Continuing our INETA Atlantic Provinces tour, Rich & I have been in Newfoundland since Friday. We are staying with Amanda Murphy and Shane Perran who have been fantastic hosts and tour guides. Amanda runs St. John’s .NET User Group, the local user group where I am speaking tonight. She is also a board member of INETA. But most importantly, since we met in the blogosphere a few years ago, I think more of Amanda as a little sister. We have been having a blast here!
For those of you new to geography ;-), Newfoundland is the eastern most province of Canada and out here in St. John’s (one of the oldest cities in North America), we are on the eastern most point of North America. We even went to the tippy tip of it yesterday, to Cape Spear. We are surrounded by rugged, beyond gorgeous coastline and 500 years of military history.
St. John’s itself is accessible by water through a narrow strip of water between big cliffs which has been protected during wars and attempts (some successful) to colonize Newfoundland over the centuries. Here is a picture of St. Johns looking out through the narrows, from inside The Rooms, a wonderful conglomeration of natural history museum, modern art museum and provincial archives up on the hillside of St. John’s. The Rooms is not quite as loved by locals though. It’s a massive structure that imposes greatly on the St. John’s cityscape and cost a great deal of money to build. It has been open for a year and apparently the jury is still out as to it’s impact. As an outsider though, I truly enjoyed the experience of being in the complex.
There are forts on both sides of the narrows. On the left side is National Historic site, Signal Hill. Here is a picture taken from Signal Hill looking at the other side of the narrows. You can see a lighthouse there as well and the ruins of another old fort.
We have been visiting many spots along the coast in this general area. In Middle Cove, I had to give up on trying to save all of the starfish that were meeting there doom out of the water.
We went to the amazing Cape Spear yesterday, the eastern most point of Newfoundland (and north america) and with NL’s oldest light house. We saw lots of whales (distant) while there also.
We also went on a whale/bird watch with a wonderful tour operator, O’Brien’s. We followed a whale for a while and it made a number of deep dives, which means the tail comes up and out of the water for a big splash. I did not get the timing right on clicking my digital camera (darned lag time) so I don’t have a good pic to share, but O’Brien’s has great pictures and videos on their site.
We went to an island with millions (literally) of birds – gulls, puffins, awks and more. The puffins were fun to watch. They have small wings and flap them furiously to fly. On the water they go across the top doing this flying/swimming/bouncing thing.
We also went to small fishing villages in many little coves. Here are some pics (those are crab pots) from Petty Harbor.
Today I will go for a hike up Signal Hill with my silly husband, who has been patiently waiting for me while I created this insanely long blog post. Rich is quite prepared for whatever foul weather we may encounter!
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