Sunday, August 25, 2019
We drove the coast road north along Bonavista Bay. The coastline here is beautiful with crashing, blue-green waves. It was about an hour to Bonavista.
We walked along the Bonavista harbor on a beautiful day, and went into The Mathew Legacy, a building housing a reproduction ship, The Mathew, that John Cabot landed at Bonavista in 1497. He intended to sail to Cathay, but instead discovered New Found Land. It was the only place he landed his small ship (75’x20’) with a crew of 19.
He was Italian, raised in Genoa, moved to Venice, and his real name was Giovanni Caboto. He was commissioned by Henry VII to make an expedition across the Atlantic. He returned to England, reporting his discovery. He is thought to have perished on a return trip in 1498. https://www.history.com/topics/exploration/john-cabot
The reproduction is very cool, and you can walk on and around the ship, which has actually made the voyage across the Atlantic. It is not a big boat, but then Diego’s father made a historic trip across the Atlantic on a raft. It would have been more fun to have seen the ship out of the building, but it had been so windy, they probably wanted to protect it inside, and it is a very cool building.
We walked around town, then drove to the lighthouse for lunch with a spectacular view.
Driving east along the coast to find a puffin viewing area outside the cute village of Elliston. You can walk out a peninsula and view across 100 yards of sea to an island, or more likely a stack where puffins have a breeding ground. Little burrows dot the top of the stack where heavy grass grows. They stand guard over their burrow for a while, then jump up and glide down the side to get a fast start. They must be outstanding fishermen, because in short order they return with a small fish to feed the young. They land and are down the hold in a flash. Then they pop back up and stand around a while before they are off again. They fly with great speed. I tried tracking with the camera, but it was tough to follow. But then, it was great sport.
On a beautiful Sunday, lots of people made their way out to watch. It was fun to listen to the comments and screams as these little birds put on quite a show.
Driving out, we stopped at a beautiful, sandy beach, where people were swimming, and two guys were surfing with wetsuits on. As I walked up a rock hill, like a sand dune, I asked a man ahead of me if he was going for a swim. “Not me”, he said. He was from Come By Chance at the neck crossing over to the Avalon Peninsula. You have to love these names. He said, “How about Dildo? Didja go there?” Laughing, he said Jimmy Kimmel made it famous on Saturday Night Live. “There’s nothing there, but everyone goes for a visit because of it.” The town has made Kimmel honorary mayor. The man was with another couple, and their wives were collecting these smooth, oval rocks to paint. It’s a popular thing in gift shops, and they are cool.
He asked where we had been, impressed that we had been here so long. He said it is getting more popular for travel now. I suggested they not advertise it. It might ruin it. He said, “It isn’t always this pretty. This is a beautiful day.” I told him how much we loved it, but maybe we should stay to see what winter is like. He said, “Well, you might not want to do that”.
We drove back down the coast toward camp, noting places to explore tomorrow.