Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 15: Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our ferry wasn’t until 3pm, so we had plenty of time to hang around the camp in the morning. It was nice to have a leisurely breakfast, do dishes, sweep everything out, and generally get re-organized. (Will found it a little boring, though). We were gone by the noon checkout time and headed into town, North Sydney. We had decided that we had to try the “McLobster” that we’d seen advertised at a couple of of McDonald’s, and North Sydney seemed big enough to have a McDonald’s. It wasn’t easy to find, but when we did, they didn’t have the McLobster - but once we’d promised Will McDonald’s, it was hard to go back on that!

We’d been told to be at the ferry docks by 2pm at the latest for a 3:30pm ferry, but we were there even earlier. Of course we compare all ferries to the Chi-Cheemaun that takes us from Tobermory to South Bay when we go to visit my parents in summer, and we could see immediately that this was a bigger ferry just from the size of the parking lot. There were lots of tractor-trailers and individual containers that were being shipped, reminding us that we were going somewhere that simply cannot be reached by road.

The ferry was fancier than we’re used to as well, with a fancy dining room, a buffet restaurant, and a swanky bar. There were cabins, as well, but those weren’t in use for this “short” sailing - only six hours, to the closer port of Port-aux-Basques. We settled in the lounge attached to the bar, so we could have a table to play cards. There were plenty of signs asking us not to eat outside food and drink, making us feel a little guilty about the sandwiches we’d made and brought on board with us.

The crossing was smooth, but did get a bit tedious. At some point when we could see Newfoundland in front of us, I noticed that we seemed to be barely moving. The captain come on and announced that there was a “technical problem”, and we were circling in the bay. We never did find out what the problem was, but I amused myself in the half-hour we were in the bay by comparing circling in a bay to circling over an airport where you can’t land.

I was quite excited as we drove off the ferry onto Newfoundland, and I realized that I had officially been to every province in the country! Since neither Mike nor Will have been to PEI yet, I can lord it over them for at least another week. It was 10pm by the time we were off the ferry and looking for the information centre, and thanks to getting a bit turned around we ended up going east out of Port-aux-Basques instead of north. It was a bit entertaining, and all we were looking for was a campground, but in the dark we weren’t getting much idea of the terrain. We ended up getting off the road into a community and stopping to ask a couple who were out in their side yard having a campfire. They recommended that we go back to Port-aux-Basques and head north, but at least they knew for sure that there was a campground not far along. We did find the J. T. Cheeseman Provincial Park with no trouble, which turned out to be small but well-staffed with someone in the booth and another person patrolling.

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