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untitled-7526ountitled-ps After the last night at sea, I am up at 6:30. Despite the many early starts on this journey, I still confirm that I just don’t do mornings! It has to be something pretty compelling to get me out of my bed/bunk. This morning it is the pending arrival of the ship in St John’s, Newfoundland. The sun is peaking over the horizon as the pilot boat comes along side and the pilot swings aboard.untitled-7436ountitleduntitled-7441ountitled Cape Spear is visible in the distant south as we make our turn into the Narrows, the entrance to St John’s harbour. Signal Hill is off the starboard bow. Cabot Tower, the citadel on its crest, stands proud as we slip past into the sanctuary of the harbour. untitled-7461ountitledThe colourful city buildings rise up around us and all manner of boats are coming and going. It’s a busy place.untitled-7482ountitled As I stand on deck and watch, my mind wanders as I remember visiting Signal Hill with my husband Doug. We stood and saw thick fog banks roll off the sea. They were so thick, I could see nothing. Nothing. And yet it was still breathtaking. Doug, on the other hand, saw in his mind’s eye, the North Atlantic convoys of which he was a part. His memories were as clear as the days during World War II when he left this coast as a young man. He was in the Canadian Merchant Service. One of his ships sank beneath him and he spent days in a life boat. Yes, he had a different vision as the wind moved the fog and a chill spread through us.untitled-7534ountitled Today, thunder clouds have dissipated and  the air is clear as the Orlova comes along side and disembarkation begins.untitled-7522ountitled As I step off the companionway onto the pier, I realize with some sadness that my journey along the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts is pretty much over. Those of us not heading directly for the airport board a bus that circles to the quaint seaside village of Quidi Vidi and passes the US military barracks before breaking down in the parking lot of a local but controversial grocery store. It appears  there was some debate among city  fathers when the “Memorial” arena became a Dominion Store!untitled-7560ountitledA bus trip to Petty Harbour, as pretty as it was, just didn’t cut it after the remote and rugged beauty of the Torngats and the hospitality of the province’s remote villages. Our breakdown meant that time was a bit short on this tour, so once we arrived at Cape Spear, the most easterly point on the North American continent, our driver suggested we walk to the sea. Once the group had reached the path, I headed for the lighthouse.untitled-7577ountitled-ps I wanted to experience the view from the top of the hill. Instead of asking for permission, I figured I would just ask for forgiveness, if necessary. Before long, we were all back on the bus and on our back to St John’s and the hotel. Mission accomplished. After a quick supper in the hotel restaurant, I find myself ensconced in my harbour-side room. I spread out my gear and my assorted gifts and try to condense it into the space available. Tripods and rubber boots take up a lot of room! Outside, the lights of the harbour make it a fairyland of sorts.untitled-7607ountitledBefore turning in, I check my email for the first time in a couple of weeks. Many of my shipboard friends are already home. Another friend is spending the day moving into his new house. Obviously, life marches on for adventurers  as well as non-adventurers. I have tomorrow morning to explore St John’s before catching my flight to Toronto and this city and its environs never disappoints.untitled-7672ountitled It is my favourite Canadian city, a walking place, full of history, color and music and an example of much that is good about my country. It’s all here to experience but it helps if one is half mountain goat. I have no idea how these streets are managed in the winter.untitled-7652ountitled In the spirit of wanting to hear this place as it awakens, I am up at 6:00 and hit the hilly streets.The sun is rising over Signal Hill. The light is constantly changing. Beautiful pinks and oranges mix with thundercloud grey. untitled-7626ountitled It’s quiet. I start downhill, making my way to the nearest Tim Horton’s. My boots click on the rough pavement. An occasional gull moves through my field of vision sqwaking as he flies past. Few folks are out and about. There is little traffic. Occasionally, but not often, I come across a street person asking for coffee money. There is not time to walk the boardwalk to Signal Hill, something that I want to do sometime, but I wander past the historic and colourful homesuntitled-7662ountitled-ps that paint the hillside and swoop down towards the harbour where private yachts and fishing vessels sit end to end. I ponder the stories they could tell.untitled-7678ountitled After a couple of hours, I head back to the Marriott. I sit on my suitcase and let out a sigh of success when I am able to pull the zipper all the way around.  I roll my gear to the lobby where the concierge hails a cab for me. The driver hoists the “two-ton” case into the trunk and smiles. I think to myself that he must have been a stevedore in another life! At the airport, the Air Canada folks are not so smiley and obliging so to avoid a surcharge I unload my rubber boots and reload lighter items into my checked luggage to avoid a $100 fee. I’m thinking that it is better that that money go in the travel fund rather than Air Canada’s coffers. Three hours and ten minutes later I am in Toronto. Seat 19D was just fine. As the plane lands the sun sets on an amazing adventure in Canada. This is a great country full of beauty and opportunity. As a Canadian, I want to learn about and see as much of it as possible. The more I travel, the more I understand its vastness and diversity and the more I understand, how collectively, a land and its people make a great nation. ~ Note: The content of this journey will soon be available in book format, an addition to my “Adventures in Canada” Series published through BLURB.com. For further information on travelling the Ghost Coast, contact ADVENTURE CANADA at 1-800-363-7566 or goto http://www.AdventureCanada.com.

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