Travel notes, posted to the Sparroworking blog when feasible, from a high intensity “vacation” to western Newfoundland and Labrador with Quest Nature Tours. Not just birding, but flowers and moose and icebergs and whales and archaeology plus good food too, we are assured.

** First a note for readers – for reasons of weight and space we are limiting our travelling technology to a simple iPad which means that although text can go on the blog daily (wifi connection permitting), the number of photographs will be severely limited. Photographs, or at least an edited selection thereof (I do try) will follow once we are home.

And so … DAY ONE: Friday 29June.

The day starts at 4 am, in the morning, far too early. Have to get to the airport to fly to Toronto to change planes and fly back over Montreal on the way to Deer Lake, NL. Don’t ask why, that’s just the way that airlines do things. Westjet … never flown with them before, they come with good recommendations and they go where we have to go. Pity we don’t get Aeroplan points too. Airport, drop bags, security, gate and “I’ve left my glasses at baggage drop” (I won’t say who)… back out, find carefully saved glasses – thanks Westjet lady with curly hair – return through security again and an end to the day’s excitement.

Arrive in Deer Lake under low cloud. The Weather Network say it is dry, so what’s that stuff coming at us horizontally? Short burst, didn’t last. Discovered things move very slowly in NL – you want a taxi from the airport? You have to telephone for one. They haven’t caught on to the fact that other places have cabs actually waiting outside. Whatever, the taxi driver was a nice chap who regaled us with tales of working 35 years as a Toronto brickie.

Sign of things done differently number two – at the hotel we go to check in. Room keys are kept in brown paper bags containing envelopes with your name on them … A unique filing system in our lengthy experience of hotels, unique to actually have metal keys any longer come to that.

Across the road is a filling station with a fiberglass moose outside – that’s one “species” that we can tick off. Walk to the sandy shore of Deer Lake – good sandy beach and hardy locals swimming in the 100km/hr wind and threatening drizzle as gulls and other birds are blown past us at high speed, crying “save us”.

Dinner and drinks shortly. Gros Morne national park tomorrow, hopefully with real moose, certainly with real rain and wind.

Nice place this


Species one – plastic moose


Deer Lake on a summer’s day

** FOOTNOTE: not everything is slow. The wind is certainly not slow and the hotel does have free wifi.