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Newfoundland joy for photographer

Dennis Jones/Special to the DailyJohn Walsh guts a cod in Cape Broyle.
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Synchronicity strikes again! On our last night in Pouch Cove I went outside the B&B to practice my tin whistle by the ocean. As I played, I sensed someone approaching in the dark. The next door neighbor, Dan Rubin, an accomplished and respected Newfoundland musician, had heard me. We chatted, and come to find out, he is leaving in a few days for Tuscany and has been unable to find a housesitter. So … change of plans! For the next month, Yolanda and I are in possession of a lovely, ocean front home with breathtaking views, whales spouting outside the cove and an organic garden. Earlier that day, while watching the ferry in Portugal Cove, a woman walked up the hill. We exchanged hellos, started talking and were quickly treated to a dramatic performance of her wonderful poetry. Betty Jarvis Vaters turns out to be a Newfie writer and poet. Like so many people weve met, she is friendly and irrepressibly exuberant. Nobody seems to have told Newfoundlanders they should beware of strangers. The next day, while walking along a road in Cape Broyle, a small village on a lovely cove down the lush Irish Coast south of St. Johns, a father and two young children rode up on bikes. They immediately engaged us in conversation. In his wonderful, thick, Newfoundland brogue, the father talked about how he just came back that morning from five days of fishing, saw three moose crossing the road and was then taking his kids out plummin, hunting for native plums. He further regaled us with stories about his family and his fathers glass eye, which he would pop out and set down telling the grandchildren as he walked away, Okay, you keeps an eye on tat dere eye for me now, aye. Not five minutes later I was photographing a picturesque, well-used fish shed perched precariously over the water when I heard three hearty hellos from John and Neil OBrien and John Walsh, fisherman carrying their mornings catch. We chatted as they made quick work gutting and filleting their 300 pounds of cod, tossing the carcasses into the water through a hole in the floor. They grew up here and are sons and great grandsons, on back through many generations, of local fisherman. As we said our good-byes they offered us some fresher-than-fresh cod fillets to take back for dinner. The next day, prior to taking possession of our new home, we were searching for a B&B in Torbay, another spectacular cove close to Pouch Cove. To our surprise, the woman who greeted us at the door is someone we briefly met our second night at the Points East Guesthouse. Annette invited us to stay, didnt even charge us and asked if we would like to join her for a play that evening in St. Johns. It was the 30th anniversary gala of the Living Tide Theater, a Newfie institution. Wonderful, hilarious theater! Another gloriously sunny September day later, we hiked the northern end of the East Coast Trail. A few scattered cottages dot the windswept, rocky shore there. While watching a bald eagle soar above the cliffs, a woman popped her head out the back door of a cute, little, red caboose and yelled, Would you like to join me for tea? Helen Forsey quickly made room for us at her table while preparing tea, cheese, crackers and homemade partridgeberry preserves. She is writing a book and seeing us gave her an excuse to procrastinate. Unfailingly, we are made to feel at home where ever we go. Where else would anyone offer their home to a complete stranger? Where else would someone on the street unabashedly recite poetry to you? Where else would a fisherman offer you part of his catch or a lone woman in an isolated cove invite you in for tea? We are smitten with Newfoundland. From our base by the sea in Pouch Cove, we are looking forward to exploring its warmth and hospitality, its dramatic beauty and picturesque fishing villages, its rich culture and Celtic music. And maybe, just maybe, I might end up having to kiss that cod.Have a travel essay youd like to share with Vail Daily readers? E-mail High Life Editor Caramie Schnell at cschnell@vaildaily.com.

Editors note: This is the second in a series of travel stories from Edwards residents Dennis Jones and Yolanda Marshall about their journey through Atlantic Canada. Jones is a professional photographer. View more of his work at http://www.dreamcatcherimaging.com.


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