Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Voyage of the Vikings, Day 33 - St. John's, Newfoundland

Up at 5, crusing south at 17 knots (just about as fast as this tub will go), wind W at about 10, seas calm. Beautiful ride.

Shave, brush teeth, and dress, then stall around in the room 'till 6, when danish are served in the Lido. Up to the Crow's Nest at 6:01am, coffee and danish in hand. Just a glimmer of light on the eastern horizon to port, town lights in view ashore to starboard. Keith just loves this time of day!

Overnight Passage From St. Anthony to St. Johns

Map of St. John's Harbor


Sunrise Approaching St. John’s

We were an hour late departing St. Anthony yesterday, because of late tours. We hi-tailed it all night and didn’t slow down until about a mile off the entrance to the St. John's harbor, where we picked up the pilot boat, a bit past 7am, when we were supposed to be tied up in port.


Approaching St. John’s Harbor

Note Signal Hill Tower on Right


Close Up of Signal Hill Tower

Shot Over the Stern


View of St. John’s Harbor Channel

Photographed by K&K From Signal Hill in 2006


St. John’s Harbor, Photographed by K&K From Signal Hill in 2006


Proceeding Through The Narrows Into St. Johns Harbor

The entrance to the St. John's harbor is very impressive. It is a narrow opening in the hills, which debauches into a small but commodious harbor surround by the hills.

The town marches up the hill on the northwest side of the harbor. The architecture spans about three centuries, ranging from simple colonial homes, to late 18th century Victorian grandeur, to modern glass and steel.


Example of Colonial Architectures


Gingerbread Victorian Homes


Modern St. John Skyscraper

About a block or two from the harbor are two imposing granite churches.


St. John’s Abounds With Churches


Another Beautiful St. John’s Church


A Mix of Religious and Secular Buildings

Up the hill another block is a modern looking building (another church?) and two more granite buildings. One is a twin-tower church. The other looks like a 19th century municipal building.

Keith went down to breakfast about 7:30 to wait for Kathy, who showed up about 8:30. This gave Keith time to go out on the aft deck and take a few pictures before the sun disappeared.

Keith lingered over breakfast and the NYT crossword 'til 10:30.


N.Y. Times Puzzle Expert

Kathy went ashore briefly, seeking retail therapy, after which we met in the puzzle room. Kathy did what one does in puzzle rooms.


“The Puzzler”

Keith listened to the last chapters of the seventh Harry Potter book. He has read it previously, but he enjoyed s listening to good stories more than once.

There was excellent "crab" salad on the salad bar today. Crab is in quotes because it really should have been labeled seafood salad, but there was crab in it, and it was good enough that Keith had two helpings. Keith also had a large serving of blue cheese, a cup of lentil soup, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with crème de menthe sauce.

Some of the soups are very good, and some not so good. This was in between; a good flavor, but there was no broth. I'm guessing there was another pot with all broth and no beans, poured off the top of the mother pot. The soups that aren't so good are the "cream of ---" soups, which are thickened with too much corn starch. Just like the soups served in the company cafeteria twenty years ago.

We both had long naps after lunch, and are now in the Crow's Nest at 4:30, watching sail away. The exit from the St. John's harbor is every bit as impressive as the entrance, except for the conspicuous absence of sunshine. But then, this is still the North Atlantic.

As we exit the narrows we turn north slightly, then cruise east until we are clear of Cape Spear, after which we turn right and head south toward our next port.


Approaching the Narrows From the Harbor

We Must Squeeze This Giant Tub Between

The Lighthouse and the Green Buoy


We Graze By the Green Buoy


Then We Graze by the Rocks Exiting the Narrows

This Captain is a Truly Good Boat Handler

Cape Speare is advertised as the most easterly point in North America. We fondly recall visiting this and many other sites in St. John's three years ago with WIT.


Cape Spear Visitors Keith & Kathy, Photographed On Our 2006 Visit to the Area

The Sign Proclaims This to be the Most Easterly Point in North America


We Sail By Cape Spear in the Maasdam

It's about 5:30 and we are steering south at 15 mph in a light breeze, with what appears to be about a 10 foot swell on the stern. We are riding very comfortably, with very little pitching.

This would be a good point for me to apologize for mixing units in these blogs. Being lazier than the average bear, Keith reports whatever is to hand. In Europe, where the tour guides talk SI, Keith reports in SI. When reporting from the channel 40 navigation channel, where speeds are reported in knots, I report knots. When reading from my GPS, which I have set to statute miles, I report mph. I could reset the GPS to read nautical miles, but I am too lazy. If this bothers you, read somebody else's blog.

Excellent dinner at 6:30; prime rib (Kathy) and tuna (Keith). An excellent seafood soup, and apple thingy (Kathy) and chocolate eclaire a la mode (Keith). After lingering awhile over tea, Kathy puzzled 'till 8, when she went to the show. Keith kept her company 'till 8, then to bed.

We currently are cruising comfortably at 15 knots. Wind 20 on the nose. Outside air temperature a balmy 55 deg. This southern air has a much balmier feel than the cold, biting wind further north. I sincerely hope we do not feel any more 65 knot winds before we disembark in Boston Saturday.

More tomorrow, when we visit St. Pierre, the only remaining French possession in North America.