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An End of Summer Surprise – Killer Whales Make Northland Discovery Boat Tour Memorable

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At the end of summer, I took what would be my third Northland Discovery Boat Tour in just over a decade. It was my first without an iceberg (given the lateness in the season this was to be expected), but was I ever surprised by the number of whales I would see and the show the orcas and humpbacks would put on for me!

Located at the Grenfell Historic Properties Dock, St. Anthony, NL – Northland Discovery Boat Tours is the place you can see more whales, more icebergs and have more time on the water. It is an experience one will want to take if iceberg and whale watching is on your bucket list on the tip of Great Northern Peninsula!

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Departing scenic St. Anthony harbour, one gets a warm feeling of the significant fishing history of this community – the presence of wharves, fishing rooms, a state of the art shrimp plant, cold storage, port facilities for fishing vessels and so much more. As you get to the end of the harbour, Fishing Point Park’s lighthouse, walking trails, Lightkeeper’s Café, Fishing Point Emporium and the Great Viking Feast are the last dwellings you see before hitting the open water.

As we travelled past neighbouring communities of St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat and St. Carol’s we would see boaters and fishers jigging for cod fish on the last days of August. It was clear there was lots of fish in the water, making our likelihood of seeing whales that much more possible.

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Three humpback whales were working together to push fish near the rocks and become a feeding ground for the whales. It created an opportunity for some lovely photos. On the return we would capture some impressive coastline.

The biggest surprise was the 7 orcas (killer whales) we were greeting with again near the mouth of the harbour. It was my first time seeing orcas, so it was quite memorable and the perfect summer surprise. I captured many up close photos and videos of the whales.

The 2.5 hour boat tour was highly educational, offered hands on information about barnacles, birds, whales and bergs (icebergs). It also at times includes a trip to a sea cave called “the oven” and includes some local folklore.

As we steamed back in the sun was beaming and shrimp draggers were returning to port. There was a comforting feeling knowing all the amazing beauty and economic potential that is garnered from the sea. It is our reason for why we settled permanently on the Great Northern Peninsula and businesses, such as Northland Discovery Boat Tours shares a little bit of that with the world. If you are interested in a tour check out – http://www.discovernorthland.com/

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –                                          

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows                                        

 

 

Icebergs anchor in St. Anthony Bight, St. Carol’s and Great Brehat!

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Icebergs are a common sight on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula – it is the iceberg alley after all! The best viewings of icebergs surround L’anse aux Meadows, St. Anthony, Conche, Englee and surrounding communities.

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On a visit to St. Anthony in June, I detoured to St. Anthony Bight, St. Carol’s and Great Brehat. I was only to be impressed by the vernacular architecture, fishing boats and stages, wood piles and of course squid drying and icebergs nestled in the Bight – rural living at its finest!

St. Anthony-Bight has a 100 year old house owned by Mr. John Pilgrim. The St. Anthony-Bight Loop Trail is located about 2 km outside the community and is well-maintained. St. Anthony-Bight is also known as the “Iceberg Graveyard”, as icebergs come to rest in the coves and melt. Many people are sure to get their hands on the beloved bergy bits and use the iceberg ice to add iceberg ice to a beverage.

Just a few kilometres away is the community of St. Carol’s, which has a hiking trail that leads to John Patey’s Cove where there is a great view of icebergs and whales. A population of less than 60 residents today, still boasts a strong fishing community. I had the pleasure of seeing squid left to dry on the flake on this particular day.

A little further down another road is Great Brehat (pronounced Braha). This community like the others, where heavily influenced by the French in the 17 and 1800’s as fishing stations. Great Brehat has a walking trail behind the local cemetery known as Flat Point Lookout and there is also another trail leading to Little Brehat (which one of our many NL re-settled or ghost communities).

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The presence of the fishery still remains a big part of this community, although some of the smaller stages and wharves are being lost to the perils of harsh weather.

These three communities are on the outskirts of the Town of St. Anthony, recently became connected to the digital world via broadband Internet and they are between L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. On your visit to the Great Northern Peninsula these may be communities you will want to visit to see rural living and icebergs, or you may just want to stay awhile longer.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

River of Ponds rocked their 1st Come Home Year

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River of Ponds just northeast of Daniel’s Harbour gets its name from the river that flows from a number of ponds in the area extending from the foot of the Long Range Mountain to the ocean. River of Ponds is a fishing community with many lobster fishers, but also boasts incredible recreational salmon and trouting seasons.

The community’s first census marked 16 residents in the 1800’s to reach a high water mark of 341 prior to cod moratorium of 1992 to a population of 200 today. July 20th marked the commencement of the first ever Come Home Year celebration. A committee of volunteers planned a week of incredible events, a cook book and calendar was prepared and each family took pride in printing individualized banners showcasing the landscapes, portraits and their family namesake.

It was a real pleasure to join committee chair, Mayor, and MP officially open the celebration with hundreds of family and friends connected to River of Ponds. I was happy to join the families and parade around the picturesque community.

Nightfall would bring a fire on the beach and fireworks. Lots of great conversations were to be had, without a ripple on the water.

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Throughout the week there were bands, local talent, gospel concerts, cards, meals, baseball games and bouncy castles.

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River of Ponds Come Home Year provided many new memories, as old friends met and new ones were made. It clearly shows that big things are happening in small communities.

Be proud of all your accomplishments and keep “Living the Dream”!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Red for Miles – Right Through the Fog!

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I spent time yesterday in the “Beauty Spot of the North” – Conche, NL to talk with residents and participate in the annual garden party tradition. After lunch and between the matinee, I did take some time to visit Fox Head, memorial airstrip, French Shore Interpretation Centre, wharf, tour the town, chat with residents and of course visit the red fishing rooms.

I think it was the first time in Conche where I experienced such fog, it seems the days are typically sunny in this vibrant and cultural centre. I did snap lots of photos from flowers to fishing nets to the colourful houses and stages, especially the red fishing rooms on Crouse Drive. Even through the fog, it feels like fisherman red for miles!

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The bright read gleams in the fog as the lobster traps and fishing boats are safely moored in the harbour.IMG_20150802_142826

These buildings have recently been painted, ensuring that they are around for the long haul. I had a great chat in the shed with Gerard and his cousin on my last visit about the fishery, the many challenges and the future. They are quite industrious as they were engulfed in building their own boat launch.

Our history, culture, tradition and our future is proudly on public display in the community of Conche. A true destination, over a 17.6 KM gravel road that is desperately in need of paving.

Fire wood, folk art and an forgotten Ford (maybe) are also part of the visual one will experience in this part of the Town.

I have many more images of the jelly bean row houses, the open art, music, dance, history and more that I will share in another post. Don’t worry about the fog, if you’re in Conche – you’ll still see red for miles!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Hay Cove is a Happening Place

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For a population of less than 30 people, Hay Cove is a happening place. A tour of the community will set you smiling as you see the water, hills, coastline and traditional way of life still being employed in a small fishing village next door to L’anse aux Meadows which is home to a World UNESCO site. One can take a walk on the trail leading you to a neighbouring community of Noddy Bay, as you pass a flake sometimes with local codfish drying the sun for winter.

The fishing boats are still moored to the wharf, gardens are planted and clothes is freshly drying on the line. There is a home for sale and others that have been converted to Bed & Breakfasts, Coffee Shop or Studio. While in Hay Cove you can stay at Viking Nest, Viking Village or Jenny’s Runestone House (formerly Marilyn’s Hospitality Home), drink heavenly coffee, access free WIFI , enjoy a singing kitchen compliments of singer/songwriter Wayne Bartlett and listen to Radio Quirpon at Coffee in the Cove or find authentic Norse jewelry at the Thorfinn Studio. Whales regularly visit and so do those iceberg beauties. Try your hand at bird watching or berry picking, this place is trendy, traditional and quintessentially rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

This tiny community during the summer season is full of life, laughter and is a thriving place to live, work and experience. When you come to the Great Northern Peninsula, you won’t want to miss this happening place!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

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