Today we decided to do a boat tour of Western Brook Pond because from what we have read the views are incredible. Western Brook Pond was originally a fjord cut out of the Long Range Mountains and that opened to the ocean. Over time though, as the landscape has changed, the fjord became a land-locked freshwater lake. We had reserved tickets for the 11:00 am tour, but arrived at the site early. To get to the lake, you have to park near the highway and then take a hiking 3 km hiking trail. We had thought if we were early that we could wander around the edge of the lake for a while and kill some time, but we got to the dock before the 10:00 tour had even left, so we jumped on that one instead since there was still space available.
It was $60 per person for the tour which lasts 2 hours and we weren't really sure what to expect - maybe it wouldn't be all that incredible after all? Near the dock, it is just an open lake, with the mountains starting on the other side of the wide base. Once you cross that area and get into the cut between the mountains, the views are spectacular. For the next 1 ½ hours you can just stare up at the cliffs around you. I feel like I snapped a million photos in that short time. (When I looked at my photos tonight, it wasn't quite that many photos, but almost!) Some people like staring at city landscapes, others like looking at a natural landscape - I'm the latter and was in my glory staring at the cliffs.
When we got to the end of the pond, there was a little dock and the boat pulled up and some people got off. Turns out you can take the boat to the end of the pond, and if you are an experienced hiker (you have to write a self-assessment to be able to get a license to do the hike) or have a licensed guide, you can do a backwoods hike back. There are two options for hikers - i) a 4-day+, 35 km hike, or ii) a 3-day+, 27 km hike. There is no trail for anyone who chooses to do this - you need to navigate strictly by map and compass - and the hills are so covered in trees that this would be quite the experience. I think I need to add this to my list of things to do before I die.
After the tour, we went back into Rocky Harbour to make lunch at the camper, and then Mom and I went back to Norris Point to check out the Bonne Bay Marine Station, which had a touch tank and was the home of some research they are doing on aquatic life in the area. There wasn't a huge amount to see, but we did see some rare blue lobsters (they're missing the red pigment in their colouring), some wolfish, sea urchins and different kinds of starfish. One of the starfish they had was blue and had many points rather than the 5 you so often see, and had smooth skin rather than the rough skin you commonly see. The visit to the marine station was worth it to be able to see those and to be able to touch the different starfish and sea urchins and whatnot. Side note - did you know what the jaw of a wolfish is so strong that it can snap a broom handle in two? I guess that's why fishermen and divers are scared of them!
Our day ended with some relaxing around the campsite - feet kicked up, a cold beverage and a good book! Just what summer is for.