Day 37 – Canada: Watching Icebergs

Saturday, July 11, 2009 – Day 37

In Twilingate, Newfoundland we parked in the parking lot of a small hardware store in the outskirts of town. At 1am there were not many options and we were very tired so we quickly went to sleep in the most convenient spot. With an RV it is easy enough to park wherever there is space.

We were not there long anyways as we woke up early for our 10:30 am iceberg watching cruise. We had enough time in the morning to check in for our cruise, dump and fill our RV with water at the free municipal RV station and have a yummy breakfast. As we walked around the town and information centre we noticed that this small town was an extremely friendly fishing village and the people went above and beyond our expectations. With problems to our RV propane line one local person called all of the mechanics he knew in town to see if he could get someone to help us. When that did not work, he called a city 2.5 hours away until he found a repair shop that would be able to help us later in the day. With that taken care of, we were able to enjoy the highlight of the day which came next.

Icebergs up close in Twillingate
We boarded the comfortable boat with Twillingate Iceberg Adventures to explore the distant harbour where we could watch icebergs. We were extremely fortunate because only 2 weeks earlier a ½ mile long iceberg floated into Twillingate’s harbour from Greenland and it had broken up substantially at this point. The icebergs were still enormous and towered high above our boat. They were in all shapes and sizes. One looked like the tail on an airplane, others looked like gigantic ice slides while others looked like floating swimming pools with tall ice on two sides.
The kids especially enjoyed sitting on the prow of the top deck looking out at all of the different bergs. Their favorite part however came near the end of our tour when our guide scooped up a chunk of ice from the water with a fishing net. She rinsed it off before breaking it up into bite sized pieces. This 10,000 year old chunk of ice tasted absolutely amazing. It was water frozen before air pollution and other contaminants could freeze into the water. After tasting some ice we made the mistake of drinking some bottled water… it did not even taste nearly as good and gave our taste buds a stark contrast of truly pure water to compare.
At the end of our boat tour we noticed a number of kayaks approaching the icebergs themselves. That too would have been an amazing way to experience this harbour. We continued our cruise by going outside the harbour to see if we could catch site of any whales which commonly frequent the area. Although we did not spot any whales on this trip, we did see what we had come to catch a glimpse of. Some up close icebergs. Although we could have seen the icebergs from shore, it would never have been the same as circling the frozen water up close by boat.

Extinct First Nations Centre
We headed off from Twillingate towards a centre that had been set up to talk about a Native First Nations group called the Beothuk. This group although now extinct had its last known descendant in the mid 1800’s. This final descendant helped document some of the words, sketches and information about her tribe. In this particular interpretive centre we were able to watch a video on the researchers who excavated a nearby area. We also were able to see some of the arrowheads that were dug up as well as the items these people fashioned out of the nails and other metallic items they obtained from early settlers.

Urgent RV Repair. Just in Time!
We had to hurry on our way because we had an appointment to fix the broken propane line on our RV in the Newfoundland city of Grand Falls. There were no repair locations that could handle an RV in or near Twillingate. The clock ticked on our GPS as we rushed to our destination. It was Saturday and if we could not repair our propane fridge soon, we would be left with thawed out food and no way to keep things cold for a few days. Monday was our day to take a ferry back to Nova Scotia and so we were very desperate to fix our propane line.
We arrived at the RV repair shop at 3:40… an hour later than planned but with plenty of time we thought. To our surprise they told us that they were closing in 20 minutes and probably would not have time to help us. When we explained our desperate situation, they looked at our problem and backed us into their shop. Within 30 minutes they had our major problem repaired but would not have time to fix our broken steps or other 2 problems that had been bothering us for some time. We were just happy that the most critical item was fixed and that they were kind enough to help us out so close to their closing time.

Driving to Gros Morne
With so much distance to cover in Newfoundland with so little time to do it, we had to press on to Gros Morne National Park. After stopping for our first fast food bite to eat on our cross Canada trip, loading up on groceries and buying a few necessities, we drove until we reached a Campground in Gros Morne National Park. Fortunately they did have space for us because it would have been a long drive back out of the park to find an alternative. Although we had been warned to avoid traveling the roads in the dark, we did catch the evening sunset around 9:30 in the evening as it set over the ocean. It was a beautiful way to enter this amazing National Park.

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