Today started out with the 2-l/2 hour boat trip at Western Brook Pond, which goes into the park’s premier landlocked fjord. The tour was scheduled to leave at 10 o’clock, but we needed to be at the parking area around 9 AM to hike the 45 minute trail to the boat. The boat ride is very popular and was quite crowded. We were a little disappointed to not get a space on the upper deck, but even in the 70 degree weather we soon realized it was chilly on the water and we were better off out of the breeze. We saw spectacular landscapes carved by glaciers and seemed to wind between mammoth mountains. The tour narrator told us about the remarkable quality of the water, some of the purest in the world. Upon the return, the sight-seers seemed as eager to get off the boat as they were to get on. Leaving the boat, we had to walk the trail again to get back to the car. The trail was interesting with many interpretative signs explaining the ecology of the land.
Back at the parking lot we observed that only about three cars had U.S. license plates, while all the rest had Canadian plates. In meeting people on this trip it seems to us that probably more than 90% of the travelers are Canadians, and no more than about 5% Americans. Gas prices and the weak U.S. dollar don’t help.
After having lunch at Shallow Bay Restaurant in Cow Head, we stopped at Broom Point where a Canadian Park Ranger explained fishing and canning. At that location was a very small house where three Mudge brothers and their families (as many as 10 people in all) spent summers from 1941 until 1975, fishing and canning for their livelihood. They lived inland during the winter. In 1975 the entire camp, including boats, lobster traps and nets was sold to Canada’s National Parks. The terrain to the water exposed interesting rock formations in the area. We also stopped to see the remains of the shipwreck, Ethie, which met its fate during a storm in 1919. All passengers were saved, even an infant who was shuttled to shore in a mailbag. Unfortunately, time and the elements haven’t been too good to Ethie and not much is left.