Last Wednesday the Regatta went ahead and we spent the afternoon (with Rebecca and Lauren) playing games of chance, having drinks and snacks, and watching a few races. It was Luke's first Regatta Day, and it was a great day for it.
We also went to Mistaken Point which is a Provincial Ecological Reserve, 2.5 hours from St. John's along the Southern Shore. Here visitors can find the fossils of the oldest complex life forms found anywhere on Earth; they are called Ediacara biota and lived 565 million years ago. Similar fossils can be found in Russia and Australia, but Mistaken Point is special due to the variety and uniqueness of species found here.
These creatures wouldn't have had bones or shells, so normally they wouldn't have been preserved as fossils. But the imprints of the soft tissue organisms at Mistaken Point were preserved on the sea floor when they were suddenly buried by repeated volcanic ash-falls. As the volcanic ash layers contain zircon, geologists can accurately date the fossils.
This is what they imagine the creatures would have looked like at the time (also note that they aren't thought to be plant-like as they would have been too deep in the ocean to receive sunlight):
Before the tour initially departed the centre, we watched a 12 minute video and saw part of a cast which was made of the large surface containing fossils. That part was interesting, so it was a bit disappointing to go further to see the fossils and only be able to see them using binoculars to look down on a rock. Hopefully in the future they will find a way to allow more access to the public, especially if it is accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are some more pictures from our weekend!