Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bell Island

This morning we made the trip to Belle Island.  After a short ferry ride form Portugal Cove to Bell Island we drove to the local bakery and bought a loaf of maple raisin bread, some gumdrop crinkle cakes for the kids (they taste like a Twinkie), and some tea biscuits (similar to scones).  Next stop was to Mine #2 for a tour of the iron ore mine.  It was began in 1902 and closed in 1966 due to the risks of underground mining and companies have the ability to do surface mining in Labrador for iron ore, which is much more economical.  There were a total of 6 mines on the island, mine #2 is 2.5 miles long and goes out under the ocean.  If you were able to go to the end of the mine you would be about 3 miles underwater.  Mine #2 is the only that is open to the public for tours.  You can only go 650 feet into the mine at a 10 degree downward slope, as you go deeper into the mine it has filled with water from rains, snow, and time.  They say the water never fills up all of the way because there are natural holes in the side of the island that the water, at that level, will weep through to the outside.  I am always surprised at how dark it is down there and that people actually had to work by candlelight, with giant rats. 

A whale we saw on the way over to Bell Island.

A concrete and steel box that contained the Clydesdales food.

 After the tour we came outside and discovered that the fog had rolled in and it was drizzling outside.  We decided to get lunch at the local fish and chips restaurant.  The fish and chips were good with big chunks of fish and light breading.  After lunch the fog started lifting and we went to the lighthouse and walked around a little.  We left the lighthouse and tried to find a tunnel that you are suppose to be able to walk through to get down to the rocky beach, we never found the tunnel and ended up on some pretty interesting roads, not to mention most all the roads were not marked and were more ATV trails than roads.  Lets just say it is a beautiful island and was fun to check out, but it is not the most tourist friendly or easiest to get around on. 

I am still amazed at how clear the water is here! 

Looking back at Bell Island (pop. 2500) from the ferry

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Strawberry Picking!!

Today we went to Lester's Farm and picked 12.8 pounds of strawberries.  I have NO idea what we are going to do with all of these strawberries, I guess I will make a shortcake for strawberry shortcake and we have eaten a lot of them already, but there are a lot left!!  Maybe freeze some for smoothies.  While we were there the kids enjoyed checking out all the animals and playing on the old tires they have set up for kids to play on.  Emily and Reagan had their arms (instead of faces) painted.  It was a good morning outing and we got to the farm early enough to miss the crowds in the fields.  The kids had a good time picking berries and playing. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Playing on the rocks

Today we were going to take the ferry over to Bell Island from Portugal Cove (about 20 min from our house) but when we got there the wait to get on the ferry was 2 hours.  We ended up not waiting in line to go to Bell Island headed back to St. John's, stopping at a roadside bakery along the way, Tilt House Bakery, where a woman was spinning yarn on the front porch and a couple other people spinning pottery on the other side.  Inside the bakery was a lot of yummy looking food; breads, cookies, pies, sandwiches, soups, and of course pastries.  It all looked good and smelled really good.  We all picked out one item to eat on our little hike that we decided to take along the coast near the town of Torbay.  After the bakery we drove to Torbay where we walked along the east coast trail to an area with a lot of rocks to play on and some streams flowing into the bay and tide pools to play in.  When we got to the coast the fog had moved in, the wind had increased and it was chilly.  Fortunately we had brought some warm clothes so we were not too cold on the trail.  Some of us stayed on the trail, because we are not able to bend to climb the rock faces.  Most of us were more adventurous and climbed the rock walls and did a lot exploring.  This is a place I am sure we will go back to. On our walk back to the car Paul noticed a LARGE splash in the ocean off in the distance.  We stopped to watch and see what it was or if it would happen again.  It turned out there were some whales in the water.  They were breaching the surface and making big splashes.  We were pretty far away and could only make out the large splash and an occasional black thing exploding from the water.  I had to crop the pictures in pretty close, so they are fuzzy, wish we had my long distance camera lens, but who knew we would see whales today.  By the time we were headed back to the car the fog had lifted and it was warming up.  Such a fun day!
Nathan exploring

Nathan's exploring paid off with a sea gull egg shell

Do your kids dress like this in July?

This is what most of my pictures looked like since I missed the jump and only caught the splash!