Sunday, June 5th
Blue Puttees Ferry
We are writing this as we’re sailing back to the mainland after our time in Newfoundland. This ends the first and probably one of the most memorable and challenging portions of our tour this summer. After driving for a few solid days through Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, we took a night ferry over to the island. We awoke to a rainy and foggy early morning in Port Aux Basques on the south west coast of the province. The ferry that runs closer to St. John’s (Argentia) doesn’t run until later in the season. We didn’t think that this was a big deal – we were wrong. Crossing Newfoundland is serious business. Some 900 km’s of hilly, bumpy, winding roads bordered by thick forests filled with moose, along with indecisive weather patterns. The moose were a big deal! There were signs every few kilometres reminding drivers to slow down and drive cautiously. One sign displayed that last year there were over 600 moose/vehicle incidents. We encountered several moose along the way, luckily they all looked pretty mellow and hung out on the side of the roads.
We stopped and camped the first night in Gros Morne National park, which was breathtaking. Mountains cut through the fog out of winding waterways. Met some cool people in a small pub in one of the little harbour communities situated within the park. Saw a Tina Turner Tribute band. Wicked.
We arrived in St. John’s to a gorgeous day (to the surprise of the locals) and immediately got to hiking.
Our friend and awesome host Josh took us around the hilly, bright city through meandering neighbourhoods and rugged sea-shore trails up to signal hill where we saw endless Atlantic ocean and a cool view of the city.
We spent about a week in St. John’s. It’s a great city. Super friendly, a lot of great music and great people. We played two gigs. The first was at Folk Night at The Ship Pub, an infamous local haunt that hosts some of the best folk music in the country. Obviously we were very stoked to play there, and the friendly folk night crowd made it a pleasure.
The next gig was at The Rose and Thistle, another downtown pub we’ve been told is a popular place for shows. They only had 1 mic. We should have checked that!
Despite the lack of mics, this was an awesome time. We played with local singer/songwriter Katie Baggs. She had beautiful songs and was compelling to watch live. Check her out.
Anthony played a great set which was fun as always.
We shared the one mic. This was also fun. Great gig, great crowd. Thanks to the folks who came out!
The we drove the 900 kms back to the ferry!
Overall our Newfoundland and St. John’s experience was great. It’s an amazingly unique and vibrant city with a great music scene. We hope to get back another time. What we learned:
– Book more gigs and spend more time in St. John’s. It’s such a journey to get there that it would be great to stay and play longer.
– Wait until the Argentia ferry is running. Only a couple hours from St. John’s is better than 10 hours and hundreds of moose!
Alright, on to Nova Scotia. We have 3 gigs in Halifax. Looking forward to those!
Dan and Meg