Tickle Cove Pond: It’s not just a song!

I met Paul Dolk on a recent stay in Round da Bay Inn in Plate Cove West. Paul is a teacher from the Netherlands who summers in Newfoundland. In addition to photography he has a great interest in Newfoundland wildlife, particularly whales. I became familiar with his photography from posts on Facebook and became extra enthusiastic when I starting seeing his filming using drone photography.

We didn’t visit Open Hall on our last trip to the area so I used a visit to Paul’s studio as an excuse to head down this road.

Open Hall is followed on the road by Red Cliff and finally, Tickle Cove. Each community is distinctly different in topography and geology from what I could see.

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Our IPod is loaded with the best selection of Newfoundland and Irish music around. Playlists include names like Dublin, George Street, Shamrock and Mile One, indicating the locations we’ve seen some of the bands live. In Mile One, you can hear Great Big Sea’s version of Tickle Cove Pond from their The Hard and the Easy CD.

Tickle Cove Pond recounts the misadventures of a horse, Kit, and her master, when the ice on the pond broke. The lyrics show the communication between man and beast but the second storyline is about the community and co-operation needed in small places. Everyone lays hold to the rope when there’s something heavy to be dealt with.

Driving out the road, I wondered aloud if this was the Tickle Cove featured in the song and sure enough, opposite the slipway was beautiful Tickle Cove Pond.

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Tickle Cove is beautiful and rocky and wild looking. There were lots of small boats and signs of small boat fishery for lobster. There is a lovely boardwalk around the pond but we’ll have to leave that for the next trip.

Red Cliff is the middle community and certainly got it’s name from the colour of the rock formations in that area. I learned after that there is a good sea glass beach here, created near the shop where kids would smash their pop bottles years ago.

There are still saw mills around a number of Newfoundland communities but they are slowly disappearing. Logs, board and heavy equipment showed this is a working mill and lobster pots in back indicated this was a multi-tasking fisherman.  Often, the saw mill was a seasonal operation with wood cut in the winter for both firewood and lumber.

Fresh smell of cut wood shows things are still operational here.
Fresh smell of cut wood shows things are still operational here.

When we missed the turn to Paul Dolk’s house we went around the ‘block’ and saw fishermen cleaning their catch from the food fishery. An old slipway barely held the disintegrating boat beached on it. On the new wharf in the distance, small boats and a number of fishermen, or fishermen for the weekend, were cleaning cod and cutting fillets.

Old slipway in Open Hall, NL
Old slipway in Open Hall, NL

Paul’s house in Open Hall is decorated with a Haida style whale painting. His small studio is welcoming and beautiful. His photography is breathtaking and large canvasses are available for purchase.

Paul Dolk is easy to find in Open Hall, NL. Follow the whales!
Paul Dolk is easy to find in Open Hall, NL. Follow the whales!
Paul Dolk and his buddy Dibbes, Open Hall, NL
Paul Dolk and his buddy Dibbes, Open Hall, NL

The photographyer chatted a bit and he showed us his work and portfolio. Both the studio and artist were welcoming for sure.

He’s hoping to publish a book of his work and with the quality of what we saw, it should be an easy sell to people who appreciate whales and wild life.

I’m thinking the wildlife admire him as much as he likes them, judging from this picture from is Facebook page.  Photo credit Paul Dolk, with permission.

Photographer Paul Dolk and a puffin friend, Open Hall, Newfoundland
Photographer Paul Dolk and a puffin friend, Open Hall, Newfoundland

I tore myself away without a photograph but honestly, just because I couldn’t decide.

Orca or humpback?

Hmmmm.

Paul Dolk's amazing canvass prints of his photographs. Open Hall, Newfoundland
Paul Dolk’s amazing canvass prints of his photographs. Open Hall, Newfoundland

A friend told us she was coming to Open Hall for a vacation this fall. We saw the Eagle Cliffe Cottages on our way in and then from a distance on the horizon from the community.

Chalets of Eagle Cliffe Lodge visible to the left of the horizon 150 feet up the cliff.
Chalets of Eagle Cliffe Lodge visible to the left of the horizon 150 feet up the cliff.

 

 

Because we took a chance and drove up and were lucky enough to meet the property manager who was preparing the cottages for incoming guests. Taking chances, that’s how a lot of our adventures happen.

Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL
Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL

 

These two cottages are very luxurious and perched high away from the community but comfortingly overlooking it and the bay. Binoculars allow for whale watching and a king sized room and loft provide great accommodations for one or two couples or a family. This is a truly beautiful retreat but with all the technology to stay in touch too.

Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL
Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL
Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL
Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL
Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL
Eagle Cliffe Lodge, Open Hall, NL

From Open Hall we went back to the main road and after a lunch and visit at Round Da Bay Inn were headed for the TransCanada Highway East for St. John’s. Our night at Brown’s Upper Amherst Cove Retreat was a mid way stop on our way to the Second annual Townie vs Baymen Punt Race in St. John’s.

Settled comfortably with the cats, we stayed at Leo’s daughter’s house. Cats were tired so we left them home and headed downtown.

They looked tired to me.
They looked tired to me.

We were on our way to pub food when a meal on a window table at Bistro Sophia turned us around. They served us an amazing dinner with excellent service from Molly, the hostess with the mostess, for sure. She made great menu recommendations and we had beef rib and lamb before excellent desserts.

Bistro Sophia, St. John's, NL
Bistro Sophia, St. John’s, NL
Bistro Sophia, St. John's, NL
Bistro Sophia, St. John’s, NL
Bistro Sophia, St. John's, NL
Bistro Sophia, St. John’s, NL

Our walk on the waterfront was out of guilt and necessity and allowed us to see many more vessels than usual, probably brought into the sheltered  harbour due to weather and an impending storm coming up the Eastern seaboard.

St. John's Harbour Drive, Newfoundland
St. John’s Harbour Drive, Newfoundland

We had a great chat with a couple from Minnesota who had recently arrived and exchanged theories and observations about the ships. She too was a teacher and they only had a few days to tour in immediate area.

Erin’s Pub eventually drew us in and we waited for the band Sullivan and Slaney to start. We knew we were in the right place when we heard this.

Later in the evening, we met our friends from Minnesota again at Erin’s Pub. When I saw them come in I invited them to join us. They arrived during the second set by Sullivan and Slaney and the boys had a buddy, Sheldon Thornhill on stage with them playing the accordion and singing. The place was on wheels by then.

She was shocked that everyone knew the words but she didn’t realize she had landed full into the Newfoundland’s Greatest Hits set.

Grey Foggy Day, I’se da B’y, Music and Friends!

The place was rocking with a group of Newfoundlanders (who had all taught in Qatar) on a reunion week of festivities that included a wedding as far as I could figure. They were making up for any restriction imposed by working in an foreign country…

 

Our touristy friends.
Our touristy friends.

We had a great chat with Sean Sullivan before the band started and had talked about our summer travels and off course, my blog and the Fogo Island Inn. During the second set, he dedicated Joe Batt’s Arm Longliners to his friends who like staying at the Fogo Island Inn.

Bam! Surrounded by inquiring minds.

You’re welcome Zita Cobb!

Tickle Cove Pond from morning to night. There’s nothing better than music and, new or old, friends. Especially when they are rocking on Water Street.

 

 

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