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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bonavista…Huffing and Puffin!

Saturday, July 27
It would be a relatively short 85 mile jaunt, up the road, to the Bonavista area this morning. The attraction there would be to see nesting Puffin birds. Their beaks with orange, whites and black and white bodies make them so loveable to humans and especially kids.
The Puffins at Home!

Before going to Bonavista, we were told to make it to Elliston, a short distance off of our route. Here we would  see Puffins and possibly see Minkie whales, that is if the creel fish were running. The road was paved, but extremely heaved. It was a good thing that the distance was only about five miles. I was averaging 20 miles per hour with the camper rolling side to side. The little town of Elliston had a welcoming sign which read “Welcome  to the World’s Largest Root Cellar Community”. The root cellars were all over the place. Our stop at a charming information center got us on the right road to watch the Puffins. I must say that the locals here have a pronounced accent. (Most likely from Scottish descendants).
At the point of land was the sign, “Puffin Viewing This Way”. The walk took us across a meadow and than narrowed between a drop-off on either side to the ocean. This path repeated a couple more times with the cliffs getting higher and the drop offs closer to the path. 
Loving the Views!
Finally we came to the end of the path and the Puffins (across from us on a separate island) were in view. A little girl (with her parents) looked unhappy. Her mother said her daughter wanted to pet the Puffins. I switched to my long lens and spent the next half hour shooting pictures of the Puffins and of the equally beautiful landscape.

Our friends, Catherine and Leon, had been here before and told us to drive-up the road as they did and were able to view the Puffins up and close. That’s what we did, but the seagulls were there feeding on fish remains that the fishermen had just cleaned. The Puffins were off at a distance.
This part of Newfoundland is in my opinion more geologically impressive than the rest. The rocky cliffs are fractured making for very interesting design patterns. I did take a lot of photos and will experiment with black and white renditions on our return home.
The root cellars, as I said above, were all over the coastal landscape and at the information center the lady said that any root cellar that had an open door was open to the public. I did poke my head into one. The interior had two wooden bins that were empty. That’s the way the garden vegies would keep before refrigerators and electricity came along.
Time to move on to Bonavista! The community is larger than most. It has a fish processing plant and appears to employ a good portion of the townspeople. The docks had several of the larger fishing trawlers moored.
It was mild and the sun poked through the clouds. We couldn’t resist going to the lighthouse first and see the view. In the parking lot, was another Lance truck camper. I could see out on the rocky peninsular a couple  were also looking towards our Lance camper. We walked towards them and I said, “I drove all the way up here to see if I could find another Lance camper”. It’s a small world. The owners, Joe Harvey and his wife Marcia, were from Ohio. I asked Joe if he was related to Paul or Doug Harvey, “no” he said. They are planning a trip to Alaska for next year and we conversed on that subject for a while. Now you have to picture this…we are talking next
to a high cliff overlooking the ocean below. In the corner of my eye, I spot two men coming over the cliff on the opposite side of a little cove. I feel they are in a very dangerous place. Plenty of loose rocks under foot and such. They are walking around like two Dahl sheep. I grabbed my camera and expected to catch a disaster of them falling. Nothing happened and they finally came our way and we spoke to them. They weren’t young guys either. One of them told me that he was Indian and his origins were from an Island 60 miles from here. I guess that explains their agility around the cliffs.
I spotted a few more Puffins and took the shots. Unfortunately, the weather was changing and the wind was erratic. Those pictures came out blurred. A strong thunder shower approached with  lightning bolts shooting to the ground. It was time to evacuate the high ground. A few miles back to town for more exploration.
A Catholic church, sitting on a hill caught our attention. A stop indicated that a mass was scheduled for 9 am on Sunday. That would fall into our plans to stay here for the night. Our day was still not done as far as exploration. Just before Cape Bonavista lighthouse is the Dungeon Provincial Park. The seascapes here are calendar perfect! Although there isn’t official camping here, many campers park their rigs along the coast line and set up camp. We stayed there for a while, but because of the wind, we went back to town for the night. Dungeon Provincial Park is named after the two caves that originated inland a couple of hundred feet from the ocean. The boxed canyon has two tunnels that have ocean water coming in forming the “Dungeons”.
The most important landmark in these parts is the fact that John Cabot landed here in 1492 and found “Newfoundland.” I could only imagine what he was thinking when he spotted this marvelous landscape!
That is what we did and saw!
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