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Thursday, 31 August 2006

Newfoundland: Earth to Human - Page 4

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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In July I went on a different type of tour of Newfoundland. If I had to put a name on it, I'd call it a “human-centered eco-tour.”  ‘Earth to Human’ was our theme as we explored Gros Morne National Park and Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula, seeing breathtaking landscapes as well as visiting all types of sustainable projects from newly created ecological reserves to the lodges that thrive on the influx of tourism...

 

Day 5

western brook pondThe next morning we took the boat tour of Western Brook Pond – a deep pond surrounded by high cliffs. It was a nice 45-minute walk to the dock via boardwalks and gravel paths. This trip is one of the most popular highlights in Gros Morne National Park and it certainly is beautiful – best if you have time to climb up to the point where the most famous pictures of the park are taken.

We then went to the fabulous Sugar Hill Inn where we had a few much-needed hours to ourselves in its sunny rooms, cabins, and suites. Like the first night, we had dinner at Java Jack’s in Rocky Harbour and a concert at St. Matthews with David Maggs and the Azmari Quartet.

Day 6

Some of us took part in an optional kayak trip to see whales in beautiful Norris Point, and then the group visited the Bonne Bay Marine Station, where we learned that Bonne Bay has the greatest biodiversity of any bay in eastern Canada. The Center has some of Captain Cook’s surveying tools, as he surveyed the coast for two seasons and established himself as the pre-eminent marine surveyor of the time. All of the charts in use now are based on his work.  There are also many high-tech devices in use to give the scientists information for their studies of marine life. There is an area here somewhat like an aquarium where you can see an array of fish, crabs, and coral that inhabit the bay.

After lunch, we took the water taxi to Woody Point, the hometown of our beloved bus driver Bruce Martin who knew every single person in the town. We continued on the bus to the Tablelands --- a completely different landscape than almost anywhere else on the planet.  tablelandsOur resident interpreters Anne Marceau and Michael Burzynski explained that the Tablelands were formed when the tectonic plates of North America and Europe collided, and it is one of only five places on earth where you can see the sequence of rocks from mantle to ocean sediment exposed.  It looks extremely dry with its red canyon cliffs, more like someplace you’d find in New Mexico than Newfoundland.

It is actually not that dry, but has such high levels of iron in its Peridotite stone that it is very difficult for plants to grow.  The plants are trying to adapt, though. They showed us a few that were able to survive here, such as the pitcher plant, which allows some insects to subsist and even hatch their larvae in the deep pockets of water in its leaves. Anne pointed out that “Survival of the fittest has led us down the wrong path and taught us to be competitive. Now, we’re looking at examples of cooperation in nature --- the pitcher plant is one.” It also happens to be the provincial flower of Newfoundland.pitcher plant

We had a delicious dinner at the Old Loft Restaurant in Woody Point. I had the delectable Fisherman’s Platter with shrimp, scallops, and of course, cod. Afterwards the Azmari Quartet gave a mesmerizing performance in the historic and quaint St. Patrick’s church in Woody Point.  The church was moved here from another community in winter across the frozen bay to its spot hill on the hill.

We stayed at Middle Brook Cabins & Motel in Glenburnie, whose rooms varied widely – from standard motel rooms, to chalet-style cabins with nicely designed lofts, kitchens, and porches.

 

(Page 4 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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