2014 Sep 11 – Day 84 – Placentia, NL to ferry to Nova Scotia

We awoke to our fourth consecutive day of sunshine.  The ferry terminal is only about 10 km from Placentia and we didn’t have to be there until 3 pm.  When we drove down the Cape Shore to Cape St. Mary’s the other day we skipped a short detour into Cataracts Provincial Park (about 5 km west of Colinet), deciding it would give us something to do today until we had to be at the terminal.

We left Placentia after a really nice breakfast at Phil’s café and some great conversations with our fellow diners.  One fellow and his wife were taking his mother out for breakfast for her birthday (she had come over from St. John’s to visit them in Placentia).  He asked where we were from and I said BC.  “Where in BC?” he inquired.  “Salmon Arm.”  “Do you know Nel Peach?” he shot back immediately.  “Yes, I do.  We are Rottweiler buddies.  She and her husband adopt old Rotties from the SPCA and give them lots of love and care for their final years.  She is a marvelous lady.”  “Yes, she is.  I have been involved with the Canadian Diabetes Association for years and that is how I know Nel.”  Nel is a tireless worker and fund raiser for the Diabetes Assoc.  What a small world! I will call her when I get home and tell her we met her friend Jerry from Placentia.

Route 91 is a straight drive from Placentia across to Colinet at the beginning of the Cape Shore route we did yesterday to see the Gannets.  We needed to go about 35km to get to the park.  What we didn’t know was that 5 km out of Placentia the road turned to gravel.  Again!  And it stayed gravel –with the required gigantic pot holes and washboard – almost all the way to Colinet; about 5 km past the park we wanted to go to.

I was getting a bit concerned that when we got to Cataracts Park we would have to drive along another long gravel road to see the deep gorge and waterfall that we were wanting to see because nowhere around us were there hills or a significant rise in the land.  After an hour of bumping along at 15 kph we came to a bridge and John noticed a pull-out area at the same time I noticed a chain link fence and boardwalk going off into the trees.  No signs, no indication at all that here was something worth seeing.  We walked into the middle of the viewing platform and literally one step forward was a drop of well over 100’.  Fabulous waterfall to the bottom!  Amazing.  A huge deep cut in the middle of rolling bushland. We walked the boardwalk and down all the steep steps, across the foot bridge at the bottom (which was not actually the bottom of the chasm; but was the lowest part of the walkway) and up the steps on the other side.  Gorgeous gorge.  Almost made the gravel drive worth it.

IMG_9509 IMG_9510 IMG_9514 IMG_9515 IMG_9520We had already decided we weren’t going back along that road.  The only alternatives were to go up Route 81 from Colinet to the TCHwy and that wasn’t happening either after driving the rock course on that road yesterday.  That left option three:  Drive 14 km past Colinet and connect with Route 90 that we went down when we did the Irish Loop around Trepassey, then go 23 km up to the TCH and 30 km west to the turn-off to Route 100 and 38 km down again to Argentia – a 100+ km drive.  We had the time so that is what we did.

I noticed that on the ‘Welcome to Colinet’ sign there was a photo of a wide waterfall flowing under a bridge and sure enough right beside the road again was a path to steps to view the falls.  We also walked across what was a previous road bridge over the middle of the falls to see it from that angle.  There is a fish ladder there as well.  That second falls tipped the scale in favor of the drive on the gravel being worth it.  Not sure Poppy would agree though.IMG_9525 IMG_9529 IMG_9531 IMG_9532Also overheard at breakfast was the information that even though Castle Hill Historic Site was closed for the season you could walk up the driveway and see the view from the old fortifications on the hill.  We got back to Argentia at 1:30 and did just that.  Trust me, no one was going to sneak up on the French when they could see for miles in all directions.  After we wandered around up there for a while we walked back down had our sandwich lunch out of the back of Poppy and drove to the ferry terminal – arriving about 2:45.  Perfect.

IMG_9567 IMG_9570 IMG_9571 IMG_9568 IMG_9573 IMG_9577The ferry began boarding at 3 and left the terminal at 5.  This is a 15+ hour overnight trip so we booked a cabin.  I was not going to sit up in a chair in a lounge full of other people all night long and then drive the Cabot Trail tomorrow.

We climbed from car deck 3 to 5 then took the elevator to 10 where our cabin was located.  There are only 6 guest cabins on this deck; all the rest of the cabins are for the crew. There are cabins on decks 6 (not too many), all of deck 8 and over ½ of deck 9  – a lot of these cabins have drop down berth beds.  Our cabin was bigger than our deluxe veranda suite on the world cruise!

IMG_9592 IMG_9591 IMG_9593After we dropped off our stuff we went down to the main public area on deck 7.  Again – cruise ship.  There is a large guest services counter, a casino (slots), a games room/library, a couple of shops, two bars, a hot dog snack counter, a buffet restaurant and an a la carte restaurant (the steak was yummy).  This is the fanciest ferry I have ever seen.

IMG_9596 IMG_9600 IMG_9602 IMG_9604 IMG_9606 IMG_9624 IMG_9626Right now it is only making the run twice a week instead of every other day as it does all summer.  Next week the schedule drops to once a week until Sept 25 when it is berthed for the winter unless needed on the Port aux Basque run if one of their boats has some trouble and can’t go.

IMG_9595 IMG_9587John T.  has his very own rust-bucket freigher.

IMG_9611 IMG_9616 IMG_9621The sky is slightly cloudy, the seas are slightly choppy but I think there will be good sailing tonight.  There is no internet on board (no need to have satellites pointing at wide expanses of open water. We are used to that on the cruise ships) so this will have to get posted sometime on the other side.   Good night all – smooth sailing to you.

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