When I was a child, I loved collecting seashells along the New Jersey coast. I’d walk the beach, small bucket in hand, and find tiny rainbow coloured clam shells, the occasional little conch, scallop and mussel shells. There was also a round snail-like shell whose name I forget. I had a book, written in 1955, that I’ve kept to this day. I read it many times, pouring over the line drawings and photos.
This love of shells has remained with me throughout my life. They’ve travelled with me to the various apartments I’ve lived in. The majority of shells and bits of coral in the glass jar in this post are ones I found on beaches in the Caribbean during the 1970s and early ’80s when I used to visit relatives there. There’s also the odd shell from other wanderings plus 4 or 5 interspersed that I bought in the ’70s while travelling in Florida.
In an earlier post I spoke about my concerns that the Canadian government is closing a series of libraries in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Since writing that post, I’ve come upon an article on the subject by John Dupuis, a science librarian at York University in Toronto. He speaks about the issues and questions arising from these closures. Here’s the link to his article: Question! What is really happening at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries?.
And, in keeping with Fisheries and Oceans, here’s a photo of the Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland from my time there in August.
I’m not following a chronological order in writing about my travels in Newfoundland. So, today I’ll take you to the town of Twillingate which we spent an afternoon in this past August. It’s on the edge of the Atlantic and has breathtaking views near the lighthouse.
We arrived at the lighthouse in late afternoon and saw that there were trails leading down along the coast. We only went a short way a short way along the trails because of the hour. Even so, we looked out over a sweep of hills, rock and ocean that were of extreme beauty. Here’s a few photos of my favourite view.
In August we went to the Ecological Reserve at Cape St. Mary’s in Newfoundland. This was the most intense and positive experience of nature I have ever had. It shocks me to even be able to narrow down all the wonderful experiences in nature that I have had, but there it is. It was an extremely windy day, as I gather it usually is. Fog is also very common here. We saw it dissipating over the water as we walked over the barren’s grass, past grazing sheep, near orange stakes that guided us and kept us from venturing too close to the cliffs.
This reserve is known for its spectacular views of seabirds who nest on Bird Rock, 10 – 20 metres from the viewing area which is the edge of a cliff. The majority of the birds we saw were northern gannets, but we also saw black-legged kittiwakes and other visitors saw murres. There are over 50,000 birds nesting at the reserve–an amazing sight as they flew with grace near us or sat on the rocks with their young.
The entire site is beautiful in a haunting way, what with the fog, 100 metre high cliffs descending to the ocean, the lighthouse in the distance and fog horn sounding. I also enjoyed the nearly level walk to Bird Rock with grass and low lying plants stretching out before us. It reminded me a bit of the prairies.