Every shade of Blue
Sep 9, 2008
|A day spent driving the Avalon Peninsula - Tuesday, September 9
Hannah dumped some wind and rain on us so yesterday we stayed in and worked on journaling and finances. By this morning it was time to get out again, and the sun was shining brilliantly, so we headed out to see more of the Avalon Peninsula. It is the southeasternmost peninsula of Newfoundland’s many peninsulas, and like all the others this one has it’s own character and beauty to distinguish it.
We drove a 70 mile loop that started and ended in St. John’s. It first took us northwest to Conception Bay which is normally fairly calm, but this morning had considerable surf stirred up by yesterday’s winds. Across the bay in the distance we could see Bay de Verde at the end of the point, and down bay the towns of Harbour Grace, Carbonear and Cupids which we visited last week on our way here. The ocean was so blue it almost hurt your eyes. A deep rich hue somewhere between Prussian Blue and French Ultramarine.
The dark water made a perfect foil for the whiteness of the foam and spray, and in places where they mixed the water was varying shades of turquoise. Waterfalls cascade from the steep banks into the sea, and where they meet there is a yard or two of water that is sap green and ochre, but never muddy or brown. The clarity of the water is a constant, not to be yielded to an entering stream.
Our drive took us through several small bayside towns. Here the homes look newer and you don’t see the huge piles of firewood that you see in outer villages. There is less fishing activity too, in part because they are near the capital and people are engaged in other occupations, and in part because the sheer cliffs and rugged coastline make access to the water more difficult and dangerous.
We ran into friendly people at almost every stop. At Middle Cove, site of a rogue wave a week ago that washed a lot of unsuspecting beach goers into the water, a man talked to us about going to Minnesota to baby sit his grandson while his son is in Newfoundland. At Pouch Cove a woman walking past stopped and offered to take a picture for us. At Flatrock a woman talked to Madolyn about the Catholic Grotto where Pope John Paul came to bless the fleet, and while she was taking pictures a man drove up and immediately struck up a conversation with me.
His name was Paddy McGraw and half an hour later I knew a lot of his life story, as he now also knows mine. When Newfoundlanders talk to you there is a sincerity in their friendliness. Almost immediately they make you feel you have known them all your life, and in a heartbeat you skip all the small talk and are talking about something interesting and worthwhile. Whatever this province lacks in material wealth it more than makes up for in the richness of life.
Our final stop was at a Marine Laboratory run by the University of Newfoundland. It has no tours but you can walk around the outside, and here we saw our first Harp seals, named that for the ‘U’ shaped marking on their backs that resembles a harp. Here there were two in a tank with three harbor seals. The ones with the markings are the mature adults. Their babies are the cute white pups you see in the ads and at the heart of the sealing controversy that rages on the outside world, but there were none in residence at the laboratory.
Back home we caught several of the comedy shows on TV and in typical Newfoundland humor a reporter was interviewing the captain of a curling team and they were commiserating on the difficulty of formulating a cheer for a Newfoundland and Labrador team. As in:
Gimme and ‘N’! Gimme an ‘E’! Gimme a ‘W’! Gimme and ‘F’! etc. etc. etc. etc. right on through the ‘R’ in Labrador. They have a wonderful ability to laugh at themselves. Another of the qualities that makes them so real.