2018 HAL Voyage of the Vikings
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Before focusing his attention on New Zealand and Australia, Captain James Cook was here and surveyed this area known as the Bay of Islands in 1767. Today, the Capt. James Cook Historic Site sits atop Crow Hill overlooking the city. We did not go there. We are here on a Sunday and the public transportation is a little sketchy. However, the Port Corporation provides school bus shuttles from the dock to City Hall. So, we hopped a ride.
Immediately next door to City Hall is the Corner Brook Museum and Archives (open Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm.) A short walk across the Corner Brook Stream took us to the Valley Mall, which was open, for some shopping and a coffee at Tim Horton’s (the Canadian equivalent to Dunkin Donuts.) Out the back door of the Mall we found The Emporium, a local shop for all things Newfoundland! And it is open on Sundays from 9-5!!!!
But the point of coming to Corner Brook is to see Gros Morne National Park. In 1987, the park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its geological history and its exceptional scenery. The geology of the park illustrates the concept of plate tectonics and has shed important light on geological evolution and its processes. A unique rock massif rose from the earth’s mantle by means of tectonic upheaval. The rocks are toxic to most plant life and so, due to exposure, they are now weathered to a rusty brown color. This area, called Tablelands, provides a remarkable look at mantle rock rarely seen at the earth’s surface. This is why Gros Morne was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is a 1 ½ hour drive away and a taxi tour will run at least $250.00. The ships tour is 7 ½ hours departing at 8:45 am and costs $149.95/pp. We chose to forego the obvious because in 2013, we had actually walked along a 45-foot tectonic rift while on the Golden Circle Tour in Reykjavik, Iceland! Pingvellier is not only the site of the ancient Icelandic parliament, but also the convergence of the Eurasian and North American continental plates. This is precisely where the two tectonic plates are tearing away from each other at the rate of 1mm to 18mm per year. A path runs along the fault and it is possible to set your feet firmly in both Europe and North America!
Our next port-of-call is Red Bay, Labrador.