Nippers Harbour on a cloudy day

Few people are fooled into thinking we always have great weather in Newfoundland. We get lots of weather and it can change several times in the run of a day. On May 25 we had a forecast of 22 degrees and sunshine so we headed out of town to chase icebergs.  I checked http://www.icebergfinder.com to see where they were and picked Nippers Harbour as a destination because it is the hometown of some new friends and icebergfinder was looking promising in that area.

This one’s for you Heather!

Who would think to check the forecast for the direction we were heading, towards LaScie and Baie Vert? As we drove, the clouds grew greyer and heavier but our destination was set. Two hours west on the TransCanada Highway we were at Junction 410, heading north.

Newfoundland’s many peninsulas are generally blessed with one road up and the same road back. Communities were established on the shoreline perimeter of the province due to fishing traditions and trade and roads were only required when the economies and technologies of travel changed. I’m thinking some stretches of the road to LaScie have been paved twice since 1949 and Confederation. Not because they don’t need it!

The drive was scenic with ponds, rocks and mature mountains showing evidence of ancient forces that formed them. As we drove, I tried to get pictures to show mountain chains with slopes implying the directions taken by retreating glaciers. Because most of my pictures are taken at 80 km/h this was a bit difficult. I also missed three Canada geese who flew overhead as we approached the turn off for Nippers Harbour.

Nippers Harbour is about 20 minutes down a gravel road. Huge rocks and small ponds litter both sides of the road and despite the clinging fog and grey day, it was very beautiful. What a spot to trout or explore. We met one car. Not a lot of traffic coming from these small communities. A few loons on the ponds and the occasional trout breaching was the most action around.

One of the many ponds along the road to Nippers Harbour, NL
One of the many ponds along the road to Nippers Harbour, NL

As you make the gradual climb up the highway you forget how far above sealevel you are. When we finally found Nippers Harbour it was a community with houses perched high and low around a rocky harbour.

Houses perched on the edge of the Atlantic in Nippers Harbour, NL
Houses perched on the edge of the Atlantic in Nippers Harbour, NL

I know I over use breathtaking, but when we crest a hill and I catch that first glimpse of an iceberg, I literally hold my breath. I may have muttered under my breath when I realized I’d forgotten my camera. I love my Samsung Galaxy Tablet but it’s not good for distance photography. This is the best I could do on this trip.

The iceberg across from the harbour was big but my pictures won’t do it justice. I try with bergs to get houses or other known units of measurement to give perspective. The community was lovely with homes balanced precariously in places I can’t imagine living. Huge gullies separated one row of houses from another.

Iceberg in the distance in Nippers Harbour May 25, 2013
Iceberg in the distance in Nippers Harbour May 25, 2013

 

Some house built above rocks, others beside or below.
Some house built above rocks, others beside or below.

One iceberg, it was looking promising, out of Nippers Harbour we go, heading to LaScie.

LaScie is a fishing community we’ve visited once before. A protest was held there the day before over a dispute about crab prices and crab being sold to other places, cutting out local work. A fair sized community by NL standards a number of restaurants and businesses seem closed. Not sure if it’s seasonally or a sign of the overall economy. I’m thinking more the latter as people move away for steady work.

Descending into the harbour and community of LaScie
Descending into the harbour and community of LaScie

A small iceberg was in the harbour, clinging as always to the far side, just out of good camera range. A light fog masked it in the pictures. The drizzle and rain finally caught up with us too. We stopped for a late lunch and found out we’d missed a huge iceberg by a few hours. It had drifted behind a rock head and into the fog.

There's an iceberg dead center above the fence post. Did I mention I forgot my good  camera?
There’s an iceberg dead center above the fence post. Did I mention I forgot my good camera?

Ming’s Bight had been featured with iceberg pictures the week before on Facebook so we made our way there and saw a few locals. On the way in, we saw two moose. One on each side of the road, just hanging out in the open, not far from the road. How do they know the dates of hunting season?

Again, heartbreak on the iceberg search and now it was sideways rain. Back out of Ming’s Bight.

On the way back, one moose was still hanging around and obliged with a casual lumber to move even closer as I video taped her. Yes, that’s a bit of snow blowing by. 22 degrees in Gander….but how often to you get this close to a moose? We’re calling this a successful day.

Due to the ever changing weather, we decided to start the descent to the highway. We’d enjoyed Nippers Harbour, the best iceberg view of the day and we got some good camera shots of moose so we were pretty pleased overall with our adventure. As we heading down the highway, the sky lighted a bit and by the time we reached the Junction at 6:00 it was mostly dry pavement.

No top dining suggestions this trip. We ate chicken and subs. Our choices were limited but maybe someone will make a suggestion for next time.

About an hour from home, we got one last bonus.

Just like the icebergs. These guys are masters of disguise and rule at hide and seek. Can’t wait to revisit Nippers Harbour on a sunny day.

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