Two Days of Adventure along the Petit Nord
On August 24, a Group Of Seven IAT adventurers set out on a 2-day adventure that began with a 2-hour zodiac boat ride on Canada Bay from Bide Arm to Englee, continued with a half-day hike along the French Shore Trail from Conche to Pilier Bay, then finished with a day-long longliner boat ride from Pilier Bay to Hare Bay to Conche Harbour - all in pursuit of the abundant icebergs lining the historic French Shore in 2011. Accompanying IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol was IATNL Signage Director Delano Pittman, Hiker-Filmmaker Mark Flagler, Hiker-Explorer Lew Coty, and IATNL Secretary Caroline Swan, her mother Dorit, and boyfriend Jamie.
Day One began with a warm sun, blue sky, and light breeze across the sheltered harbour at Bide Arm. Trevor Pilgrim of Mayflower Adventures in Roddicton (http://mayfloweradventures.com) arrived with his RIB zodiac, and after a quick launch, the group was on its way.
After a short 10-minute ride out the bay, a myriad of glistening icebergs loomed from the eastern horizon. These were fragments from the Petermann Ice Island which spent most of August off St. Anthony, but was now slowly drifting into White Bay.
After circling a variety of massive bergs with cameras clicking and film rolling, the group headed back to port via Englee, a scenic fishing village on the northeastern corner of Canada Bay, which some day may be the southern entrance to the French Shore Trail.
From Bide Arm a half-hour drive brought the group north to Conche, where they set off on a late afternoon trek on the French Shore Trail.
Along the way icebergs could be seen drifting, grounding, and foundering in Cape Rouge Harbour, an historic French anchorage during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Many were sporting clear-ice racing stripes, likely caused when cracks in the mother glacier were filled then frozen with melt-water.
Once at the northern end of Cape Rouge Harbour, the trail descends 500ft to a sandy beach before rising again to an ideal vantage point between the harbour to the south and Pilier Bay to the north.
From there a half-hour walk down a winding path brings hikers to Pilier Bay's upper and lower falls, each with its own wading pool. Though the water was low, it provided a refreshing dip in the morning after a late night campfire.
Day Two began with Paul Bromley's longliner pulling along shore to pick up the group and taking them on a day-long ride north to Hare Bay, then returning south to Conche Harbour.
Along the way they encountered seabirds, porpoises, whales, and of course the omni-present icebergs.
While stopping at Croque Harbour to film a grounded iceberg near shore,
Skipper Bromley cooked a delicious Newfoundland meal of salt cod, boiled potatoes and pork-fried onions.
After licking the plates clean, the last stop before sundown was a visit to the elephant at Pilier Bay
before the cliffside sunsetting ride along Cape Rouge and Conche Peninsula and the nighttime return to port.