Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the water

We are here.  In Newfoundland.  Another of those places we've always wanted to see.  The travel was, well, travel.  What  can I say?  Hurry up and wait at airports.  Flights delayed for reasons that are not mechanical and you have to try and empathize with the person who is probably totally aware that helping them on and off has created echo delays down the chain of flights.  We made our connection with minues to spare.  And we landed without incident after our second try through the fog.  Mercifully, I wasn't near a window to see the trees wa-ay too close on that first practice landing.

After a red-eye flight and a  white-knuckle landing, we were ready for St John's.  Arriving at the motel early in the morning, we were hoping to just stow the bags.  But the kind manager told us the room was ready- just go on up and relax.  Almost didn't get out of there.  A shower and a bit of complimentary breakfast went over a treat, though.

Into the  car, dig out the maps and we're on our way to Bay Bulls to take a boat tour to see the birds.  The fog lifted - mostly.  But, if I though we were having a disappointing June...huh!  Nothing like here.  Brr...it's cold.  I am almost all bundled up.  Don't have my mitts on yet but I have two jackets both with hoods.

Here we go.

Puffins are a bird very high on my wish  list.  In fact, I would have been very unamused to not see any while I'm here.  They were definitely around.  Lots of the.  Here are the married quarters.  Watching over the nests.  Those would be the holes in the grass.

The bachelors.

They fly the way penguins swim.  Flapping those stubby wings really, really fast.   They really shouldn't be able to fly at all.  And the only way they can take off is on the water.  So, they launch themselves from the nest, over the edge and kind of fall, fly and hit the water flapping.

There were lots and lots of birds.  Puffins, murres, gulls, a fulmar, an eagle - even some crows. The sky was absolutely alive with birds, wheeling and crying.  Birds were diving, flapping or just resting on the water. The eagle spooked a whole flock of nesting murre who promptly took off in one fell swoop, curved a long  black tail  and then back to their abandoned nests before the gulls noticed they were gone.  Definitely a precarious existence.  Yet,  they flourish.  There is something to be said for numbers.

Back to land.

Our guide for the day, a young man with a marvellous tenor voice treated us to song a couple of times.  As well as stand-up comedy.  I think that it's easy to mock the puffins, though.  They are clowns.  From the time I heard about this boat trip I'd been singing this song in my head.  Not surprisingly, it  was one of the tunes we were favored to hear.  (Sorry, I  can't seem to link up with Great Big Sea's "Excursion Around the Bay". Do go have a listen on Youtube).    I\ll leave you today with the same tune in your head.


Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Wow, I'm jealous!!!! Your photos are extraordinary but then again, Newfoundland is an extraordinary place. I was there a couple of years back and I'd dearly love to go again. Some of the best people in the world live there. Have fun!

Paws on the Run said...

Very, very cool!!! And I'm so glad you guys got into your hotel room. I'm sure the shower felt wonderful, although I'm betting a nap would have felt better. Glad things are going smoothly so far!

Joyful said...

It does look cold. I hope the bird watching makes up for it. Some day I may get to Newfoundland myself.

Ginny said...

What a special treat today!!!! You see, I have a thing for Puffins! Ever since I had a book on them as a very young child. Of course there are none here and you never hear about them, there are also none at any of the local zoos, either, though they have loads of penguins. I would just love this birdwatching trip, but am so glad I can at least see it through your eyes! I did not know about the flying and water!!!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh, how beautiful, Stephanie! And, how wonderful that the manager of the hotel would let you check in early. Good customer service! Are you going to see Deanne Fitzpatrick's place??? ENJOY!! blessings ~ tanna

deb said...

Glad the boat trip was a great success. We almost hopped on that same boat but alas the puffins are mostly gone by September so we would have been lucky to see any & that was what I really wanted to see too. But it instead allowed us the time for our lighthouse picnic lunch which was fabulous!

Rudee said...

Minus the travel, it sounds perfect! Enjoy!

J.G. said...

Looks like it was well worth the chill. (I would love to see the puffins someday!)

Anonymous said...

I love puffins too. I hope to get to Nfld. myself someday.

Mimi said...

Fab pictures Stephanie! I think you could easily write a travel book.
I'm disccovering the perils of "I'll come back later to comment cos haven't time now"!
That motel manager sounds great; I love to meet people like that, who are willing to bend rules and go the extra mile to give good customer service.
The puffins are cute, but the scenery is really breathtaking. Actually reminds me a lot of Kerry, and they have lots of puffins too!
And I guess you can't have everything, so weather seems to be the sacrifice for beautiful surroundings this week!

Pam Lofton said...

Well, I read these is reverse order but it's official. I'm JEALOUS!


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