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L'Anse aux Meadows       29 July 2009

We left St. Johns at 7.30 and arrived in St. Anthony at 9 a.m. (top of island, just to the left). Ourplane then left for Goose Bay (upper left),Labrador, where we would not have been happy to go (but would have gone, had the fog kept usfrom landing at St. A).

We didn't know it, but the pilot of the plane was the son of DannyKeats,the tour guide who rented us his van and so saved our trip on a rental-car-less and taxi-less day atSt. Anthony (a cruise ship was docking and all vehicles had been commandeered). It was very,very gray.

9.20 a.m.
Provincial Air #901 leaves for points north.

This is how the day looked a few minutes later, seen from the passenger seat of the van, headednorth to St. Anthony.
9.35 a.m.

St. Anthony: first iceberg. Icebergs are "he's," it seems;
they move in and melt near thecoast, shrinking, cracking,
rotating, finally disappearing.

10.10 a.m.


A short drive brought us to the Viking site (c.1000 AD) discovered byAnne Stine & Helge Ingstad, who excavated it in the 1960s.
11 a.m.

Kevin Young of Parks Canada, the perfect guide with the perfect beard.

That's bog ore in his hand; the Vikings smelted it.

(Right) Kevin isstanding in the outline that traces the foundations of one the longhouses. The site was very wet(you can see water behind the crowd's feet), so we were allowed to walk over the site--not thebest thing for it.

12 noon

Outlines of buildings.The photo below shows the forge site; above it and to the right are thereconstructed longhouses.

Possible slave quarters (below).

We found some jolly actors in the reconstructed longhouses; I think most people get the benefitof the site from the reconstructions and the well-informed staff inside them.

This worker is making a sail; the cloth would be about 22" wide and it would take 8 of them tomake a sail--enough work for several women for an entire year.

It seems very tight and solidfrom the front (above right), but backlit it seems misleadingly like gauze.

1 p.m.

The storyteller (right)

"heard under helm"!

Surrounding the site:

The modern village of Ship Cove (I think that's the right village) includes an island crammedwith noisy gulls
and beautiful lichens on the rocks. Fog covers the hill behind it, except at the far right.

When youlook in the otherdirection, it's almost a black & white world.

We returned to the Viking site at 3.45 to find it much changed in sunlight & much the better forit.
That's the entrance to the left.
The shore in the photos above is just beyond the line of white houses center & rightbelow.

Just to the right of the beach & up a bit is the site of the originalsettlement.
On to icebergs. We saw this one coming back from lunch at Northern Delight
(recommended: Fish brewis with scrunchins; 3.10 p.m.).

We saw this one at 4.15 near a small wharf where these fishermen were cleaning fish.

The photobelow zooms in on small peak between the two men. Dead center is a white dot. We thought itwas the moon. It turned out to be the tip (of the tip) of an iceberg on the move, the men assuredus. As they would say in St. Anthony, "He's headed this way." It was masked by fog in the photoabove.

4.30 p.m.--start of the drive back to St. Anthony toreturn Danny's van (5.30; after a visit to fogged-in Fishing Point), then the ride to the airport (6.30).

Approaching Blanc-Sablon, Quebec
(8 p.m.).
Headed southeast to St. Johns, about anhour away.
8.30 p.m.

arr. St. Johns 9.45 p.m.