Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Puffins and Humpback Whales: Thursday August 30th
This morning we were up very early so that we could take in the sunrise at Cape Spear. It is incredible to think that today, we were at the most easterly point in North America, and were some of the first people to see the sunrise on the continent! We arrived at Cape Spear with time to spare before the 6:15am sunrise. It was simply spectacular!
From Cape Spear we returned to the inn and prepared for a morning at sea. From St. John's we travelled south to Bay Bulls. Along the way, we stopped in to Bidgood's, a local grocery story that specializes in selling traditional Newfoundland food prepared in the store. Seal flipper pie, saltfish and brewis, cod tongues, and salted beef were a few of the items that could be found on store shelves. Onwards, we arrived at the dock in Bay Bulls where we were looking forward to boarding the S.S. Atlantic Puffin with O'Briens Nautical Experience.
With a full boat, we sailed from Bay Bulls to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Once there, we began the slow process of making our way around the bay, all the while keeping an eye out for spouts and fins. Although the whale watching season was near its end, we were lucky, and soon after arriving we were on the trail of a humpback whale! We soon learned that the humpback whale we were following was well known in the area, and had been nicknamed "Bob".
Without intruding on the whale, we spent the next hour following at a distance as it surfaced for air, raised his tail out of the water, then descended. We were fortunate to see several cycles (each 5 minutes apart) of the whale surfacing, and each time was just as amazing as the first.
Saying goodbye to "Bob" we made our way over to a nearby island that was literally covered in thousands of puffins. Swooping down from the cliffs to the ocean below all the while surrounding the boat was an incredible experience. After taking hundreds of pictures, we made our way back to Bay Bulls - in Newfoundland style, singing mariner songs. Fun!
From Bay Bulls we made our way back into St. John's. The remainder of the day was spent seeing the many other sites in and around the city, including Pippy Park, the Fluvarium, the MUN botanical gardens, the Marine Institute, the Confederation building, Fort Amherst, and the Johnson Geo Centre.
After visiting nearly all of the major attractions in and around St. John's, we thought, what better to do than check out a local Dominion grocery store and see the neat things they have here in Newfoundland that are not available in Ontario? A good example of this were the four whole corn on the cob. Canned, ready to heat and enjoy. This, I will certainly have to try!
With a little shopping done, we were starting to get hungry. Short on ideas, we ended up back at Ches's a second time for more fish n' chips because it was that good! This time around we skipped the side of chips, instead opting to order two pieces of cod each, and share a sampling of cod tongues. Truthfully, they were delicious! From Ches's we explored George Street but realized that not much was happening because classes at MUN and the local colleges had yet to start! Exhausted we turned in for the night at Witt's Inn.