We really managed to hit the high spots on day 1 in Bonavista yesterday. So today was very casual. We got up very early and walked about the harbor and then went back to Elliston to see if there might be more puffin activity in the early morning. Turns out, this was a VERY good time to see them as they had not gone out to sea just yet and there were dozens of them near the viewing cliff.
We cam back to town and drive around a bit to see the icebergs that were floating around the peninsula.
Later in the day we took a drive out to Trinity to see the small historical town, but the day began to turn a bit overcast and the drive, while pleasant, was not very photogenic with all the fog. We had some lunch and drove back to Bonavista and called it a day. Tomorrow, Twillingate for more icebergs!
This morning we got up an drive to Bonavista. On the way we stopped in the unfortunately named town of Dildo
Dildo is a very cute little fishing village and was a great place to stop for some coffee and some photos.
We drive on and stopped in Port Rexton for another short phto break
It was a fairly easy drive on into Bonavista and we checked into the hotel. While in Bonavista we wanted to see two things. The Bonavista Lighthouse. We ended up having fantastic light when we drive to the top of the peninsula
And the other thing we wanted to see was the puffins. There’s a place in Elliston where you can hike out and stand on the edge of a cliff next to a small island where they have their nests.
There’s about 6-8 icebergs floating around the peninsula, some are very close to land, but not always easy to get to the piece of land that they are close to due to the terrain.
Tonight we rest and prepare to do some exploring in Bonavista and the surrounding area tomorrow.
The time difference between Houston and Newfoundland is 2 1/2 hours. We’re adjusting well, but we’re already early risers and with the sun coming up around 5:00 am we’re out of bed by 6:00 am.
This let us get an early start on exploring as we went to Cape Spear which is the furthest east you can get in North America.
We saw our first icebergs!
And we had the entire site all to ourselves
After visiting Cape Spear we had some breakfast and made our way to Bay Bulls to take a whale and puffin watching tour with Gatherall’s
We say thousands of puffins and other seabirds as well as about 4 or 5 Fin Whales, the second largest mammals on the planet. Sadly, no good photos as they only briefly ever broke the surface.
I did manage to get some photos of the Common Murre
At one point thousands of them left their rocky perches and took to the sea
We drive for a bit more and headed up to Pouch Cove, a small and picturesque town north of St. John’s
After this we were pretty wiped. We had an early dinner and called it a day. St. John’s and the surrounding area has been just lovely.
Tomorrow we head to Bonavista.
We had a 7:00 am flight from Houston to St. John’s with a connection in Toronto. Flying Air Canada our bags were checked through to to our final destination without the need to claim them and recheck them. We grabbed our rental car and made our way to the hotel and got checked in. A great day of travel without incident.
After checking into the hotel we drive up to Signal Hill, the sight of the reception of the first transatlantic wireless transmission on 12 December 1901.
There’s a great view from up there of Fort Amherst, St. John’s
We even saw a giant Newfoundland dog
From there we went back to the hotel and had dinner and we’re calling it a night. Tomorrow we drive to Witless Bay to take a boat tour to see whales and puffins.
I was watching TV when I heard the very plaintive squawking of a Mockingbird in distress coming from tree in the front of the house. The last time I heard something like this it was a Blue Jay trying to fend off the neighbor’s cat that was stalking her baby who had fallen from the nest. The Mockingbird was very agitated and did not fly away when I approached. I could not immediately sort out the threat until I peered into the tree noticed a mottled lump amongst the branches. I ran inside to grab my camera and a flashlight and was able to capture these images of what I found staring back at me. Cynthia quipped “It appears you have been accepted to Hogwarts”
The parade was moved from the usual route due to construction on Allen Parkway. The new route took the parade up Smith St. and past the old Enron building.
We woke up to what looked like more rain, but as we drove on to our next destination, the weather turned fine and we had a glorious day.
Our first stop was to see the Moeraki Boulders, some unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the coast of Moeraki and Hampden.
I wanted to try some long exposure techniques so I brought out my tripod and filters and these are some of the results
I may have gotten a little wet in my efforts to get these shots
We continued up the coast and I spotted a sign pointing to something called Steampunk HQ in Oamaru so we stopped to have a look. It was pretty cool to see.
From there we turned inland and drive to Lake Pukaki and followed the coast to Mt. Cook. The scenery was just spectacular
Mt. Cook was covered in cloud and fog so we didn’t really get to see it. We turned around and drove on to Lake Tekapo and found our hotel.
Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki are the most amazing shade of turquoise blue I have ever seen. It’s due to the the glacier run off…something called glacial flour which is a term for the byproduct of the rocks being ground to powder by the glaciers.
The Lupins here are in full bloom and all over the place. It really is quite beautiful
Tomorrow we drive to Christchurch for our final day in New Zealand before flying home on Tuesday.
We had an extra day scheduled in Dunedin that included some time on our own in the morning and a tour of the Penguin Place Yellow-Eyed Penguin Preserve and a cruise in Dunedin Harbor in the afternoon.
The weather was not so great and we were not very enthusiastic about our prospects. And we are getting very tired. We decided to take the morning and just relax. We got a little bored and walked over to the Dunedin Botanical Gardens which were nice, but then it started raining so we went back to the hotel.
At about 1:00 pm we were scheduled to be picked up by the tour operator so we decided what the heck and bundled up and met the bus and went on the tour.
The first stop was the preserve where we learned about the plight of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. Turns out there are only about 700 on the mainland so the one we saw yesterday was really a rare sight.
At the penguin preserve they give you warm rain coats for the rainy days. This made things much better.
After they give their presentation they take the group through a series of blinds where you can observe the penguins.
THe next part of the tour was a trip out on the harbor on a small boat. Again we were provided with warm jackets
It was a little gloomy and wet, but we had a good time. We got to see some wildlife which was nice and Cynthia really enjoyed herself.
We got back to the hotel pretty late and had some dinner and went to bed.
Next stop, Lake Tekapo