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!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Whale Watching

Today we drove to Cape Spear trying to catch a glimpse of the humpback whales as they are supposed to be around in July / August chasing the capelin.  We got there around 2:30 and walked on the trails trying to see if there were any whales in the area.  Interestingly enough, there was still a loan iceberg in the area.  There was one that was hanging out by one of the whale watching tour boats, but was too far away for us to see it very well.  We walked on and there were a few more whales further down the coast, but they disappeared as soon as we showed up and tried to get a picture of them.  We continued to walk around the area and took a tour of the lighthouse.  As we walked out of the lighthouse and started down to the car we heard a woman say, "whales!".  So we walked over to the fence and watched as the whales surfaced and blew from their blow holes.  There were 2 whales that hung around and would come to the surface for air, but no jumping out of the water or tail splashes, maybe another time!  It was fun to see the whales in the wild, took 3 hours before we were able to really see the whales, but worth it.

One of the last ice bergs...

Kids with the lighthouse

This boat kept chasing the whales, the whales doubled back to get away from the boat.

Friday, July 11, 2014

East Coast Trail

Today we had plans to got to Ferryland and have a picnic.  Ferryland is a small town on the coast that has a  lighthouse and in the summer you can go there and purchase a picnic basket of food that they have made to eat on the grass by the lighthouse.  They provide a blanket to sit on as well.  I am told it is something that you have to do at least once.  Paul took the day off work and off we went.  When we got there we found out that you really should have reservations as they were booked full through July.  Fortunately I had packed a lunch for us to have, but we ended up not eating it there.  When we left the house it was sunny and hot, when we got to Ferryland it was cool and foggy.  The temperature had dropped 20 degrees and was chilly as we were not dressed for the cooler weather.  We were in shorts and t-shirts, but should have had on pants and a jacket.  After we left Ferryland and drove back up the coast the temperature warmed up and the fog disappeared.  We stopped at La Manche Provincial Park to hike on part of the East Coast Trail, eat lunch and to check out a suspension bridge.  While we were eating out lunch in a shady spot the kids noticed something swimming across the inlet so off they went to check it out.  Turns out it was 4 otters swimming over to a cave.  it was fun to see he otters in their natural habitat and how well camouflaged they are in the water.  On the walk back to the car Nathan found a tiny pond and a frog that he stalked until it was captured.  He originally wanted to keep the frog as a pet, but half way home decided to turn it loose so we stopped at a pond and let it go. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Manuel's River

Today we went to Manuel's River to walk along the river.  It started out a little overcast, but ended up being a blue sky with lots of sun.  The walking trails were well kept and it was easy walking for all of us.  Reagan even managed the 3ish miles of walking with only a few piggy back rides at the end.  There were a lot of spots to stop and let the kids throw rocks in the water and explore.  There was one spot that had been washed away and was perfect for the kids to climb up it.  It was a very steep slope, but they all managed (minus Reagan) and had fun getting dirty.  Trilobite fossil's  had been found here so Nathan was on a mission to try to find one, unfortunately, no luck!  There is a small museum that you can pay to walk through and a gift shop, but we just did the walk, which was plenty!!  The museum sits in the middle of the walking trails, and we took the trail downstream toward the ocean. 

In search of a trilobite

Looking at the ocean and river meeting

Having a snack on the beach

Throwing rocks

Friday, June 27, 2014


For about 1-2 weeks in June fish called Capelin will swim onto the shores to spawn and the locals collect them to eat.  We had heard that they were spawning now and we should go check it out, so we did.  Unfortunately they were not just laying all over the beach to be picked.  The tide was not high enough so the fish were not being brought in enough.  There was a man there that had a cast net and he was pulling them in and dumping them on the shores for anyone to pick some.  The kids had a good time picking at the fish and putting them in the bucket.  We were told to cook them you just leave them whole, no gutting or cleaning.  Just bread them and fry them, with the heads on.  You can also smoke them, salt them, or bake them to a consistency of a jerky.  We opted for the fried version but Paul did clean them and cut off their heads.  They were not bad, need more lemon, but for fish they were pretty good.  Paul, Nathan and I were the only ones that tried them and Nathan said they tasted a lot like trout, but a little more fishy. 
Sea Gull enjoying the fish


Our fisherman wearing shorts and in the water, COLD!!!