Our mid morning arrival being delayed by an hour; which meant our ship could make a slow journey up the Bay of Islands fjord.
A delightful experience in the sunshine along the tree covered gently sloping banks dotted with white house’s joined together with a network of roads all the way to the port where we docked; the main part of the small city was laid out in a shallow valley off to the right as we approached it, dominating the port area was a large sprawling paper factory that has been producing paper for nearly a hundred years.
We were on a panoramic tour of the city and I rate it highly; out first stop was at a railway museum, which was quite nice as it was part of their development of the whole area but soon after the second world war it was made redundant by and excellent road network and went bankrupt, I think in truth, that they did not know what to do with hundreds of tons of scrap metal so they painted it up and hung up a ‘Museum’ sign; how about this for a serious snow plough?
Our journey continued and took us up the valley of the Hudson River that feeds the fjord, this is a picture of Ghost Rock, nice isn’t it.
The river is fast moving and full of salmon with spectacular views of the valley sides, some tree covered and others with rock faces, we stopped for photos then moved further along to view the slopes used for skiing in the winter, and a large totem pole depicting Newfoundland’s history.
Returning back through the same beautiful valley we made our way up through the pleasant city dotted with trees, making our way to a spot on a second river that runs through the city, it rushes through a lovely park with walkways through lawns with seating at the sides and facilities for exercise, the river at the bottom had a form of weir that can be adjusted in summer to partially dam it, creating a swimming pool for the young and hardy who do not feel the cold of the water that comes from high in the mountains and can be perishing.
Next stop was a highlight for us, we were taken up high above the city to a statue of James Cook, erected at a viewpoint giving spectacular views over the whole of the fjord and of the town laid out below, we had a bird’s eye view of the sprawling paper mill with its chimneys belching out clouds of white steam and the wood storage yard out to one side, the same sized area as the factory itself.
We could also see across and along the fjord, we took photos and listened to explanations of Cook’s visit here where he named this Bay of Islands before setting off on his voyage south to map the southern continents where he named a New Zealand area ‘Bay of Islands’ too. Regrettably it was only a ten minute drive back to the ship, and we were sorry that the tour of the beautiful area was over so soon. On our tour were a couple from our dinner table, it was the little old diva that hobbles in each evening and makes a great fuss of her difficulty in sitting down at table with her stick getting in the way and ends up with the waiters having to lift her chair to the table with her partner and fuss around her, it takes her five minutes to sit down, but here on the tour bus she was up and out as quick as anyone getting on the coach in the front seats because she has a stick, she only has it to cause mayhem.
After returning to the ship, we went back into the town centre and enjoyed a walk round in the afternoon sun looking at the goods set out on the stalls near the library, where I indulged my weakness for pens and purchased another one, this time made from the antlers of a moose; all this exercise was giving us an appetite so we went into the Crown & Moose Hotel for a pint of beer and a last meal of Poutine while we watched the Blue Jays play Baseball on their TV. I know some of you that have read my diaries look young and you might think, ‘Is that all you did all day!’ and you would be right for you, but if you asked your Parents or Grand Parents, they might think like us that it was enough to have exploration, beauty, and culinary fulfilment all in one day, anyway whatever your age or whatever you normally do, I hope you are enjoying my personal diaries and my view of the ports we have visited, here is an evening view of the whole dock area that had been given over to our ship and its passengers so as you can see we were free to walk across the dock and into town if we wished even though there was no actual terminal.
We have just been told over the public address that we are not visiting Cap-aux-Meules now as there is a bad storm over that Island and we would not be able to tender ashore, so we are going straight to Sydney Nova Scotia and will land on September 27.