Day 44-45 St. Anthony, Newfoundland   Leave a comment

The drive to St. Anthony was another picturesque day. Since it’s not lobster season, there are a lot of lobster traps piled up everywhere. There were also woodpiles and gardens with scarecrows everywhere, which I assume is government property.

As soon as we arrived in St. Anthony, we hopped in the car and drove up to the St. Anthony lighthouse and Goose Bay to see the icebergs we had been hearing about. We were a little disappointed when we arrived as the fog had set in. Lucky we didn’t leave right away because it didn’t take long for the fog to lift. It was amazing, and at this point we had not even seen the really big one that everyone was talking about.

We drove to Flat Point Lookout, climbed the 100 steps to the top of the hill to view the “amazing” iceberg that showed up off the shore of St. Anthony 2 weeks prior to our visit. It is estimated to be 8 miles long and 3 miles wide. It was “calved” about a year ago from a glacier, named Petermann Ice Glacier, which broke off from Greenland 2 years ago. It was difficult to see it because it is still far out and is flat. It is pictured in the two top photos below, way behind the small icebergs.

All of the other icebergs floating around have “foundered” from the iceberg that “calved” from Petermann. Got it?

While we were viewing this humungous ice berg, one of the “founders,” shaped like a boot, foundered. We heard this thunderous crack and a piece of the boot fell into the water creating a huge splash. The iceberg then floated up quite a few feet. We could not believe it! Many of the locals said they have never been lucky enough to “see” a founder. They hear the ice cracking, especially late at night, sounding just like thunder. But many have never seen the ice actually fall off the iceberg.

We were really hoping that the iceberg would roll over, but that didn’t happen while we watched. We did visit 2 days later and could not figure out which iceberg the boot was. It had obviously rolled over.

We were told by the locals that they have never seen so many icebergs in St. Anthony. Everyone has been scurrying over to St. Anthony for this once in a lifetime experience. We were so lucky that our travels put us in the right place at the right time.

We toured St. Anthony by motor coach and Danny as our driver/guide. He is a Newfie himself and was a wealth of information. L’Anse Aux Meadows Site is one of the most important places we visited. It was discovered in 1960 as the first authenticated Norse site found in North America and could be Leif Ericsson’s short-lived Vinland Camp. It is believed that about AD 1000 Norse seafarers established a base here, but the distance from their homelands and conflict with Native people may have led them to abandon the site.

We also saw a sighting of our 5th moose off in a distance.

The Norstead Viking Village houses a replica of a Viking ship that would have been used to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The wood looked as if it were painted with varnish, but the finish was a mixture of pine “tar” sap, linseed oil and turpentine. It gave it a finish that felt like a gel coating.

A few of us had fun playing “dress up.”

The Grenfell museum depicted the effect that Dr. Grinfell had on the area. He arrived at age 23. He was a doctor, preacher, and outdoorsman. He opened the first co-op, changing the pay system for the local fishermen.

We also visited his home which still has many of his personal items along with other furniture of his period. He was way before his time. He was one of the first to have running water and electric in his home.

He established the first hospital. The full service hospital in St. Anthony across from the Grenfell museum was an art exhibit itself. In the lobby are these beautiful Jordi Bonet Murals.

Our driver, Danny, treated us to 2 additional stops. A tour of a working shrimp boat.

Their catch is approximately 65,000 pounds per trip. Each trip is about a week.

Our most exciting stop he made special for us was to stop along the shoreline and pick up our own iceberg. The piece that Bill (that would be my Bill as there were 2 other Bills on this trip) picked up was perfectly clear.

We were able to chip off quite a few chunks from the piece Bill picked up and distribute. We still have 3 chunks left for ourselves, which we melted and drank.

As we drank the iceberg water, we had to remind ourselves that we were drinking water that was between 15 and 30 thousand years old! It’s hard to believe. I can only hope that we discovered the fountain of youth.

We ended our day with a Viking dinner. We were only given a spoon and knife to eat with, but I guess we were lucky we weren’t made to eat with our fingers. After dinner, a Viking “court” was held. Two of the cases were from our group. One of the cases involved Lifesaving Sam, Jack Daniel’s murderer. Since he was not sentenced, our Viking court sentenced him to buy the group ice cream. The other case involved our wagonmaster (we won’t mention any names). One of the guests, Russell, felt he steered everyone to the “best burger on PEI.” Many of the guests took his advice and spent their hard earned money on a burger that was like shoe leather. His witness, Lottie, testified that the wagonmaster’s wife said these burgers would be “FANTASTIC.” Unfortunately Russell called on the wrong witness as the wagonmaster’s wife testified that she would never call any burger fantastic. The wagonmaster’s defense was that the restaurant changed owners and the Viking court actually found him innocent! Had Bill or I been called as a witness, we would have testified that the burgers tasted exactly as they had a year ago. He was definitely not innocent on that one!

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