Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Iceberg and Puffin Trip from Bays Bull to Ferryland

My Somewhere New Quest started a few years ago, probably as I approached my 60th birthday, I told my husband I would revisit places but they had to include a visit to somewhere new.  To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday I had to put Newfoundland on the list and go and visit my first iceberg.  This province is amazing and far exceeded all of my hopes.

This blog has a lot of pictures and I probably only put in 1/3 of the ones I took.  We set off up to Bay Bull (yes that is correct, not Bull Bay, for some reason they are called Bay ...) for our 2 hour boat cruise up to see the 1/2 million puffins that live in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.  We chose O'Brien's Tours and would definitely recommend them.  The staff were very cheery and Con (Cornelius) was excellent at helping us spot different birds, his knowledge of the icebergs and his great singing voice made for a great trip.  

While waiting for the tour to start, we had a wee walk around the harbour and spotted this crazy shaped boat, it is 70 meters wide and 100 meters long.  It is only a year old and used for seismic readings of the Grand Banks.

Our first iceberg was waiting in the bay for us.  That little iceberg was a ton bigger when it first arrived, and it is grounded in water that is 65 feet deep, so imagine how much of the iceberg is below the water.  


The harbour is very calm but as we approach the Atlantic the rollers pick up.  Dressed in our winter gear with the sun shining on us we are able to enjoy the whole trip from the top of the boat.  
 The cliffs are amazing down this coast.
Doesn't take long for us to arrive at the first island which is home to Puffin, Common Mure, Black-legged Kittiwake and Razor-bill Auk.  Puffins are around 11 inches high and weigh less than a pound.  

My favourite story on this trip was that the Puffins, after they lay their eggs, sing to their babies before they hatch so that they will always be able to find each other.

Below is a puffin egg, if our babies were in ratio to the size of these eggs, our babies would weigh 30 lbs.

This is just a small sampling of the birds on these 2 islands, there seriously wasn't a place that didn't have a bird on it.  These birds come back year after year to nest in the same spot on these rocks.

Our biggest iceberg.  The water here is 185 feet deep, and this iceberg has been stuck here for the whole season so far.  It won't move until enough of it has melted or fallen off, to lift it off the bottom of the ocean and float away.  

 A highlight of our trip which very few people get to ever experience was the iceberg calving.  I was standing at the rail, when I heard this loud cannon (not that I have ever heard a cannon) or possibly a gigantic thunder crack and a huge piece of the iceberg fell off, seconds later another piece went.

 As the large pieces of ice hit the water, it was like a mini tsunami coming towards the boat.  Quite thrilling.

Once it settled down a bit the captain took us closer so that Con could actually pick up some pieces of the iceberg to serve with his rum.  For a change we did not partake, we still had a lot of driving to do.
 Where it had cracked allowed us to see some amazing lines in the berg.  The iceberg was 12000+ years old, and left Greenland on its journey down to Newfoundland.  This year has been a bumper year of icebergs but they are quickly melting and continuing their journey until they disappear.

As we pulled into the harbour, Con sang Merry Mac to us, as the braver souls were being screeched in.

Thanks to Con and O'Brien for a great trip.

As this blog has become so big, I have put our Ferryland pics into a part 2.

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