Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25

It was surprisingly rough last night with more shuttering, banging and jarring as the ship plowed through the waves. The Captain said yesterday the sail up the channel to Corner Brook would begin around 7AM and was worth seeing. Well maybe, but when we peek out a 7:10AM it is raining and blowing a gale. The ship is really bouncing around...we go back to bed for awhile! Later we go for breakfast and Dick treats himself to Eggs Royal (Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon) and Carolyn has Eggs Florentine.  What a rough trip; to bad it is almost over!

After breakfast we get our gear together then head up to the Observation Lounge to watch the last of the approach to a very wet and windy Corner Brook! Well guess what!  There are only two berthing spots; one next to the mill with a tanker tied up and the cruise ship dock with the huge NCL Gem tied up there.
This wasn’t to be a tender port, but it looks like it is now! The ship spins around in the middle of the harbor and comes to a full stop. We can hear the noise from the tenders lowering and watch as one heads to a barren, open area at the very end of the wharf behind the Gem. We can see wind driven waves breaking over the wharf as the tender approaches....not looking good!

Carolyn looks at the Herald and sure enough we are to tender this morning before the ship docks in the afternoon, not the original plan. We are in port until 8PM tonight to allow enough time for trips up to Gros Morne National Park where we plan to go. The captain finally announces what most of us have figured out...we can’t tender yet as it is too rough over at the dock. But the wind is supposed to moderate later and he will try to get us ashore around lunch time. Meanwhile they put together another lecture and a movie to keep us entertained. Oh yes, the morning tours are canceled with the afternoon ones on hold. Sitting in the lounge, we are like kids outside a candy shop looking in, Grrr.... We call the car rental office and they already know that we will be awhile but not to worry as they will hold the car...just call for a pick up when we head ashore. The four of us agree to get back together when they announce we can tender.

Carolyn goes to the lecture, Dick goes back to the room. About 12:30PM the Captain announces the tenders are now running but we are to be extremely carefully when getting off the tenders as the dock is a floating platform that is still moving some from the strong winds. Oh, and by the way, ignore the bit in the Herald about the ship moving to the dock later. The Captain sounds really pissed off. This was not a tender port originally, but the weather has been awful up this way.  Apparently the Gem got our berth some how and some of our buses also. So the Captain has decided not to pay any berthing fee, period, and just tender all day.

The four of us gather on deck 3 and are on our way very fast. The passage is rough though not too bad. When we get to the dock we have some eager beavers who pop up before the tender even stops. A staff member with stripes stands and tells everyone to sit down and wait until their section is called! He cautions us again to be extremely carefully on the floating dock; not to stop to wait for our party until we are on the paved parking area.

The floating dock is bouncing some. It looks brand new and there is a roughly made wooden ramp, which is also moving, up to a gravel area that leads to the parking lot. At the top of the ramp is a concrete pad in the gravel, still with the frame around it, and it looks like it was poured yesterday! This is all about 600 yards from the extreme other end of the dock area where the taxis and our rental car pick up are parked. We walk past the huge NCL Gem and find our pickup car and are at the car agency in no time. It is still windy, but the rain has stopped and there are tiny patches of blue. We may just luck out. By 1:30PM we are on the road.

The original plan was to dive to the north side of Bonne Bay, which is the center of the beautiful Gros Morne National Park, check out the Rocky Cove and Lobster Cove Head and have a late lunch then back track to the South side of the Bay and check out the Tablelands, the flat red rock (peridotite) mountains that are the upturned ancient ocean floor and the most famous aspect of the park. This is the best and most accessible example of exposed mantle material in the world. There are visitor centers on each side. On our 1986 trip to Newfoundland, we drove the north side and camped somewhere up that way, but did not drive out the south side. Since we are at least 2 hours later than planned we have to adjust our plans. Dick sees a subway and suggests we pick up subs to go as we left the ship without lunch. We are officially on the road by 2:10PM.
It takes an hour to get to the park’s main entrance on Hwy 430 where a nice lady suggests that we have time to see the Tablelands and the south side visitors center and get back to Corner Brook by 6PM when the rental place closes. We head out toward Woody Point on the south side of the Bonne Bay. We drive along the South Arm of the Bay.  It is very pretty with several small fishing villages along the water’s edge.
We then drive down into Woody Point and can see across to Norris Point on the north shore of Bonne Bay, but all the tourist stuff is closed for the winter so we head on to the visitors center for a stop and then on out into the Tablelands. We get as far as a nice overlook when we reach to half way point in our allowed time.

Here we turn around to head back to Corner Brook;

arriving at the car agency at 5:50PM and return the car. A driver takes us back to the port. The Gem is gone and the Sojourn is still tendering. The floating platform is still moving some, but not nearly as bad as earlier!

It was a fast trip, but we are all glad that we did it. Newfoundland is beautiful with clear rivers and wonderful lakes. The drive was very nice and the sun came out for us. We were glad to see the park again. If we had the two extra hours we could have seen the north side also. Plus, the car place had a key drop box for after hours returns and the agent gave us the taxi phone number.  Dick just didn’t really want to mess with the taxi and arriving after dark at what turned out to be a tender port.

Back on board we get cleaned up and go for cocktails and are treated to another nice sunset

before heading to dinner. We both have steak and mashed potatoes. The steaks are so good and we like fairly simple food. For some reason the service drags so we don’t wait for dessert, but go back to the room and order from room service.

All in all it turned out to be a good day in Corner Brook!

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