When I arrived at the Norris Point hostel on Saturday 7th I’d got further than I had expected to and everything was wet. They let me spread out my tent in a big common room but on Sunday morning it was still wet. Give then two facts I decided to stick around for the day and leave Monday morning.
First thing Sunday I had to get some cash to pay for the extra night, as they didn’t take cards. The garage across the road had a cash machine but it was broken, so I asked my GPS for the next nearest one. I have a love hate relationship to my GPS, I hate the fact that it doesn’t take me where I want to go but I love some of the places it takes me instead. In this case it took me straight through the town where the cash machine was telling me it was in two miles past the town centre on the right, when it was actually in the centre on the left!
However I ended up at a place called lobster point which is at the end of Bonne Bay, the fjord that Norris Point is located in. This is a pretty headland with lots of paths and the first lighthouse that was built in Bonne Bay. I think I was supposed to pay to walk around the area but no one stopped me to ask for money so I didn’t pay.
With cash in hand and time to kill I headed to Norris Point harbour and their marine centre. However, I stopped at the cafe next door for some lunch. It turns out the cafe also sells tickets for boat tours of the fjord and one was leaving in 30 minutes, so I bought my ticket and went on a two hour trip of the fjord. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales but we did get good sightings of 5 bald eagles. The men talking about the fjord were very good and comical but you could hear the disappointment at the decline of local industries (fishing, farming, forestry) and instead the houses being bought up as holiday homes. The tour over we headed back to port and were treated to them performing folk songs on guitars and accordion.
Some people on the boat also told me about Neddies Inn which was about 2km from the hostel and did great food. I imagined to wouldn’t be cheap but went there for dinner anyway. They weren’t wrong about the food, it was very good.
Back at the hostel I bumped into a couple that worked in the hostel building. The building is a disused community hospital and rather than being knocked down it’s being used as a hostel, child support services, physiotherapist, community radio, art studio and library. One of couple worked for the radio station and asked about where I was going as he’d seen the bike. After explaining what I was up to he said I should do an interview for the radio. So on Monday morning just before departing I was interviewed on the Voice of Bonne Bay radio station (VOBB.org).
After the interview I hit the road, heading to St Barbe, the port that the ferry to Labrador runs from. The ride up was most peculiar, it had been raining so the roads were wet, the sun was shining so it was warm but a cold wind was blowing in from the sea. Ruth’s rest was that there was a fog on the landward side of the road but not on the seaward side. Unfortunately the interesting view was on the landward side. I tried to get a picture but I’m not sure it shows up well.
Arriving at St Barbe it became apparent that the ferry wasn’t running to schedule and may not run again that day, although it may do. The delay was due to an unusual amount of sea ice for that time of year. With the only place to pitch a tent being a parking lot I decided to get a room at the motel rather than risk the rush if the boat didn’t go. As it happens the boat did go but I decided to stay in the motel, I would have only had to try and find somewhere on the other side TTY up stay in the dark. As it turns out it was a good choice as the next morning whilst waiting to board the ferry I met three American bikers, Bryan, Ryan and Paul, who were on their way to ride the trans-Labrador Highway (trans-Lab).
The ferry crossing did indeed involved passing through some sea ice, which pretty cool. What was not so cool was the price of the food but given the milage planned for that day it wasn’t a good idea to start on an empty stomach. And so ended my visit to New Foundland.
Sorry about the lack of pictures, I’ll post a gallery or two when I sync up all my devices.