Saturday, June 12, 2010

Iceberg Ahead!

Here's our home for the next three days...the Grenfell hotel. Everything in St. Anthony is Grenfell, named after Dr. Grenfell who was born in England but was sent to Newfoundland as part of a missionary organization which provided medical and spiritual services to north sea fisherman.

We heard there is a nice trail walk near the Grenfell homestead, so we headed over that way. This sign was at the site of the house. In 1892, Grenfell was sent to Newfoundland to investigate the conditions in the Labrador fishery. "We're wonderful to have you," a fisherman said, "we've never had a doctor in these parts before."

The house was built between 1909 and 1910 and became known as "the castle." Although the area was impoverished, no one begrudged Dr. Grenfell and his wife their beautiful house as they were so beloved in the area.

We headed out along the trail. It's a nice walk which they have tried to keep to an 8% incline. If it exceeds that they have put in stairs.

Jim standing next to a tree which is over 100 years old. These trees only grow to a height of 6-10 feet, but the rings on them must be seen with a microscope they are so close together.

These plaques mark the burial site of the ashes of Dr. Grenfell and his wife, Anne, and also other people who played an important part in the start of medical facilities in the northern peninsula.

Dr. Grenfell built a teahouse at the top of the hill above the town, so that the staff had a place to go for tranquility and retreat.


The view from the teahouse then...

And now...

Taken with the self-timer...the next one we tried to take was aborted when the wind blew the camera over. It's always windy here!


At the top of the hill...

Overlooking St. Anthony...

The trail is extremely well maintained and marked...each sign post has an inset of Dr. Grenfell in it...

Anne Grenfell loved lupins...me too!

The house today...it is a museum which you can walk through. It wasn't open when we were there and you pay to go through it at the interpretive centre, so we decided to head over there.

The interpretive centre...are you sensing the green theme? Very distinctive...

Dr. Grenfell's statue...

We went inside, only to find out that the power was out, so much of the centre was in darkness and it wasn't possible to view the movie about their life. The staff told us that a truck had taken down three power poles and they were expecting the power to be out for a while. We decided to come back later....

It turned out to be a huge power outage, as in most of St. Anthony. There was no place to get lunch and you couldn't get out of the town because the power company had the road blocked. So we ate a raisin bread sandwich in our room at the hotel. It was great that we had kitchen facilities...

We headed over to the boat tour facility only to find that they were struggling with the whole power issue as they had no way to take payments. Also, it was incredibly windy! It was hard to believe on such a beautiful day, we might not get out on the tour...

So we waited...

We met a couple from Fredericton. I saw his jacket with the Albert Street School crest on it and wondered if they were from Fredericton. They saw our licence plate and it was like meeting neighbours.

Peggy is a painter and I actually remembered talking to her a few years ago when I worked at Weight Watchers. At the time she was going to Ireland to paint, so I asked her how it went. She was amazed that I remembered. Small world...

The boat tour is a go! We're happy and jump on board...

We're heading out of St. Anthony to find an iceberg that is about 5 miles away...

This is the Lightkeepers restaurant where we had dinner a couple of nights ago.

Can you see that tiny, tiny speck on the horizon? That's the iceberg we are heading towards. The sea is quite rough...

We're getting closer and we can see that it's a beauty!

Stunning! It's about 110 feet high, 220 feet across and about 400 feet long. Our guide, Paul, believes it's grounded because it has been in the same spot for several days. With winds like these, there's no way it would still be here.

We are in awe...these icebergs can take 2-3 years to come from Greenland. They might only get partway before winter sets in and they are frozen in place, to begin their journey again in the spring.


We circle the iceberg to get a view of it from all sides...

Can you imagine how huge this is beneath the water if it is grounded? We are five miles from shore...

Paul was pretty happy with this iceberg. They love to have something spectacular to show the tourists!





I must have taken 25 pictures of it. It was so beautiful you didn't want to miss one angle!

And with that, we've been all the way around...

For some reason, I can't seem to upload videos. So I put them on Youtube with a link to them. To give you a sense of movement!




Notice us hanging on? More than one person ended up on their behind on the deck!

To give some perspective on how close we got...

This video will give an idea of how we were bouncing up and down!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEA-uKYDHNQ

On our way back...checking out the birds on the rocks...

These two we will affectionately refer to as "Dumb and Dumber." Oh my god...the questions they asked! "Did the iceberg move? Because it was over there a while ago?" Reply from Paul: "Uh, no, I turned the boat." The final one was when Paul said the iceberg was grounded and one of them asked, "Who grounded it?" For heavens sake! The other people started throwing out suggestions, like the tour operator so that they can take people out to it every day. You do meet all kinds!

The funny thing is that we kept running into them and their wives. They were at the Sugar Hill Inn, they were on the walking tour at L'Anse aux Meadows...we are obviously all on the same wavelength of things to see.

Back at St. Anthony's...Paul sounded quite relieved that we were back in the harbour again. We didn't see any whales, but no one was complaining!

Back at the dock...do you see the colour of the building? Yup, it's something Grenfell. We're behind the interpretive centre.

Having only had our raisin bread and enjoying all that fresh air, we were hungry!! They were still repairing the power lines in town, so there was still no power. On the advice of the hotel staff, we headed to Gunners Cove about 30 km away.

Northern Delight... a VERY popular local restaurant. When we went in. there were about 4 cars in the parking lot. This was the scene when we came out. And we were definitely the "from away" people. Everyone that came in stopped to chat at every table, and the talk was all about the big power outage. We had yummy cod, and called it a day!

Tomorrow we're off to Trout River as we work our way back down to Port aux Basques towards the ferry...

1 comment:

  1. When I was young, I read a booked called "grenfell of Labrador". I think it was my Dad's that I got from my Grandfather. Don't remember it, just the name. Gorgeous iceberg photos. Thanks

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