After breakfast the next day, we decided to get even closer to the icebergs and look at them from a different angle, at Fort Amherst. Although Fort Amherst is just on the other side of St. John’s Harbour, even Elizabeth had never been there before. Fort Amherst once played a role in the defence of St. John’s Harbour, from the opposite side, and the original fortifications that were built in the 1770s are no longer visible. However, the remains of concrete structures built during World War II to defend against German U-boats can be seen, although they have fallen into disrepair.
In 1810, the first lighthouse in Newfoundland was built at Fort Amherst and the lighthouse that was built in its place in the 1950s is still operational. There is no parking by the lighthouse, so we parked as close as we could and then walked the rest of the way. The icebergs had shifted overnight so as we were walking along Southside Road on our way to Fort Amherst, we couldn’t see them at all. However, as we walked past the last house on Southside Road, the icebergs appeared before us. The two large icebergs were still intact, although we noticed pieces of ice in the water that had fallen off (and we were not-so-secretly hoping that we’d witness an iceberg collapse).
During our time there we learned that:
- starfish have eyes at the end of each arm...
- and scallops have 60 eyes around the rim of their shell!
- 1 in 2 million lobsters has a genetic mutation that makes its outer shell blue
- seals have adapted so that they can get hydration from ice without getting hypothermia
- seals "bottle" when they sleep - they float in the water vertically with just their heads above water
We finished off our day out by going to The Grand Seduction, a film set in rural Newfoundland that is a remake of a French-Canadian film of the same title. We met up with Elizabeth’s family at the cinema and we all thoroughly enjoyed the charm of the movie.
On Sunday, we continued our nature-themed weekend and visited Salmonier Nature Park. Reviewing our blog post about our visit to Salmonier Nature Park last year, we realized that we unknowingly visited the Nature Park on the exact same weekend last year! Spooky. Luckily, it wasn't raining this time and a few different animals were out of hiding so we saw some new ones. This time we were extra lucky because we saw some animals that aren't part of the normal set; we saw a mink sneaking food from the great horned owl enclosure, a rabbit in the caribou area, and a squirrel ran right past Luke and his mom while they were standing on the boardwalk. Oh, and we saw a Snowy Owl in the process of eating a rat whole.
Here are some more pictures from this past weekend: