The G.U.N.S.E. – The Expedition Rests


A day off.

It means different things to different people. To some, it means catching up on all the meaningless happenings in the world of professional sports, and riding a couch, remote in hand. Couch Potato almost became a nickname for the un-nicknamed Expedition member, but fortunately, a better nickname pops up later in the story. To others, a day off means going for a ride, taking a look around and exploring a new place. To all, it meant sleeping in late, and doing what we’d set out to do, namely taking a boat with Captain Cecil Stockley, the self-proclaimed Iceberg Man, to see a hunk of frozen water.

To Mother Nature, our day off meant she could inflict some really foul weather on the Expedition. Thanks to her nasty whim, our day of rest was cold, windy, raw, and worst of all, foggy. Perfect for sleeping in, not so great for iceberg viewing. Captain Cecil, the Iceberg Man of Twillingate couldn’t be persuaded to go out in the horrible conditions, no matter how hard I tried. I guess he’s seen the movie Titanic.

The Iceberg Man felt the fog would eventually lift, and told us to come back later in the day. Considering this day off was our only opportunity to see the frozen, floating gifts sent from Greenland with love, (Hmm… Greenland is an island too… Rhode Greenland?? Someday!) anyway, considering we had to head back to the ferry in Port-aux-Basques the next day, which would likely take the same ten hours it took for us to reach Twillingate, it was now or never. For this Expedition, never wasn’t an option.

So, we tried to find ways to entertain ourselves until later in the day. Unleaded, who is diabetic, had his blood sugar test kit handy, so we held the ‘First Annual Twillingate Blood Sugar Olympics.’ It wasn’t even close. I won with a low blood sugar score of 75. Abi came in second with an 86, and Sleeping Beauty was off the charts with a score of 112. We disqualified Unleaded for using performance enhancing blood sugar control drugs.

Bored with that, I wandered down to the ocean to take a few pictures.

Lacking enclosed four-wheel transportation, we wriggled back into our damp rain gear and putted over to the Harbourview restaurant for lunch, right across the street from the Iceberg Man. I had a local delicacy, called Fisherman’s Brewis – fish, salt, hard bread and other assorted deliciousness, all conveniently mushed together and served in a bowl.

Yum! Delicious! Our fine hosts, Cal and Mary were so friendly and so gracious; they made us want to stay in Twillingate forever. I wanted them to adopt me as their grandson. They rule!

Cal, who runs the Harbourview, told us what we needed to do. “Go down to St Johns. It’s only about three hours from here, see? Stay there for a few days, and check out George Street. There are more bars per capita on George Street than anywhere in the world! Believe me! I’m from there, and I’ve been in every single one. Anyway, once you leave there, then head over to the easternmost point in all of North America. Some people say that point is really in Greenland, but it isn’t. Greenland doesn’t count, see? Then, what you do is this. Get yourself a Mason jar from the store, and fill it with sea water. If you don’t want to carry it, you can just ship it home, see? Then, you have water from the easternmost point in North America, and you can take some smaller jars, write where the water is from on the label, and give that water away as a nice, cheap gift, see?”

Uhh… sure. But Grampa Cal, just so you know, I expect my adopted grandparents to give me better presents than water, see?

They let me use their phone three times, calling the Port-aux-Basques ferry port to explore alternate return options, in case we had to stay in Twillingate longer, if, say, the Iceberg Man developed cold feet and canceled his tours for the day.

Which, a half hour later, he did. Cecil walked in the Harbourview and informed us, “A strong wind is blowin’ from the North, it’d be way too choppy today, and ya have to respect the sea. Try tomorrow if ya can.”

Well, can we? We sat and tried to figure it out. “If we take the 9:30 tour tomorrow, then hammer hard all day, we *might* make the ferry, scheduled to leave at 11:45 PM. If not, I found out when I called that they can usually cram a few extra motorcycles in, so we could take the ferry the next morning. If that happens, to stay on schedule for the rest of the Expedition, we can just cut out the Cabot Trail. ”

But wait. Cut out the Cabot Trail? What did I just say? I’d rather cut off my… err… my… err… my favorite part of me than miss the Cabot Trail! It’s only one of the top five ranked motorcycling roads in the world. Fiona wholeheartedly agreed, no cutting out or off of anything. With that, it was settled. We’d try for the tour in the morning. We’d make that evening’s ferry, no matter what. We headed back to the cabins for some much needed post-decision day-off down time.

I work in television, so that’s probably why I hate it so much. I never watch it, figuring that when I’m old, feeble and doddering around in diapers, the reruns will be new to me. Until then I’ve got other stuff to do, like see icebergs. A few hours after lunch, sitting in our cabin watching bad TV when suddenly, the worst program of all came on. A ridiculous program called Celebrity Rehab or something… whatever it was, I nearly picked up my chair and smashed the idiot box.

Sensing my mounting frustration, Fiona looked outside, and noticed that it was raining harder. But, like magic, the rain had made the fog lift. “C’mon. Let’s go find an iceberg.”

I didn’t need to be told twice, though Abi, comfy and cozy on the cabin couch, arms folded tightly across his chest, did. In the end, after some persuasion, he geared up with the rest of us, and we headed out into the gloom to where I figured our best chance of seeing an iceberg would be, a place not too far away called Long Point.

In my haste to escape the boob tube, I might have forgotten to mention the lighthouse on the tip of Long Point to Abi. Ooops!

Though it had lifted by the cabins, the fog had evidently all moved over to Long Point, covering everything in a ghostly white veil. Icebergs are the same color as fog, which would make them almost impossible to spot. Unfazed by this, we strode to the edge of a dangerous cliff to have a look.

The fog blanketed everything. We couldn’t see squat. The realization hit that if the tour was canceled again tomorrow, we might not accomplish our Expedition Iceberg Mandate. Disappointed, we turned around and headed back for more mind-numbing Celebrity Rehab.

Suddenly, Sleeping Beauty started banging on my back. I figured she was just having a nightmare back there, but decided to stop anyway.

“Look! Look!” She jumped up and down, pointing wildly at the horizon. “It’s an iceberg!! LOOK!”

We all looked. In the fog, it was hard to tell if what we were looking at was an iceberg, just the fog, or an island. Unleaded climbed a hill for a better look.

“Hate to say it, but that’s not an iceberg, kids.”

All the while, to our left, where we weren’t yet looking, silently staring back at us out in the cove was this:

It’s hard to see, but it’s there, and it’s most definitely an iceberg.

And to think something as stupid as Celebrity Rehab nearly caused us to miss this incredible sight that we’d traveled so far to see.

Completely thrilled that we actually saw a medium pinnacle ‘berg, we rushed back to the cabins and, since the iceberg was too far out to cube up and put in our drinks, hoisted an unfortunately neat toast to what was the honest to goodness ‘Best Day Ever’ of the trip.

Unless the Iceberg Man came through for us the next day that is.

The next installment of the Great Unsponsored Nova Scotia Expedition can be found here.

Categories : Motorcycle


  1. NanaKathy says:

    Newfoundland trip – Great commentary. Thanks for sharing. We are planning a trip 1st week of Aug 09. Hope we have warmer and drier weather. Any moose get in your way? Like the nickname idea. Will work on ours. Great photos. I have been a passenger for just over a year and have 1500 kms under my "butt". Thank goodness for Mustang. Will view your Scotland tour, want to visit there someday. Drive safe.

    Kathy & Stephen
    West Jeddore Nova Scotia

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