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A drive into the bay in sleepy Goose Cove

Goose Cove is an incorporated fishing village southeast of St. Anthony, Newfoundland near the tip of the northern peninsula: the population peaked in 2001 at 287 but now stands at 211. With a local economy supported by a land-based seal hunt and the cod and salmon fishery the village has grown from its 1857 number of 43 inhabitants in 7 families. Originally called Petit Oie, French for small goose, Goose Cove is just another sleepy little slice of Newfoundland lore…we-e-ll-ll-ll…

It was an unusually glorious June morning, a crystal clear blue sky, sunny, temperature quite comfortably hovering around 10 degrees Celsius as we drove into town. We were just 6 days into our month long exploration of Newfoundland so were suitably impressed by the fishing village with an ice clogged bay that would come to be quite commonplace as our journey continued.

Karen and I stay in close proximity to one another but pursue different interests when we arrive in such places. She usually seeks out any signs, interpretive or other, in an attempt to learn as much about our surroundings as she can. I, on the other hand, follow a seemingly neverending campaign to thoroughly document the experience photographically.
Goose Bay, Newfoundland
It was such a beautiful day that I was engrossed in my documentation process, enjoying taking photographs. The ice in the bay captivated me and as I gazed at it almost hypnotically I heard a loud commotion on the hill directly behind where I was standing. As I turned I saw a truck speed down the grassy hill, bounce uncontrollably across the road and careen into the bay. This was about 100 feet from me so I ran, yes I RAN, something I always say I would never do unless I was on fire, toward the truck.

At first I thought it was an empty truck that had rolled down the hill but it had accelerated in its journey and that struck me as a little unusual. As I neared the water’s edge I saw sure enough there was a middle-aged woman sitting there at the wheel and although she was surprised and bewildered looking she appeared to be alright.

By now several neighbours were onsite and they all looked quite calm, as though this sort of thing may have happened before. Assured she was alright, like a hostage negotiator speaking to a deranged suspect, they instructed her to get out of the truck and walk toward them on shore. The water was about two and a half feet deep and she was visibly surprised when she stepped out of the truck into its icy embrace.
A car in the water, Goose Cove
Now that I knew she was okay I began wondering and postulating what happened. Of course my first thought was that she was drunk, had staggered aimlessly out of her small home and climbed behind the wheel not knowing exactly what her plans were from that moment on. That may very well be an accurate account because I can just imagine her looking out the windshield as she bounced down the hill on her perilous journey then exclaiming without warning, “Jases bye! Who put the friggin’ bay here?!”

Karen had heard the racket from further up the road and was a little alarmed when someone asked, “Are you okay?” Her immediate thought was that it was me and I had somewhat typically done something foolhardy and ended up in an unexplainable complex situation.

She had seen the incident from a greater distance and theorized the woman hit the accelerator instead of the brake and things just got worse from there. We did not delve into the matter so will never know for sure. It was one of those things that in retrospect seemed funny, especially since it happened in a place in the country somewhat renowned (albeit unfairly) for such shortcomings. Canadian humourist Ron James once said he didn’t know why anyone would pay to see a comedian in Newfoundland – I guess this is what he meant.

Well now that had been a rather unexpected and unusually satisfying start to what we had thought would be a totally average day so we had no desire to leave this jovial little hamlet. I had read about a short hiking trail along the water so we drove to the other end of town and found the Pumley Cove Walking Trail.
Goose Bay Newfoundland
One of the many things I had loved on this trip was coming across what we considered to be “typical” Newfoundland scenes. This was such an area and before we entered the trail I spent some time photographing the weather beaten outbuildings on the homesteads resting at the foot of the hills above the icy bay. With the clear blue sky as a backdrop I found it irresistible. At the end of the hike the sky competed with the equally blue water offering a reflection of the church in a tranquil land locked pond giving me another of numerous photo ops.

We ate our lunch in a gazebo near the water then walked the scenic trail up the cliff overlooking the town. The two kilometer trail provided us spectacular views of the seaside cliffs and the ice flows choked with trapped icebergs while local wildlife warnings cautioned us against rutting moose and savage coyotes. The moose are big enough that I was not concerned about them, anyway what the hell is the likelihood of seeing one this close to town? I did stop and read what to do in case of a coyote encounter, the sage advice being, yell at them, maintain eye contact, throw sticks and rocks at them then prepare to become a part of their morning crap.
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