Puffins, Whales, and Caribou (and still no Steller’s Sea Eagle)

BEYOND, Travel, Wildlife

It’s June 22nd and I’m leaving Newfoundland today. I have not had a chance to write my blog but will do it in the next few days (update just getting to it on June 26th).

A nemesis bird can be very challenging mentally, but as well may take you to fabulous places.

The Steller’s Sea Eagle continues to evade me, but I had awesome encounters with Puffins, Humpback Whales, and Caribou during my free time in Newfoundland. Also met some great people, both tourists and locals. (Great to meet you Caroline, Andrea, and Tracy. I have some great photos for you Caroline if you get in touch btw.)

Anyway, my work took me across the entire island and because the days were very long I was able to squeeze in some nature time. I also took one day off in Trinity.

My goal for wildlife encounters were the same as last May. To see Caribou, Puffins, and the Steller’s Sea Eagle. I blogged about that too, massive dip trip. But never a bad time on the rock, and for me work takes priority so I miss things. It’s a dream that one day I can go to Newfoundland strictly as a tourist. Newfoundland and Greece are my two favorite places in the world. Fortunately, in Greece I was just a tourist. Perhaps I’ll retire there one day. Anyway before this becomes a whale of a tale…

Amazing to get a view of the baleen on this amazing Humpback Whale.

Before I did any work on the island I took my day off. I had booked a boat tour in Trinity for the morning and figured it was a slam dunk for me to see Stella. The giant Sea Eagle had been spotted every day for 2 weeks previous to my trip. But that was the one day she/he was not spotted. And of course, this beautiful Steller’s Sea Eagle was spotted the next day and many times since. And so to you Trinity, I say we will meet again! Stella must think I have more to see before we meet.

I did manage to get a little bit of time with the Puffins in Elliston the evening before. Not as close of an encounter as I had hoped, but really you are always battling time in Newfoundland as it’s such a vast province and so much to see. You just need to enjoy and try to go with the flow. I enjoy it all, even if it seems as though I’m disappointed, I’m always left wanting more, and always return.

Even though I didn’t see Stella, I had a great tour of Trinity Harbour with Captain Steve from Trinity Eco Tours. Beautiful spot, great tour company.

So off to work across the island. All the way to the West Coast. I decided to spend the night in Rocky Harbour instead of Cornerbrook since it would take me the same amount of time to drive back to St. John’s to see clients. The morning of the Solstice I had a 7 hour drive ahead of me so that I could see stores on the following morning.

I had a hunch, and also knew it would be the longest day of the year, so took a detour up the Viking Trail to look for Caribou.

In my wildest dreams I would not have imagined such a wonderful sighting.

The Caribou babies almost melted my heart on the Summer Solstice on the Viking Trail. One of my favorite wildlife encounters of all time for sure.

Mother Nature sure delivered on my favorite day of the year. I have never been away from Nova Scotia on the Solstice. For about 30 years I’ve been celebrating the Solstice at home with day trips and nature. Always drinking in the beauty. Always a beautiful day. This day in Newfoundland I felt like a vampire the beauty was so palpable. My heart got filled to the brim and I will remember it always. The wonderful thing about travel is you can dial up a memory anytime you need a little boost. This one will work wonders for melancholy days and insomnia!

Back to work I went in St. John’s the next morning. When I finished up in the afternoon I was rewarded with enough time to drive down to St. Vincent’s to see Humpback Whales that were close to shore chasing Capelin. This is something I have hoped to do for about 5 years now but it never lines up, and did not disappoint!

When I arrived the sand was hot and so I took off my shoes and walked in my bare feet. As soon as I was far enough away from my car that it didn’t make sense to backtrack I realized the error of my judgement. Capelin like a pebble beach. Ouch and hot…LOL. I thought I could cool my feet in the water. Once I got close to the water I looked at the tide and thought that it looked very dangerous. I did let the waves that were coming up to the sand touch my feet but was very careful and glad I could sense the danger. I’ve found out since that the drop off is 60+ feet deep right by the shore, which makes perfect sense as there are giant sea creatures swimming right up. Also, brrrrrrr! Even the wet sand and tiny contact with water was sooooo much colder than the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s since been pointed out to me it’s the North Atlantic.

Mother Nature is wild and wooly sometimes and gentle and forgiving at other times. Keeps me on my toes.

Thank you to the hospitality of many wonderful Newfoundlanders during my visit. Special thanks to the lady from Fogo Island who offered me home made fish and brewis while we were chatting at breakfast in Grand Falls.

Everything about Newfoundland is completely different than anywhere in the world.

A little reminder that wildlife does as it wishes.

Visit if you can, it will change your life.

With love to “the rock” and all your creatures, 2 footed, 4 footed, winged, and finned.