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Today near Great Island in Witless Bay South of St. John's we seen Whales as never before. I would think counting Alaska and Canada last year and this year we have been on at least 10 boat tours and stopped scores of places on points and look outs watching for Whales. The other day at Battle Harbour, Labrador is about the closest we have been. I was amazed by the noise when they spouted. These Whales however were not diving but rather just coming about the water with their back sticking out and spouting. Today they would come up right by the boat and dive so you would see a lot of their body out of the water and finally their tale would come up and show up well out of the water as they dove for the bottom. It is really tough to get close, have good enough light and snap the camera as just the exact instant to capture the tail well out of the water just as it is at is high point before it slides into the water and is covered. Today would you believe I got "FOUR" great shots and a couple of more fair ones! If you have ever done any Whale watching you will know what a blessing this is! BTW the boat tour was $18.00 US total for Edith and I and last four 1 1/2 hours. This was the cheapest tour yet and the best ever for Whales and actually also the best for bird viewing so quite a bargin. If you were to come to St. John's I would highly recommend the Irish Trail which we took today.
The Whale pictures will definitely be on our wall and they will be on the web page when we get home! I am making a CD of them tonight to be sure they do not get lost!
Today was a great day of experiences! Earlier we went to St. Johns and Signal Hill where Marconi copied the first Trans-Atlanic radio signals. St John's is a very, very old city dating back to around 1500. The Mayflower stopped at one of the towns near hear to get water on the way to Plymouth.
On Signal Hill I noticed a dipole antenna fed with open wire and figured they must have a special events station here sometimes. Much to my amazement and great excitement inside on the second floor they had an amateur station set up and I could operate. I showed them a copy of my license and go on the air as VO1AA, it was a thrilling experience operating where long distance communication started on Signal Hill. I made 3 contacts, one with the Canary Islands and two with the USA. I made out the qsl cards and also got a blank one for myself. Edith got some pictures of my operating. They have the station going for about 2.5 months in the summer time. They also operate the Saturday closest to April 25th to celebrate International Marconi Day with the call sign VO1IMD so I am going to make sure to make contact with them next April. I have had the privilege of doing a lot of things in amateur radio but this ranks with the best of them!
Next we went to Cape Spear which is the eastern most point in North America. Of course we crossed on the ferry to the island so it is not contiguous road so we will have to go to the fartherest point east near Sydney in Nova Scotia in a few days then we will have been at the fartherest North, West and East points for contiguous road. Maybe sometime we can make the fartherest south point in Mexico. From there we went to Great Island and seen Puffin's by the 1000's, Murres, Kittiwakes and Razor Bill Auks. There are thousands of these other than the Razor Bull Auks which are quite rare. It is a nesting place and a small fish are here by the millions as a food source. Later they will all be gone. After this we seen the whales.
As we went south we seen great seascape scenery and evenutally toward the tip of the pennisula south of St. John's it got very barren with no trees and lots of loose rocks. We seen Caribou and great views of the Atlantic and sea coast towns. By mid-afternoon the sun was shining brightly. Tomorrow we hope to tour Dildo Island and have a Newfoundland shore lunch. With the clouds gone we got a great view of Butter Pot Hill. If the weather holds I will hike to the top on Tuesday and Wednesday we are of to Fortune and the ferry to St. Pierre and Miquelon the French Islands.
[MID: 1433_W0SD Sent Via: KB6YNO Date: 2002/07/24 10:46:47]