Gannets, Moose, and Fog

Saturday morning. 1130. St John’s, Newfoundland.

Two days ago I watched gannets plunging into the sea off Twillingate. There were dozens of them, wheeling and diving, then resting on the water to digest their catch. From the lookout by the Longpoint Lighthouse I could see them quite clearly, and through the binoculars they were magnificent.

Yesterday, driving back down to the Trans Canada Highway near Gander, there was a moose on the side of the road. It was standing knee-high in willows and alder, but posed gracefully for a couple of photographs.

At Come By Chance the road dissolved into the fog, rolling swathes of it sweeping across the barrens. Traffic slowed down, but persevered. The closer the TCH approached St John’s, the thicker the traffic – and the fog.

At the airport, the Air Canada lady was apologetic but firm – all flights out from St John’s were cancelled and no, they weren’t rebooking at the airport. “You’d be in a line with a 1000 people”, she said. I had to phone the reservations people instead. Better to be on hold with a 1000 people, I guess. I looked around for alternatives but there were none – WestJet and Porter were closed down as well.

After 30 minutes of muzak from Air Canada reservations – “we are experiencing a large volume of calls and uncommonly long wait times, please go online” – I got through, and found that I had been re-booked to this afternoon’s flight. And not only that, I had a seat assigned as well! So that was good.

I then spent another 20 minutes going through the telephone book, trying to find a room for the night. All the normal suspects were fully booked – the Delta, Sheraton, Marriott, etc. Eventually I found a room in a “boutique” hotel, the Murray Premises. More on that at another time, but let me just say that I have found my new “this is where I always stay” hotel in St John’s.

This morning I woke to more fog and, sure enough, on checking found that most of the Air Canada flights for today are cancelled as well – including AC 675 to Halifax!

Luckily no flights got in yesterday, and few are expected today, so I can keep my room for an extra night. I just hope that my travel agent can find me a seat out once the flights actually resume. This ticket was booked through the WUSC travel agent so I can’t change it myself. I hope she works on Saturday.

So that’s three flights home in a row – the re-routing from Frankfurt when we were coming home from England, the delays and re-routings through Dubai on my way back from Afghanistan a week ago, and now this. Sigh. Hopefully this is the third and last in the “all things come in threes” sequence I have written about before.

And I guess I have not only experienced the true Newfoundland trio … cod, moose, and fog … but I’ve been truly immersed in it!

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