Itís a quick exit before breakfast to catch the Fogo Island ferry which is one of the trio in the song thatís part of my childhood memories. I hadnít known it required a ferry but that sort of travel is nothing new to this west coast islander. Farewell harbour where the ferry docks is a good hour away so Iím told so I add another half hour to be sure. Then, as I cross the causeway from Twillingate Is. to New World Is. I see an ICEBERG off in the distance and then find a road veering off towards the ocean a few kilometres away. Off I go down the side road and take the first left I find and sure enough I get a closer view. A few quick photos and away I go again bound for Farewell. The significance of the name isnít lost on me for many places in Newfoundland arenít as they used to be and many houses have been floated away to take roots somewhere else. Newfoundland is full of stories about leaving and coming home. The fisheries failing, the lack of work, relocation projects by those who wonít leave well enough alone should leave bitter folks behind but the souls of Newfoundlanders are resilient. Everywhere Iíve travelled in Canada Iíve met Newfoundlanders and I canít recall one of them saying they were happier being well shut of their homeland but they donít whine about it. Their loyalty to home is a second skin to them and itís matter of fact. For someone who was raised in an instant company town such heart strings are intriguing. It canít be the weather or the fertile soil. Itís a matter of fact mystery to me which I respect all the more because I donít feel a common thread. Iíve lived all over hellís half-acre and happily leave locales behind without any heart aches. I will confess I miss the salt air when Iím away from it and know the sea is part of me but I donít keen for it when Iím inland.
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I arrive at Farewell and the ferry is there, itís loaded and nobody is at the ticket office so away I go to the ramp. Iím informed that the ticket guy was indisposed but now could serve me. I watched him drive back to the booth and I told the ramp fellows not to leave without me. They promised they wouldnít and they kept their word. Forty-five minutes later after spotting a few iceberg remnants [growlers] hugging the shore I arrive in Fogo. Iím frantically searching for my keys which somehow fell through the hole in the pocket of my new coat and are hiding out in the lining. I discover this after scouring the recesses of my purse at least four times because of course I canít remember where I put them. I should mention that the ferry is bare bones boasting only a vending machine full of dubious snacks despite having a large kitchen with its own seating space. There are no ferry schedules available on board but I get the feeling this isnít about serving random wayfarers. Iíd noticed viewing the schedule online that there are plenty of sailings and some are set aside for Ďdangerous goodsí whatever that means. As I travel down the roads of Fogo Iím amazed at how barren it is. Lichen clinging to rocks and pinkish purple flowers on small shrubs warm up the grey day. There are ponds everywhere and I believe itís because thereís so much rock the groundís not porous at all. Itís impressive scenery that grabs me solidly. Every so often thereís a small community and I begin to look for a cafe. As I drive through Fogo town I hear church bells and it dawns on me that itís Sunday and nothing is open because everyone is at church because thatís how it is here. I nod and recall the times when it was the same where I lived because Iím old enough to remember no Sunday shopping and wonder if their dollar goes further because itís not tempted on the Sabbath. I scoot into Joe Battís Arm and spy a cute little cafe called Nicoleís. Thereís vehicles in the parking lot so I stop and walk into a barely lit beautifully rustic dining area with eight or so people eating breakfast.
The woman sayís [with great difficulty] ďWeíre closed.Ē
ďYes, these are workmen who we cater to.Ē
ďAh.Ē I turn and head for the door when she says,
ďWhat are you looking for?Ē
I turn back and try not to look too much like a starving waif.
ďJust some breakfast and coffee.Ē
ďOh! I can do that for you.Ē
ďBless you!Ē and I quickly and quietly take a seat. What a wonderfully decked out cafe. Itís got some artwork hanging and a vibrant hand stitched crazy quilt for sale. Thereís postcards by a local artist for sale and I pick out five while Iím waiting. The meal is delicious and when the waitress finds out where I hail from she exclaims.
ďOh! Iím so glad I didnít turn you away!Ē
ďMe too!Ē I say with a wide smile.
If you go to Fogo Island check out Nicoleís and tell them the Sunday out of season stranger gave them two thumbs up.
Now the weather up until today has been varied and none of it good but itís early days in Newfoundland. The rest of Canada may gear up its summer season during the May long weekend or earlier but here itís at least mid-June before things get underway. That being said I was told that the best iceberg viewing is done up until the first week of June but that was before I got here and the locals told me otherwise. Kim spoke of children swimming in summer with icebergs floating in the harbour. No matter, Iím here now and Iím content.
Itís a quick drive back to the ferry dock even though thereís at least an hour to wait. There was a Marconi interpretation center there but it was closed for the season. I laugh at the whimsy of it all. The return ferry is uneventful other than a quick stop at Change Island to offload the mail truck. On my way back to Twillingate I pass the ĎBeothukí interpretative center advertised at Boydís Cove and itís more than I can resist. The pavilion is beautiful but the offerings are sparse. I wonít walk down the trail to see depressions in the ground [that hadnít had the grass trimmed] that indicate former native settlements and probably wouldnít have even if the weather was reasonable.
I make it back to Twillingate by 1630 and treat myself to a snow crab supper with a bucket of mussels for dessert at J Jís. Yummy! My crab dinner was made manageable thanks to a local diner doing an expert job of opening up the shells. That's what the folks are like here, quick to offer help and the best practice for visitors is to gracefully accept.
When I get back to the Harbour Lights Inn thereís this fellow manning the fort while Melinda and her spouse are at church. I meet Gus Young, the man who Kim Young praised to the rafters on June 1st. I begin to believe that Iíll meet the whole clan if I stay long enough. Thatís a good enough reason to book another night. The other is because Iím expecting an Express Post package. Gus advises us thereís a dinner theatre happening the next night and books us in when we approve. The Harbour Lights Inn has a lounge where travellers can swap stories and share some smiles. I use the dining room to write these journals
"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo