Sunday, September 12, 2010
Despite the skill of Captain Bryce I noticed in the guest book that many of the visitors found the boat ride over to the island to be quite exhilirating. I gather that was the gist of their comments - they used other words though. I could see how some folks from landlocked origins might find the trip over to be a bit daunting. It is short but intense. On the return trip one of the staff got to ride in the space in the bow - this opportunity was not offered to the guests, so I was unsure whether this was a unique privelege or a staff requirement. Guests were content to hangon to their seats and enjoy the spray and the swell.
Once at the beach - there is a nice hike to the actual quest house where the staff gathered to greet everyone.
An incredible place to visit and a unique destination.
When we arrived a little later in the season the whale traffic had lessened but still there were several easily seen inside the Island harbour. And dolphins making a dash outside the island. In the height of the season this would be the ultimate viewing spot. Hikes in the afternoon were easiest to see alternative landing spots at Cod Cove for example, in case heavier seas made it hard for the boat to go around the headland. This I suppose is the reason visitors are limited to one bag.Although there is a quad type vehicle that can carry gear and in a pinch folks who can't hike.
Clear weather allows for sunsets and sunrise shots - so this is a photographers paradise.
The Viking Trail is an extraordinary drive. Reaching L'Anse aux Meadows means you landed on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site represents the first European settlement in North America. The interpreters immerse themselves in character and make the settlement come alive. As we hiked around the extensive trail system, it is hard to believe the area was a boreal forest when the vikings landed.
L'Anse aux Meadows the community is still a fishing community and there are a number of local places to visit and eat. Since we were camping we stopped by the Norseman for a great dinner and break.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Raleigh is just a short distance from the Pistolet Bay campsite. We spent most of our time talking to Abiel Taylor about his work, his background in carving and about Raleigh. It seems there are fewer pieces of whale bone around, so selecting one of Abiel's works was a special event. He had a good sense of humour he even suggested a rationale for us to accomodate the purchase of another special carving. I was tempted, but took his card to keep in mind for the future. A visit back next year would not take much convincing.
Then we were off to tour the Burnt Cape ecological reserve. If we had more time this would be the place to go to find rare and unique Newfoundland plants, especially some rare small orchids. You would be wise to go with the tour leaving Pistolet Bay. We missed the official tour but it was encouraging to know this site(almost the whole peninsula) is protected.
Pistolet Bay is accessible through the small neck of land at the base of the bay within Raleigh - we didn't get a chance to kayak in Pistolet Bay and along the outer part of peninsula where you can access the famous Oven.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Pistolet Bay was our base for several days to travel to St.Anthony, Raleigh, St.Lunaire Griquet, L'Ainse aux Meadows and points in between. There was spectacular scenery and we met great folks - and heard many stories from folks running coffee shops, businesses and restaurants all around the region. The park is a great refuge but when the fog, wind and rain set in a good tarp for cooking and a solid tent is needed for a good nights sleep. I found the staff very helpful when picking a spot if choice is possible. If you are using a tent I recommend site 60.
I know what you might be thinking...
When I was at our downtown Starbucks, shortly before we took off on our road trip I bought a pack of instant bold coffee - for emergencies. Ever since my tastebuds were embarassed by a taste test between the brewed and the instant I have considered packing instant, just in case. Up to that moment I could never bring myself to actually buy a pack. For our trip which involved camping and considerable driving, the main plan was to use a freshly ground batch of my Jumping Bean coffee brewed in my camp turkish coffee pot.
But, I ran into technical difficulties with my pot. In the cold fog and early morning drizzle in Pistolet Bay - Starbucks instant coffee saved the day. I think I will be carrying a pack of Starbucks in the food pack for future trips. Nothing beats freshly brewed and I go to a fair bit of trouble to brew coffee on the road but when all else fails - pull out the instant.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
We lucked into incredibly sunny weather when we arrived in Quirpon(pronounced car-poon. Quirpon is the second last community at the end of the road(430)- L'Ainse aux Meadows is about 20 km north west. John, a local resident enthusiastically encouraged us to use his land, to carry our kayaks to the beach. A French bread oven was remade on his property to assist in recognizing the French connection since the 1600's. This area was frequented by French fishermen based on a treaty in the region until 1904.
The south side of Quirpon Island can easily be reached by kayak but the paddle along the east side to the harbour that accesses the Inn on the Island is not something you would attempt alone. On this weekend we missed meeting up with the resident Quirpon Island kayaking guide, so we took the time to kayak around the harbours and inner coast.
We just returned from a week long drive to the northern peninsula visiting points in between. Even if your main goal is to visit, camp and hike it is always a good plan to strap on the kayaks - there are endless possibilites around Newfoundland. Notre Dame Bay on this day was incredibly calm - ideal for exploring.