My two favorite shots of the trip are the two I had the least hope of coming away with.
The first is this HDR shot of an iceberg near Twillingate. Three shots on a moving boat took some work to merge. It was a total experiment that ended up working out.
My other iceberg photos (including the ones from Iceland) can be found here.
The second was an attempt to photograph the Milky Way on one of the clear moonless nights. This is over the fjord near Gros Morne.
I’m new to astrophotography and I don’t get to places where I can practice very often so I am rather happy with the results.
There were storms on the island of Cape Breton. Lightning lit up our hotel room all night long. Cynthia slept like a log but I watched from the window for a while. It was pretty to watch, but was dashing hopes for a good day on the trail.
We got up and had breakfast and got on the road. We immediately hit some fog and also road construction.
As we drove we went in and out of the fog as we went up and down the mountains. It was not encouraging. But we kept driving. Eventually we did clear the fog and the rain stopped. And the view improved.
We kept driving and decided to go ahead and take the entire loop around the Cabot Trail. That’s over 200 miles in total so it was a full day.
We had a good time, stopping now and again to see what there was to see
And even to goof around
It turned into a beautiful day and we had a great time
When we finally returned to the hotel that afternoon we took a hike on the Middle Head Trail that is on the grounds behind our hotel.
It was beautiful, but we were pretty tired so we only walked for a mile or so before turning back. This was a find end to this fantastic journey. Tomorrow we drive back to the Halifax area so we can pack up and get ready to catch our flight home.
As usual, we were up early and got out of town quick to make our way to the next destination. The drive took us close to Peggy’s Cove so we decided to take the short detour and see if it was any better in the early morning. It was. Still some tourists crawling around, but not as bad as yesterday.
We left and made a stop near D’Aubins Cove where we noticed the water was exceptionally still
We drive on to Baddeck and got checked into our hotel. Turns out there was a small festival in the city center where we were able to see some live traditional music and have an enjoyable but early evening.
Tomorrow, Cabot Trail!
We woke this morning to rain and fog. And we had fog for most of our drive to Lunenburg via Yarmouth. This was a bit of a disappointment as parts of the drive looked like they would have been quite scenic. We did try stopping at a few lighthouses, but the fog was just too thick to contend with.
There were some odd things to see on the road, though. Like this relic from the past.
As we pulled into Lunenburg the weather began to clear up and we had the opportunity to go for a walk down by the harbor and see the boats and have some dinner.
We retired rather quickly to our charming bed and breakfast and called it a night. Tomorrow the weather looks to be very good and we have some driving planned to explore the area.
We got up and drive from Halifax to Digby. Digby is a very pleasant town and home to the Digby scallop fleet. So of course, we had to try the scallops. They are delicious.
For our full day in Digby we decided to drive down the Digby Neck, a small thin peninsula that leads to Long Island and then to Brier Island over a couple of short ferry rides.
When we crossed from Digby Neck to Long Island we took the opportunity to hike out to Balancing Rock in Tiverton. The rock hangs out over St. Mary’s Bay. It’s a 2.4 kilometer hike each way so a total of about 3 miles to get there. Plus there is 235 steps leading down the cliff side towards the end of the trail at the end to see the rock.
We were blessed with some good weather and the hike was quite manageable. And in the end, the payoff was a spectacular view with almost perfect light.
We proceeded on and caught the second ferry over to Brier Island for our next adventure which was to take a Zodiac boat out to see if we could see some whales.
The Zodiac is a small boat and when you take one on a tour like this you have to wear a special thermal jumpsuit in case you fall into the water.
We prepared to board the boat and as the previous tour was disembarking we asked if they had seen any whales and they said no. We were a bit discouraged by this news but as we moved out to see the boat pilot let us know that some whales had been sited about 20 miles out in the Bay Of Fundy. That’s a long ways to travel in one of these small boats and it was quite the adventure getting out there. When we did get out there the boat that was tracking the whales was gone and there were no whales. But then the boat pilot shouted that he saw a spout of water and proceeded forward for another 1/2 mile or so and we were treated to two humpback whales swimming very close to us.
This first picture is another Zodiac like ours and gives you a sense of scale.
This second and third photo gives you a sense of how close we got to the whales.
This was a great day in Nova Scotia!
Tomorrow, Lunenburg via Yarmouth.
I have to say, we are no longer fans of built up metropolitan areas on our trips so Halifax was met with some trepidation after enjoying the rural surrounds of a place like Newfoundland. Add to that the fact that it was a bit rainy and VERY foggy and we were probably a little less enthusiastic about this leg of the journey. Still, the nautical nature of this town encouraged us to make the most of it.
We woke up and had breakfast and set off into the fog that had rolled in overnight.
It was not long before we saw a Canadian Tardis flying through the air near the harbour.
We walked out to the waterfront and snapped a few photos of ships in the fog.
We spent much of the day in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic exploring the Titanic and Halifax Explosion exhibits. We even met a woman who worked on the museum staff who was the daughter of a woman who miraculously survived the disaster.
The weather continued to be rainy and foggy and drained us of much of our energy so we called it an early day and got some rest for our upcoming drive to Digby.
After staying up past our bedtime last night we woke up at the crack of dawn to get packed and go to the airport to catch our flight from Deer Lake to Halifax. We were on the road by about 6 am.
As we drove out we encountered some sheep which always makes Cynthia happy. She was able to photograph these guys while I pulled over to the side of the road.
A little further down the road Cynthia began to shout “A MOOSE, A MOOSE! I SAW A MOOSE!” I made a u-turn and drove back and sure enough there was a young moose grazing by the side of the road. I pulled over and Cynthia took this photo.
Seeing a moose was something Cynthia really wanted to do and we had begun to think we would not see one before leaving Newfoundland.
We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Deer Lake is a small regional airport so it’s not very crowded. The flight was only an hour to Halifax.
We arrived and picked up our rental car and made our way to the hotel. We were too early to check in so we parked and did a little exploring. We were pretty tired and had dinner plans with some friends that evening so when we got checked in we just relaxed until time to meet up.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.
Today we made the 4 1/2 hour drive back to Gros Morne. We didn’t do much on this day other than get back to our accommodations. It was important to get a little rest for the trip out to Western Brook Pond.
When visiting Western Brook Pond you have to drive to a parking lot and then hike in 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) to the pier to meet the boat.
We got an early start with the sun shining and blue skies blazing, but by the time we made the hike a bit of fog and gloom had settled in.
Undaunted, we boarded the boat and proceeded on a 2 hour tour of the fjord lake. It was impressive to see, but not the most photogenic outing of the journey due to the inclimate weather.
Toward the end the sun made an effort to come out, but it was ultimately too late to be of much photographic benefit.
We hiked out the 3 kilometers back to the car and then made our way back to the hotel. We needed to get organized for our flight to Halifax the next day so we took the rest of the afternoon to do that and then treated ourselves to a show by the Anchors Aweigh band who play Newfoundland folk music as well as some traditional Irish tunes. The show was amazing and we stayed for the whole thing, even though that meant that we were out pretty late and having to get up very early to make our flight.
In St. Anthony our main goal was icebergs so we booked a reservation with a local tour company and boarded a boat and headed out on the North Atlantic.
After the boat tour we went to L’Anse aux Meadows, site of a viking settlement. The archeological site itself was rather unremarkable, but there was a reconstruction of the dwellings and there were reenactors who told the tale of what it was like in those times.
All in all, a fantastic day. Tomorrow we drive back to Gros Morne National Park, a 4 1/2 hour drive, and take a boat out on Western Brook Pond which is not a pond, but a fjord.
We left early this morning to make the 4 1/2 hour drive up to St. Anthony on the uppermost part of The Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. It was gloomy and foggy for the first part of the drive and then cleared up and became very nice. Then the it turned foggy and gloomy again.
The fog and gloom was unfortunately in the area of Flower’s Cove where we planned to stop see the thrombolites, fossils that are estimated to be between 600 million to 1.2 billion years old and that exist only two places in the world. The other is in Australia.
With the wind, strong, wet and cold, blowing up off the sea was we decided to cut our visit short in favor of the warmth of the car and the promise of sunshine down the road.
Sure enough, the weather cleared a few miles down the road and it became a beautiful day.
We finished up the drive in St. Anthony where we had this afternoon and the full day tomorrow to explore. We checked into our hotel and then set out to Fisherman’s Point where we had read there’s a great view of the cove. What we didn’t expect was the three icebergs that had settled into cove which offered a nice, close up view.
We explored the point and then set off to find some dinner and then called it a night.
Tomorrow we take to the sea in search of more icebergs.
We left Twillingate pretty early, mostly because we’re old and we wake up pretty early, but also because it was going to be a long day of driving. Before getting out of town we took advanatage of the morning light to get a few parting shots of this charming little town.
The drive across this part of Newfoundland was pretty uneventful.
We arrived in the Gros Morne area and were greated by an interesting batch of fog that was coming in over the harbor.
It has been a long day. We had a nice dinner and are looking forward to a relaxing evening before heading north to St. Anthony, a town on the northern reaches of the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.
Today we woke up early to make the drive from Bonavista to Twillingate. This was a rather long drive, much of which was on the Trans Canada Highway. There was some construction and many signs warning of the dangers of moose. Cynthia was in charge of the highway photography.
We stopped in Gander for lunch, but it was a mostly unremarkable town so we quickly moved on to Twillingate. We got checked into our hotel and found our way to the harbour where we booked a tour with Iceberg Quest to go out on a boat and get a closer look at some icebergs.
Before the tour we drive up to Crow Nest for some nice views
Then it was off on a small boat to chase the icebergs at sea.
This first photo is by Cynthia and gives you a sense of the scale
The icebergs are really interesting up close. And they look completely different from different angles.
We really enjoyed the tour. It lasted about 2 hours and when we got back to shore we treated ourselves to a nice dinner. Tonight we rest and in the morning we drive to Gros Morne National Park.
We really managed to hit the high spots on day 1 in Bonavista yesterday. So today was very casual. We got up very early and walked about the harbor and then went back to Elliston to see if there might be more puffin activity in the early morning. Turns out, this was a VERY good time to see them as they had not gone out to sea just yet and there were dozens of them near the viewing cliff.
We cam back to town and drive around a bit to see the icebergs that were floating around the peninsula.
Later in the day we took a drive out to Trinity to see the small historical town, but the day began to turn a bit overcast and the drive, while pleasant, was not very photogenic with all the fog. We had some lunch and drove back to Bonavista and called it a day. Tomorrow, Twillingate for more icebergs!
This morning we got up an drive to Bonavista. On the way we stopped in the unfortunately named town of Dildo
Dildo is a very cute little fishing village and was a great place to stop for some coffee and some photos.
We drive on and stopped in Port Rexton for another short phto break
It was a fairly easy drive on into Bonavista and we checked into the hotel. While in Bonavista we wanted to see two things. The Bonavista Lighthouse. We ended up having fantastic light when we drive to the top of the peninsula
And the other thing we wanted to see was the puffins. There’s a place in Elliston where you can hike out and stand on the edge of a cliff next to a small island where they have their nests.
There’s about 6-8 icebergs floating around the peninsula, some are very close to land, but not always easy to get to the piece of land that they are close to due to the terrain.
Tonight we rest and prepare to do some exploring in Bonavista and the surrounding area tomorrow.
The time difference between Houston and Newfoundland is 2 1/2 hours. We’re adjusting well, but we’re already early risers and with the sun coming up around 5:00 am we’re out of bed by 6:00 am.
This let us get an early start on exploring as we went to Cape Spear which is the furthest east you can get in North America.
We saw our first icebergs!
And we had the entire site all to ourselves
After visiting Cape Spear we had some breakfast and made our way to Bay Bulls to take a whale and puffin watching tour with Gatherall’s
We say thousands of puffins and other seabirds as well as about 4 or 5 Fin Whales, the second largest mammals on the planet. Sadly, no good photos as they only briefly ever broke the surface.
I did manage to get some photos of the Common Murre
At one point thousands of them left their rocky perches and took to the sea
We drive for a bit more and headed up to Pouch Cove, a small and picturesque town north of St. John’s
After this we were pretty wiped. We had an early dinner and called it a day. St. John’s and the surrounding area has been just lovely.
Tomorrow we head to Bonavista.