wanted this shot so much I tried it anyway.

Broken rock

Boroken rock
The large flat rock near the centre was broken off the ledge in the foreground. I estimate that it weighs on the order of 120 metric tonnes.

Boom

Boom

Smash

Smash
Best Viewed Large. Note the chunk gouged out of the rock in the foreground. This comes from Noel in November. There was a lot of damage in the Cove.

Sunset

Sunset
Along the Coast

Along the Coast
The entrance to the Cove is just beyond the little red shack. This coast is full of rock ledges and often has a lot of wave activity.

 The Evening Light

The Evening Light
I know it is cliche, but the light was very nice.

Again, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and Happy Quanza, Hannukah, and Chinese New Year (coming soon). Given the recent weather, I’m just as happy with a warm and dry Christmas.

a quickr pickr post

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Recently my best friend Heather told me a little about a children’s book called Bridge to Terabithia. I was home sick for much of this week, but today I ventured forth and bought a copy. When I was at page 57 I tried calling her to thank her for ever so gently hinting that it was worth reading, but she wasn’t at home. That was an hour ago.

I just finished it.

Thanks, Heather.

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I was updating a previous post about famous ships of Newfoundland and Labrador and noted that many of these ships sank or were lost in storms. There are many aspects to these events and to how they shaped our history, from the Independence Hurricane of 1775 to the deaths of the sealers from the ships Newfoundland and Southern Cross in late March of 1914 (which killed 251 men, as compared to the 255 who died, and the 91 who went missing, at Beaumont Hamel two years later). First, the 1775 hurricane killed about 4000 people, destroyed the French fishing boats and crews at St. Pierre et Miquelon, destroyed a British fishing fleet on the Grand Banks, and devastated many of the outports. The resultant loss of British fisherman available for Navy service hurt the British response to the American Independence movement, and may be part of the reason that this storm is called the Independence Hurricane in the U.S. The sealers on the Newfoundland and Southern Cross were demonstratively young and adventurous, since sealing was inherently dangerous; hopping around on ice pans and living on often rickety boats during March storms is not for the faint-hearted. Many of these men would probably have volunteered for the war, and their deaths also contributed to the lack of young men at the end of the war. There were about 1200 Newfoundland soldiers who died during the war, and the 251 sealers lost on March 31, 1914 amounts to over 20% of the Newfoundland war dead through the entire conflict.

This will be a roughly chronological list of notable marine disasters and ship losses from discovery to modern times either in our waters or significant to our history. There will also be comments on obvious impacts on Newfoundland, Labrador, and the rest of the world. If anyone wants to comment or to contribute new information, I’d really appreciate it.

Our course through history:

  • 1498: John Cabot’s second expedition to North America. One source indicates that the expedition was lost at sea.
  • 1501: Gaspar Corte-Real, who vanished in 1501 on a voyage to Newfoundland.
  • 1565?: Basque whaler in Red Bay, Labrador, which may be the San Juan.
  • 1696: HMS Sapphire : Trapped in Bay Bulls Harbour by a French attacking force, she was scuttled to prevent capture. She is a Provincial Historic Site and has produced much archaeological insight into naval life of the times. This was during one of the main periods of French-English conflict in Newfoundland.
  • 1775: Independence Hurricane mentioned above. It hit the South Coast and passed near Conception Bay on September 9. It is also the most deadly hurricane to hit Canada or Newfoundland in recorded history. (see introduction).
  • 1810-1870: Sealing Deaths. It is estimated that between 1810 and 1870 the Newfoundland seal fishery lost some 400 vessels and 1000 men in the ice floes.
  • 1828: Despatch: Ann Harvey of Isle aux Morts, her father, herbrother,  and the Newfoundland Dog named Hairyman saved over 180 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Despatch. The Royal Humane Society issued a special medal for heroism for Ann. In 1938, she and her father also saved a number of people from the Rankin, wrecked at the same spot as the Despatch. Isle aux Morts was so dangerous to shipping that throughout her life she and the other settlers were burying bodies that washed ashore.In 1987, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Ann Harvey was commisioned.
  • 1847: Hurricane hits Newfoundland, kills 300.
  • 1875: Waterwitch : Wrecked near Pouch Cove. When the ship went aground in a storm with 25 people on board, Alfred Moores, a resident, performed a daring rescue which saved 11 people. He allowed himself to be lowered to the ship by a rope from an overhanging cliff so that he could carry the people to safety.
  • 1898: Greenland Disaster: A sealing steamer. 48 men from her died on the ice in 1898 when a major storm blew in. The ice closed up and prevented the Greenland from closing on the sealers on the ice, while at the same time an interior lead of water kept the sealers from approaching the ship. There was also some discussion of the behaviour of Captain Abram Kean, who was in the area commanding another sealing vessel. Kean later became infamous for his role in the Newfoundland Disaster sixteen years later.
  • 1912: Titanic: Sank April 14-15, 1914 after hitting an iceberg 400 miles from St. John’s. The main Newfoundland link to the disaster is the wireless station at Cape Race, which received and relayed the distress messages from the ship. Also, two years after the International Ice Patrol was founded to track icebergs and ship safety regulations were beefed up
  • 1914: Newfoundland Disaster: The sealing disaster in March, 1914 where 78 sealers died and 11 were permanently disabled. It is poignantly described in Cassie Brown’s Death on the Ice. (see introduction)
  • 1914: Southern Cross Disaster: This is the one that many people (including myself) forget. She was lost with all hands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the same storm that caught the sealers from the Newfoundland on the ice at night. She was last sighted by the SS Portia near Cape Pine, and was never seen again. This counts as the single largest loss of life in the history of the seal hunt, with 173 souls being lost. Combined with the 78 deaths from the Newfoundland, at least 251 people died from the same storm. If you compare that to the casualties from Beaumont Hamel, it adds a new perspective to the dangers involved in sealing. On July 1, 1916, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment bravely attempted a frontal assault on the German front in what is considered the worst military disaster in the history of Newfoundland. 255 were killed, 386 were wounded, and 91 were listed as missing in action and presumed dead.
  • 1918: Florizel : the well-known steamer owned by the Bowring Brothers Ltd. went aground at Horn Head near Cappahayden on the Southern Shore of Newfoundland . The SOS was received at the Admiralty wireless station. Ninety-three crew and passengers perished, while 44 were miraculously rescued after 27 hours spent braving punishing seas and bitter cold. The Peter Pan Statue in Bowring Park is in honour and memory of a little girl who died on board.
  • 1919:Ethie : On November 17 this coastal steamer, commanded by Captain Edward English, went aground during a gale at Martins Point on the West Coast near Bonne Bay. Local fisherman were able to get line to the ship and to rescue most or all of the passengers and crew. There were also reports of a Newfoundland dog towing a rescue line out to the boat, and this became part of a children’s book by Hilary Hyland.
  • 1929: Tsunami on November 18. A 5 metre tsunami was generated by an underwater landslide south od Newfoundland, triggered by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the continental slope. Twenty-seven people died, and boats, houses, and stages were swept away. While this is the only significant earthquake recorded in Atlantic Canada, it is also the most deadly such event recorded in Canada or Newfoundland. The underwater landslide also cut numerous underwater telegraph and telephone lines, and the timing of when each line cut out allowed scientists to estimate the speed and severity of the landslide. However, it also cut the community off from the rest of civilisation during cold and miserable weather. Three days later the coastal vessel SS Portia arrived, and immediately sent an SOS to St. John’s.
  • 1931: Viking Disaster: The Viking (a wooden ship built in 1881), exploded while shooting footage for the sealing film The Viking . Film producer Varrick Frissel and 26 others died in the explosion. A number of sealers made it to Horse Islands. However, there were insufficient supplies, shelter or medical equipment to keep the men alive for long. Rescue ships, including the salvage tug Foundation Franklin and the Reid coastal steamer Sagona took on supplies and medical personnel and raced to the area. However they were delayed both by a raging gale and by the ice, which had driven in around the island. Here is a transcript of documents from the time of the disaster. This was the first, but by no means the last, time Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders were involved with the Franklin.
  • 1932: Neptune II: Schooner that was commanded by Captain Joe Barbour of Newtown on the Northeast Coast. While not really a wreck, the ship was driven by several successive storms from Newfoundland to Scotland, with the crew of 11 being tossed and turned for 48 days, as described in this book.
  • 1942: Bell Island’s U-boat casualties (Saganaga,Lord Strathcona, P.L.M. 27, Rose Castle): these were bulk iron ore carriers sunk at or near Lance Cove on Bell Island in Conception Bay. Bell Island has the dubious distinction of being the site of the only artillery fired in defense of North America in the Second World War, due to these attacks.
  • 1942: World War Two Submarines: At least 3 U-boats and one British submarine sank within 250 nm of St. John’s. The type IX U-656 sank about 25 miles from Cape Race, and the British P-514 was rammed by a merchant vessel near Cape St. Mary’s.
  • 1942: CaribouDisaster: One of the most famous of the ferries running between Newfoundland and Canada. It was torpedoed by U-boat U-69 on October 14, 1942, during the critical period of the Battle of the Atlantic. 147 passengers and crew lost their lives. The skipper Ben Taverner and his two sons went down with the ship. The coastal boat Taverner was named after him.
  • 1942: USS Truxton and Pollux: (much of this is a direct quote from SkylarkD, and this entry is due to her kind suggestion) These two U.S. Navy ships ran aground near St. Laurence, Newfoundland on February 18th, 1942. 203 sailors died; 185 were saved. Well, it turns out that there was only one African American survivor of the U.S.S. Truxton, named Lanier Philips, and he says that it was the hospitality he received from the people of Newfoundland after the disaster which led him to become a civil rights leader for equality for all races in the U.S. military.
  • 1977: William Carson: An Icebreaking passenger/car ferry. Commissioned in 1955, it was a huge ferry for its time. For the first two years it couldn’t dock at Port aux Basques, and used Argentia until docking facilities were expanded. In 1977 she was struck by a small Iceberg near Battle Harbour, Labrador, and sank with no hands aboard (no one died). Joan Morrissey wrote a fairly funny song about he Carson and its importance to the province.
  • 1982: Ocean Ranger: At the time the largest semi-submersible oil rig in the world. On February 15, 1982 she sank with all hands. The supply vessel Seaforth Highlander was almost able to rescue some, but they failed by mere feet. As a result of this disaster the offshore oil industry has been changed, with changes in rig design, operational procedures, safety equipment, and extensive emergency and lifeboat training.

General References and Links:

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Before I start, here is a nice interactive gazetteer of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In St.John’s there are two little fishing villages within 5-10 minutes walk of Water Street. One is the Battery Village in the Narrows. The other is Quidi Vidi village. There used to be two ways of pronouncing it; the first was by making the first I in each word long and pronouncing the second I in each word as a short A. The more common one today is with a short I in the first syllable of each word, and with the second I as a long E.

To further complicate things, there is great uncertainty about the origin of the name, and also about the language it came from. As far as I know, this still hasn’t been settled to anyone’s satisfaction.

Parenthetically, there is a similar controversy about the origin of Bay d’Espoir on the South Coast of Newfoundland. It is generally agreed that the current form is of French origin, but there is a strong possibility that it is a derivation of either Basque or Portugese. Also, depending on the spelling, it could mean either of Bay of Hope, Bay of Despair, or Bay of Spirits. Given the mystical look of the bay in a fog or drizzle, with the dark and high headlands, and occasional beams of light poking through, I prefer Spirits (no pun intended).

Anyway, that’s what comes of letting French, Spanish, Portugese, Basques, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, Mi’kmaq, Inuit and a few other peoples mess around with names and each other for over half a millenium.

Sunset

Sunset. You cant tell there’s a city nearby.

Quidi Vidi Lake

Quidi Vidi Lake, looking east towards the village and the harbour.

Quidi Vidi Gut

Quidi Vidi Gut.

Quidi Vidi Gut

Yes, people still fish here.

Quidi Vidi Gut

Fish store on a stage. I think the little white building on the right is obviously a …

Quidi Vidi Gut

Can’t see the forest for the tree.

Alone at the Regatta
Introspection.

a quickr pickr post

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    Memories:

Bonfire night in Newfoundland, on November 5, was one of the most enjoyable holidays for pre-teens. People would gather everything flammable that was of no practical use, pile it up, and then set fire to it. Depending on the size of it you could roast hot dogs, cook marshmallows, and dance and race around the fire; when the fire had burned down enough many of us would take running jumps over it (with adult supervision and plenty of water around).

For my family it was an easy event to arrange. There was a large potato and vegetable plot in our back yard, and usually plenty of scrap material because Dad did a lot of woodwork and construction around the house. The ashes and nitrates would help enrich the nutrients in the field, along with the capelin added every summer. The kids from the Lane would join us, and there was always some hot chocolate from Mom.

Finally, it was great to have a holiday only five days after Halloween.

We didn’t realise the significance of the holiday, as well as the almost unique fact that we celebrated both Halloween and Bonfire Night. You see, the original name for Bonfire Night was Guy Fawkes Night, a major British Holiday celebrating the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Up until recently Halloween was not a British holiday, and in most of Ireland Guy Fawkes Night was both irrelevant as a foreign political holiday and abhorrent as a celebration of the suppression of Catholic rights and freedoms in England. Back in the bad old days, if you were Catholic and/or Irish, you didn’t tend to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, and if you were British and Protestant, you didn’t celebrate the Papist All Hallows Eve.
The historic source for the holiday was an attempt by Catholics being persecuted under the rule of James I to blow up the Houses of Parliament while the King was addressing both Houses in Westminster Palace . Guy Fawkes and other conspirators brought numerous barrels of gunpowder and stored them in the cellars under the building. They were betrayed and captured before they could set off the explosives, and Fawkes was hanged, drawn and quartered. If you don’t know what this punishment for treason is, I refer you to the movie Braveheart.

Ever since the event occurred on November 5, 1605, the British have been celebrating the foiling of the plot, and until recently their victory against the Papists. More recently the memories of the European Wars of Religion have faded, and both Protestants and Catholics celebrate it without thinking about nor emphasising the religious issues. The aspects relating to protest against oppression and fighting back against unjust rule are still appreciated by many regardless of religious bent. The viewpoint of regarding Fawkes as a terrorist bomber is also appreciated by most. Not the simplest moral knot to untangle.

The way they celebrate it in England varies a bit, but usually includes parading around a stuffed effigy of a man hanging from a noose called the Guy, and then burning the effigy on a bonfire. Fireworks and fireworks contests have become common, and the main piece of doggerel chanted on this night goes like this:

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,’twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!

In the old days this chant would end with

A penny loaf to feed ol’Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar,’
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we’ll say: ol’Pope is dead.

This stanza has mostly disappeared from the festivities.


    Associations:

The symbols, lessons, and implications of the Gunpowder Plot have spread throughout the English-speaking cultures of the Commonwealth, and still continue to be used in modern arts and pop culture. Here are a few links, associations, and other linkages that I found somewhat intriguing:

  • Fawkes from Harry Potter: this is Professor Dumbledore’s Phoenix, who periodically bursts into flame, then arises renewed from the ashes. There is obvious symbolism here regarding martyrdom.
  • Newfoundland Bonfire Night: here there is basically no link to the politics of the Plot, there is no effigy, and I had never heard “remember, remember, the Fifth of November” until I talked to a British Scout Leader when I was thirteen. Our celebration has no link to the Religious Wars, and children celebrate it without benefit of clergy of any persuasion.
  • V for Vendetta: This is both a graphic novel by Alan Moore, and a movie based on the novel (both have been well reviewed and are popular). The main character, named V, styles himself after Guy Fawkes. He is promoting the downfall of a fascist regime ruling England, using guerrilla techniques, assassination, and not a few bombs and fireworks. He utilises the symbolism and feelings of the public regarding Fawkes both subtly and blatantly. The movie had a proposed release date of November 5, 2005, the 400th anniversary of the Plot, but it was delayed until the following March. Some argue that the 2005 bombings in London were related to this decision.
  • The Wake by Neil Gaiman: This is one of Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels. On page 160-161 William Shakespeare and Ben Johnson try to come up with a rhyme to help people remember the Gunpowder Plot. They come up with the rhyme above, and Will thinks people may still remember it a hundred years later. He was right.
  • A Man For All Seasons: When I think of Guy Fawkes, I think about religious persecution, which makes me think of Henry VIII for some reason, and this leads me to one of my favourite movies of the 1960’s. A man for All Seasons was both a play by Robert Bold and a movie starring Paul Scofield. It talks about how Sir Thomas More tried his best to render to Caesar that which was Caesar’s without compromising his own religious beliefs. He almost managed it, but was too important a political figure to be allowed to stay silent on the issue of Harry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, nor to keep himself silent on the directly related issue of the King’s leadership of the English Church. He was perjured against, and then expressed his personal beliefs and was executed without recanting those beliefs. Given those beliefs and the importance of Henry renouncing papal authority, More was canonised. But for me it was not More’s Catholicism that was appealing; it was his integrity and his valiant and ofttimes brilliant attempt to live within his world without compromising . It was a really wonderful movie.
  • John Lennon wrote a song called Remember, which was about the Gunpowder Plot and forgiveness.
  • Guy: according to that omniscient and refutable source of information, Wikipedia, Guy Fawkes has changed our language. He originated the usage of the word “guy” in the English language. The effigy that is burnt is called a guy, which came to mean “a man of grotesque appearance”. This evolved to the current meaning of fellow, bloke, or chap.
  • Guy Fawkes’s influence on medicine after 400 years: This was too weird to pass up. Someone was worried about using guy to describe a patient as being impolite, so he went on an etymological survey.
  • Guido Fawkes: This refers to a subversive blogger giving political commentary on British Politics. His verbiage is supposed to be dynamite. 😉

    Final Thoughts:

So I started with a simple holiday that, at least in Newfoundland, teaches no bad lessons about politics nor condones religious intolerance. The actual history made me ponder the morality and ethics surrounding the acts and events preceding, during, and following the Gunpowder Plot. There were other things I learned, both less serious and more fun, regarding things that developed from those dark days.

Now we’re in a society that for the most part is non-sectarian, and where children have no clue about where these rituals originated. We’ve added our own meaning of fun and play to the rituals. And so we are one of the few places where Bonfire Night and Halloween are both celebrated without any sectarian blemish.

Burning issues. Enjoy Bonfire Night, and don’t get scorched, guys.

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Conception Bay in Newfoundland was a large part of my childhood, especially Chamberlains and Manuels. A large part of this experience were my grandparents on my father’s side. My maternal grandparents had passed away by the time I was 6, and I only have vague memories of them. Nanny and Poppy Mercer were important in our family. They were busy and active almost until they died, and we saw a lot of them.

My grandparents lived on Chamberlains Road, and my Uncle Fred owned some land along the beach. We visited almost every Sunday afternoon; the ride was boring, but when we arrived there was always something to do.

We spent a lot of time on Chamberlains Beach. There was a small pond behind a barachois that was great for pond hockey and skating. The entrance to the beach was about 500 metres from where the Manuels River opened into the bay, and there was always driftwood and interesting castaways. The beach was a typical cobblestone beach, and running along it was always challenging and fun. The best part of the beach was a ledge that extended from the point out into the bay. It was full of little rock pools, and there was always something interesting to find. We also tried swimming there, with the usual amount of success.

If you really wanted to swim, all you had to do was to go the the back of Poppy’s farm, climb down the bluff to The Flats, and swim in the Manuels river. The current was imperceptible, and there was a good diving rock and deep water.

Finally, there was Poppy’s farm itself. The house was old, and in the kitchen there was an old wood-fired Enterprise Stove. My favourite Toutons and Raisin Pudding came from that stove, through Nanny’s masterful hands. You could always smell the yeasty smell of bread dough rising. There was an old wood stove in the living room, and it was really cosy. All the kids would get in front of the black and white TV in the evening to watch the Wonderful World of Disney. Also, there were there neat rooms with drawers filled with strange and interesting things. You could also hide out and read if you wanted a little privacy; if Nanny wanted to find you, she’d always find you amazingly fast.

Then there was the barn. It wasn’t too large, but it had a hayloft with a lot of old junk and treasures. I particularly remember looking into a crate and finding a complete set of green bound encyclopedia volumes. Under Submarines was a state-of-the-art 1912 U-boat! The encyclopedia was published just before the Great War. There was also plenty of hay for fun in the loft, and a fun and forbidden way to the first floor though a hatch in the loft floor. You could also sit with your legs hanging out of the loft doorway, and have a grand view of the farm and other houses.

There was also a chopping block and plenty of wood to cut. We’d often cut an amazing amount of chips and splinters, and occasionally split a useful amount of wood. This was okay, though, since you always needed a little kindling. No child was ever hurt during the performance of these acts. There was also a hunting beagle, a root cellar in a hill, a grove of spruce and a row of maples and crab-apple trees. Life was good.
Here are some pictures of what Conception Bay is like now.

Concretehenge, Conception Bay, NL

The new bandstand at Topsail Pond Beach Park, before they added the roof. I called it Concretehenge.

Sailing in the Bay
Just south of Long Pond

Bauline
Highest hills on the Avalon Peninsula, at Bauline.

Kelligrews
Looking west from the shore

Going Home
A fisherman heading home in his skiff. There used to be many more.

Blue 2

Bell Island’s northern end.

Kelly's and Bell Island

Bell Island and Little Bell.
Sundown
Taken from Topsail Pond Beach Park

Z<p><p><p><p>en Garden?

Near Ochre Pit

All lined up

Yellow House

Sunset, Conception Bay

Sail Away
Dusk near Long Pond in Conception Bay.

Conception Bay

Going home
Small fishing boat heading back home to Kelligrews, Conception Bay.

Conception Bay Sunset

Kelly's Island, Conception Bay.
My father built a small dory with a sail, and used to take sheep out to Kelly’s Island so they could graze. Once the boat swamped, and dad frantically tried to get it empty enough so that he could get the sheep back on board without swamping again. You see, the sheep start by floating well, but as the wool gradually gets saturated, they sink lower and lower into the water…

DAY13 053
Bell Island and Little Bell from Topsail Pond.

Brrrr! Getting Feet Wet
Typical amount swimmers get into Conception Bay (at least for more than a few minutes). Topsail Pond Beach, with Kelly’s Island on horizon.

a quickr pickr post

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When I came to work in Nova Scotia, I kept hearing about Peggy’s Cove. To the uninitiated, it may be the single most popular tourist attraction in Nova Scotia. There are a number of reasons for this. First, it has an almost iconic lighthouse on exposed rocks. Second, there are often spectacular waves breaking on the shore. Third, there is a picture book fishing village with a population of about 40 people. Fourth, it is easily accessible to the tourists in Halifax, especially the tourists off the cruise ships. And last but not least, it is in one of the few areas in Nova Scotia with barrenlands.

The first time I visited the site, it was somewhat of a let-down. My overall impression was of a typical outport in Newfoundland, with slightly different architecture, and with a typical (albeit unusually well-kept) lighthouse. The rocky terrain was nice, but not that unusual for home, and I’ve seen waves as good or better at Cape Spear. Finally, the barrens were very typical of home.

Strangely, I kept coming back, and the area grew on me, almost without my noticing. It is a good place for waves and looking at the ocean, and in the off season there aren’t too many tourists. There are still real fishermen in the village, along with the nick-knack shops. And the rugged coastline has a certain grandeur.

I finally realised that the reason I like it now is the same reason that made it a bit of a let-down to me initially. It reminds me of of home, and makes me appreciate home more and more. In fact, if I stay here much longer I’ll probably end up loving the place!

Here are some pictures from a walk through the barrens and then to the village, from a little while ago. Add some steep hills and a few moose and pitcher plants, and it would be Newfoundland.

Rock on the rocks
The main boulder is completely off the ground. It is sitting on four stones. You can barely see Peggy’s Cove light on the right (west).

Peggys Cove from the East
Looks pretty exposed, doesn’t it?

Turtle Head

Promontory
For some reason I kept thinking of the Transvaal in South Africa

Tree on the rocks

Evening on the barrens
The barrens in the fall have amazing shades of red. It was true in Newfoundland, and it is true in Nova Scotia.

The Eastern Long-legged Photographer
The barrens in the fall have amazing shades of red. It was true in Newfoundland, and it is true in Nova Scotia.

Peggys Cove Nights 2

Duck Flotilla

Peggys Cove Nights 4

Peggys Cove Nights 5

Light Before Dark

Light and Dark

Light After Dark

a quickr pickr post

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