Sharing the Charm

Guest Blog written by Susie…

Newfoundland is almost as far away from Australia as you can get, and here we are. Fran and Nettie picked us up in Gander and whisked us off to the Blue Charm Inn. It is hard for an Aussie to conceive of the volumes of fresh water here. This large island off the coast of Canada is laced with water – ponds (small lakes), and lakes and swamps or fens and rivers. The vegetation is mainly spruce and fir, birch and larch, different shades of green to complement the blue sky.

Life on the pond in summer is idyllic. Swimming, fishing, boating around visiting or exploring and short walks. The fish were jumping- literally. The salmon were making their way upstream to the places where they were spawned. As they acclimatise from salt to fresh water fish they dally in ponds and deep pools. And some few are caught by the patient fisher. Salmon fishing is tightly regulated and on the river near the Bluecharm Inn, a fishing licence entitles you to catch 2 salmon only. Most times the salmon fisher comes home empty handed and we have to face the hardship of freshly caught trout!

So it was with some scepticism that Greg and Nettie greeted the claim that Fran and I were going upriver to ‘catch a salmon for lunch’- we didn’t believe it ourselves really. But in what was a truly amazing hour or so we found a pool where the salmon were active leaping and ‘porpoising’ (swimming with their fin showing above the water), and Fran threw out her line and flicked the fly over and over, and I paddled us gently around and around and around and around. And finally there was a salmon that gave itself to us to take home as proud hunters.

A trip way up pond with local province guide Cluney was an eye-opener. These ponds go on and on across the island. We saw several beaver lodges, quite a few little cabins tucked in around some of the other ponds, but mainly it was just wildness on land and big sky above. We tasted some canned moose from one shot by Cluney’s daughter Charlee, and I was pleasantly surprised how flavoursome it was.

We shared a social evening with Martin and Michelle on the other side of the pond and watched the full moon rise over our cabin and then made our way back in our little boat by the light of the silvery moon.

The days passed quickly and it was soon time to head off on a trip up north to see icebergs among other delights. First stop was Boyd’s Cove, one of the few known village sites of the Beothuk, the Red Indians who were wiped out by the Europeans. Red, because they covered their bodies and clothes with Red Ochre. Then we headed north to Twilingate where we ‘toured’ the local Masonic Lodge… hey the door was open and visitors invited, it’s always been a mystery! A detour to Nanny’s Hole to see a large iceberg and a whale and then up to the lighthouse for a vista of ‘bergs by the dozen. All shapes and sizes, brilliant whites and blues. Then on to the village of Botwood where we stayed at the Blue Jay with Georgina.

Next morning we arrived at Grand Falls, and went to see the falls, somewhat affected by the hydro, but what was impressive was their salmon ladder, including an underground section where the salmon pass by a glass window.

We wanted to get to the Dorset soapstone quarry at Fleur de Lys on the Baie Verte Peninsula. Soapstone outcrops are found across Newfoundland and Labrador and soapstone carving has been, and still is, culturally important to the aboriginal peoples of these lands. But this quarry is the only one of its kind, where for thousands of years people carved bowls out of the rock. As the weather closed in we headed off to La Scie, a scenic little outport town, where we stayed in a BnB run by Celeste. Celeste kindly booked us dinner at the Outport Museum and Tea Room. There, Valerie cooked us up a tasty local meal before husband Larry suggested a singalong. Much fun was had by all. We were the only customers!

Another day on the road took us to Kings Point Pottery, where we were told of a large iceberg grounded in Harry’s Harbour- pronounced Arry’s Arbour, and that the capelin, a species of small fish that ride in the waves to spawn on the beach before dying, were doing just that at Nicky’s Nose Cove… so off we went. Most of the capelin were spent… literally, but waiting at the picnic table near the iceberg we met ‘Arry. Not the original one for whom the town was named, but a legend nonetheless. ‘Arry picked us up and took us home to see his capelin… and much else besides! Lots of ingenious inventions, wooden tools from the past, recreated in his shed, and his uncles’ house next door, empty but kept museum like with all it’s bits and bobs…

But time to move on to shop for dinner and get to our little unit at St Patrick’s… and finally, a moose sighting. We were so excited we missed the turn-off and had to retrace our steps. The weather by the way has been hot, so hot we need fans on at night and windows open, and the mozzies have been hungry. So it was with relief that we started to head south to Gaultois and the next phase of our Newfie adventure.

But time to move on to shop for dinner and get to our little unit at St Patrick’s… and finally, a moose sighting. We were so excited we missed the turn-off and had to retrace our steps. The weather by the way has been hot, so hot we need fans on at night and windows open, and the mozzies have been hungry. So it was with relief that we started to head south to Gaultois and the next phase of our Newfie adventure.

Susie found a fish head
masonic Eye of Horus centre ceiling
View from masonic lodge
there’s the Black Eyed Peas and therein there’s…
there was a whale at Nanny’s Hole…
Twillingate Lighthouse
north from Twillingate
Shingle barn on Pride’s Drong
Under river salmon viewing at Grand Falls Windsor
Paleo-Eskimo soapstone quarry for carved bowls 1600 years ago now it’s own sculpture
Susie in Outport Museum at La Scie
Valerie on Bodrain
Learning the art of playing the Ugly Stick
Sing along
Fran and Susie fishing for trout at dawn
On the Beothuk track Boyd’s Cove
Greg meeting the majestic Beothuk woman
Twillingate iceberg
Twillingate Freemason Hall
Caplin spawn on Nicky’s Nose Cove – Baie Verte Peninsula
nipple on Twillingate Freemason’s Hall
Salmon ladder built to aid salmon go up river at Grand Falls
Larry at Outport Museum performed for us on guitar and accordion
La Scie icebergs
Paradise by the Sea cottage at St Patrick’s – Green Bay area
arriving at the Blue Charm Inn
La Scie from the lookout
Susie with 11.5 inches trout
dawn fishing -trout for supper
cheeky squirrel
row row row yer boat
supper at Gilligan’s Island cabin with Michelle and Martin
moonrise over Blue Charm Inn taken from Martin and Michelle’s cabin lighting our way home
beaver lodge Loon Pond
beaver damaged birch tree
Susie and friend
two petals in a wildflower patch Botwood
Salmon Interpretation Centre Grand Falls-Windsor
Nettie getting close and personal with Black Bear – stuffed – Baie Verte
Harry from Harry’s Harbour north Green Bay
Newfoundland water carrier
fisherman’s tucker box – no nails
birch bark canoe
Bay d-espoir Highway – plateau Bay du Nord Wilderness
Mi’Kmag Discovery Centre
‘having a time’ at the cabin with Cluney, Martin, Greg, Susie, Nettie & Fran
fleur-de-lys – soapstone quarry
Harry demonstrating hand-made drill as used my early English settlers – his great great grandparents came from Derbyshire UK mid 1800’s
must’ve been a big one!
Harry’s shed
parlour of Harry’s aunt and uncle’s house preserved since the 1930’s
Martin Coady
up the river with guide extraordinaire Cluney
fishing in the sunset
they caught a salmon! Fran’s first tagging for the summer – could be the last!
wearing hats together
mmmm… Susie’s pond harvest
Beyond La Scie
Greg recreating the jetty
Delivering rocks for ballast
our fly master

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One thought on “Sharing the Charm

  1. Thanks susie, what a great adventure you are having…and thanks for taking us there if only for 15minuets. Seems like you are making the most of it.

    Much love to you and Greg


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