Tag Archives: St. John’s

Friday Fun: The Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium

Hey, guys! I know, I said we’d do stuff this week, and I haven’t posted a whole lot. The good news is that things are going so well with actual writing (like, the book some of you are waiting for) that I’m worried the house will have a meltdown again. The bad news is that I’m not going to halt that momentum to write blog posts, so things might continue to be a bit sparse here next week.

Also, I’ve got kids at home full time. Writing time is limited, you know?

But speaking of those kids, I did take a week off for a family vacation. Stopping work cold turkey nearly drove me mad, but after a few days in my favourite city, a relaxing and fun weekend at a friend’s cabin, and lots of walking around beautiful landscapes, I started to relax.

One of our stops was the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium in… well, it’s in Petty Harbour. You probably guessed that. Smarty pants. It truly is mini. I mean, they didn’t take a ray-gun and shrink a fish tank down (dangit), but they do have a lot of amazing exhibits packed into a TINY space.

I thought, since most of you won’t make it out there this summer, that I’d share some pictures and information (all facts and figures courtesy of the aquarium). Many of their exhibits are temporary, as they show off creatures brought in by local fishermen which are then set free after they’ve done their time. Nice, right? We missed the wolf fish by a few days, but I hope he’s very happy… um… doing whatever wolf fish do.

I would probably know this if I’d seen the exhibit.

TO THE PHOTO TOUR!

I’m a bad, bad promoter. I didn’t get an exterior shot of the building. *ducks away from flung flotsam and jetsam*

But inside…

Good to know!

Good to know!

 

This is Lady Blue, a temporary visitor to the aquarium. Blue lobsters are fairly rare: one in 2,000,000 has this lovely colouring.

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Casper the white snow crab is another oddity, if somewhat less pretty. I wasn’t as impressed with his colouring as I was with his astonishing fashion sense. Check out that escargot chapeau!

 

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“Leave me alone.”

 

Flounders are… um… interesting.

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The sea ravens were my favourite. Our fish might not be tropical-pretty, but we have some lovely sea monster inspiration!

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Here’s Pharaoh. He’s a golden lobster (1 in 35,000,000 are this colour, and this summer the aquarium has two of them!)

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There’s so much more to see, but I don’t want to take up all of your time with my fish pics– cod, sculpin, something called a lumpfish… aww, heck, here’s a picture of the lumpfish, because it’s kind of hilarious:

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The Mini Aquarium may be tiny, but it’s a lot of educational fun. They have daily puppet shows and story time through the summer, too, if you’re hauling kids around and they’re into that. Oh, and the touch tanks are MIGHTY COOL.

Cue touch tank pics:

"Hey, how's it going?"

“Hey, how’s it going?”

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I didn’t have the heart to tell this guy it’s too late to audition for back-up dancer in The Little Mermaid

So there you go. If you’re ever in the St John’s area, head on down! It’s on the way to Cape Spear, too, which could make for a fine day of fun.

Now, kiss the Pout, and we’ll all be on our way.

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G is for Geocentre

The Johnson GeoCentre is one of my favourite spots to visit in St John’s, especially on cold or rainy days when Cape Spear and Signal Hill just aren’t going to happen. Packed with exhibits about the natural history of the area, film presentations, interactive activities, and other fun stuff, this is a place you can kill hours in… at least, you can if you don’t have kids hanging off of you saying crazy things like “BUT I’M HUUUUNGRY! I WANT TO GO TO THE MAAAAALLLLLLL.”

I thought for “G” I’d share a few pictures of our most recent visit (with links to more info on their site).

 

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^The ceiling of the underground entrance hall is a 3D model of our solar system. Pretty nifty.

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^The ExxonMobil Oil and Gas Gallery is… well, pretty much an ad for the oil industry. But it’s interesting.

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The Titanic Story exhibit is both fascinating and depressing. As you follow the story, it becomes clear just how many people screwed up, goofed off, or just didn’t care, all of which led to this disaster. TEAMWORK.

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The list of every passenger on the Titanic fills a binder. The greyed-out names didn’t survive.

 

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^The 3D Earth & Space Theatre shows a rotating schedule of films that are both fun and educational. The octopus one was our favourite on this trip. Also, the glasses make you look SUPER COOL!

 

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^Uranus is gassy. Go figure.

The folks in charge are always adding to my favourite part of the GeoCentre, the BIG EXHIBIT HALL. I didn’t take photos of everything, because there’s just too much. Geology, natural and human history of the planet and Newfoundland, new exhibits on space and space travel… and several films narrated by Gordon Pinsent, who’s just the most adorablest.

 

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^This chunk of gneiss from Labrador is almost as old as the Earth itself, and I TOUCHED IT.

 

 

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^For anyone curious about the blue feldspar in my Gempunk experiment: Labradorite. See also: the necklace in my sidebar pic. 🙂

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^The outdoor exhibits are loads of fun, but the weather just didn’t want to cooperate on this visit.

So there you go. When you come to Newfoundland to visit me (and I know you will), you’ll want to check out the GeoCentre when you’re in St. John’s. 🙂

For more information, here’s their website.

For more A-Z blog challenge, go THISAWAY.


Cape Spear

(OK, so the picture showing up in the WordPress reader preview? Not Cape Spear. Not at all. Anyone know how whether we can change settings on that?)

Good Monday, my dear peoples! I hope you all had a great weekend, whatever that means for you.

Our weekend was quite fantastic. We headed to St. John’s as soon as school was done on Friday. There wasn’t time to get to all of my favourite spots. there never is; there are just too many of them. But the little guy and I got up to Signal Hill while AJ took Simon to see Man of Steel:

cabot tower

View from the lower parking lot. Yep, we climbed up there.

So that was fun. Then on Sunday, instead of leaving in the morning like we usually do, we decided to go up to Cape Spear. It’s probably my favourite place in the world. Why? Well, on a day like yesterday, you’ve got the fact that it’s the easternmost point in North America; not quite yelling distance to Europe, but as close as you’re going to get without a boat. The landscape is pure Newfoundland, rocky and rugged and covered with boulders left by glaciers, more kinds of beautiful little plants than you’d ever expect, and long grasses blowing in the constant breeze off of the ocean. Plenty of trails for walking, boardwalks over the mucky areas, and lots of room to spread out even on a ridiculously busy day like yesterday. Like, crazy busy: both parking lots full, cars parked on both sides of the winding road leading up to them.

Sheesh.

Sheesh.

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Dat landscape! (this is looking back toward the city; Signal hill is in the background there)

Also, stairs.

Also, stairs.

Then there are the lighthouses. We didn’t get all the way up to the old one on this trip, but they’ve got the inside set up as a museum showing what life was like for the lighthouse keepers way back when. At least, I think so… we haven’t paid the admission to go in yet. It’s beautiful, restored to the way it looked back in 1839. Great pictures here, and lots of information, too.

But there’s also the newer lighthouse up there, fully functional and doing its job.

...and apparently about to get smashed by my giant husband. O.o

…and apparently about to get smashed by my giant husband. O.o

You’ve also got military history up there: WWII cannons (sorry, 10-inch guns) and bunkers. Not the most cheerful place to have spent time back then, I imagine, and really creepy now, but interesting. Also, for the more mature among us, you can catch people standing near the guns and…

Heh.

Heh.

So yes, it was a lovely day, but why so busy? Well, we were there to see the whales, but it turned out there were other things going on that we didn’t now about. Oh, Cape Spear, you so crafty! Touch tables from the Ocean Sciences centre where the kids could interact with crabs, sea cucumbers, snails, and other local creatures, a colouring table, and a minke whale skeleton courtesy of a group that does whale/sea turtle/basking shark rescues, also available for touching and close examination. So interesting!

Smile!

Smile!

As for the whales? Well…

We saw them!

Humpbacks, and quite a few of them, some very close to the shore. It was AMAZING. I wish I could have got better pictures for you all, but I don’t have a camera that’s better than the one in my phone, and it’s a very, VERY bad idea to get too close to the water at Cape Spear. Even on calm days rogue waves can come up, and not a year goes by when at least one tourist doesn’t get swept away after he/she ignores the dozen “dangerous coastline, stay on designated trails” signs.

This doesn’t stop idiots people with no brains careless… um… well, people who think the signs aren’t for them from taking their little kids down to get closer to the whales… and the dangerous ocean. I love you guys, but not that much.

But I did get this for you.

See the light blue patch between the dorsal fin and the rocks? That’s one massive, white flipper right there. One was swimming away and we could see both stretched out to the sides… just amazing.

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When they exhale, they make a very loud “PFFFT” sound. AJ thinks they were just making fun of all of the crazy humans watching them from the shore.

One more thing before we leave the whales: When they go back under, the water pooling behind them leaves a flat space in the waves. This is called a whale footprint. Yes, I got pictures of the Prints of Whales.

You didn't think you were getting out of this without at least one stupid pun, did you?

You didn’t think you were getting out of this without at least one stupid pun, did you?

So that was our trip to Cape Spear. If you’re ever in St. John’s and have a way to get out there, I highly recommend visiting. Even if the weather’s not perfect and the whales aren’t around, it’s an amazing place. Have I ever showed you all my pictures from the foggy evening we spent up there last summer? It was creepy and surreal and quiet and kind of mind-blowing. We went past the old lighthouse:

Tell me this doesn't look haunted.

Tell me this doesn’t look haunted.

…and out onto the lands beyond. Very eerie in the fog! When I stepped close to the edge of the cliffs, it was like the end of the world opening up under my feet.

I got the most delightful shivers!

I got the most delightful shivers!

The ocean was down there somewhere. I know, because I could hear it whispering.

A few more pictures from last August:

foggy lighthouse

pitcher plant. Yep, our provincial flower is carnivorous.  How fun and creepy!

Pitcher plant. Yep, our provincial flower is carnivorous. How fun and creepy is that?

Remember when I said the glaciers dropped boulders all over the place? Sometimes they did stuff like this. I sat under there. It was cozy. :)

Remember when I said the glaciers dropped boulders all over the place? Sometimes they did stuff like this. I sat under there. It was cozy.

So there you go. That’s Cape Spear, and I love it. Highly recommended if you’re out that way, with or without the whales. 🙂


Breath of Fresh Air

We’re going to St. John’s soon. In semi-unrelated news, whales have been spotted near Signal Hill (this signal hill, in fact) in the past few days. I doubt we’ll see them, but still. EXCITING!

I wonder if a trip out on a boat is in the budget… probably not, since we’re trying to save for our trip to Ontario. How fun would that be, though?!


WIPpet Wednesday- Fun with Fighting on the Fifteenth (and a quick ROW80 Update)

Welcome again to WIPpet Wednesday, where we share a portion of a work in progress that relates in some way to the day’s date.

Today is 5/15/13. What shall we do?

I’ve decided not to share any gory dead bodies with you this week, even though it’s part of what I’ve been working on. You can return to your regularly scheduled breakfasts/lunches/whatever (still sorry about that…). Here’s 15 paragraphs (because dialogue) from a scene that takes place at the top of Cabot Tower. I wish I could share the end of this scene, but rules are rules, b’ys. Shivva and Daniel are in the middle of a training session, trying to open her up to the non-physical senses she (as a vampire) should be able to use. “The teenagers” are a pair of kids in the car in the parking lot, and have thus far been almost ignored by the blood-suckers on top of the tower. Shivva has already lost one fight (and been thrown off of the tower in the process). Good times.

Cabot Tower (photo via Wikipedia)

“Let’s try it. Sneak up on me.”

He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, that works. Close your eyes. I may or may not be back.”

He drops off of the edge of the tower like it was three feet to the ground instead of fifty. His shoes hit the ground with a loud thwack, but his movements that follow are silent. I close my eyes and breathe in the salt-fresh air of this place that’s become my home. Waves mumble over the rocks far below me. My body is silent, not even a heartbeat to distract my ears.

A minute later a sharp rapping noise splits the air, and Daniel yells, “Hey! Leave room for the holy spirit, kids!” I snort, imagining the teenagers in the car jumping apart. That, or giving him the finger. So that places him a short walk down a slight slope, downwind. I won’t smell him as he approaches. I won’t hear him, either; Daniel moves like a cat when he wants to.

I focus inward, feeling for him from a part of myself that’s beyond human senses. It’s not his physical presence I need to be aware of, but that part of him that wants to harm me. Specific markers like that are always easiest, especially when dealing with strangers. Malicious intent approaches, clear and deadly. Behind me, moving to the side. When he strikes out, I’m ready. I roll away, up on my feet just before I hit the low wall. He doesn’t pursue.

“Good. Too easy, but good.”

That’s the only kind of praise Daniel gives, so I’m satisfied with it. He’s right, anyway. It was too easy. “You know, it would be much more challenging with a trainer who didn’t actually want to maim and destroy me.”

He smirks. If there were days when he went easy on me, I certainly don’t remember them. “Stop being a wuss, Shiv. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and all of that.”

“Well, I’m dead. Does that make me invincible, or the weakest thing ever?”

“Moot point. Try again. I’m going to make it harder.”

“That’s what she said.” I position myself in the center of the roof and close my eyes, and he disappears. Really. I lose all sense of him as soon as he’s gone. It’s disconcerting, but I square my shoulders and wait. He’ll be back. Even if he changes his plan of attack, I’ll feel him coming. Punching, kicking, pulling my hair, tossing me off of the roof again…

Cold lips press onto mine, and strong arms pull my shocked body close. Hands tangle in my hair. Cold hands. My mind explodes in confusion. How? I should pull away, but my body betrays me, acting on its own just as it did when I blocked his attack earlier. My mouth opens under his, and the most incredible feeling washes over me as I rise up onto my toes to push myself farther into him. The world around me stops moving. And then he’s gone, pulling back, leaving me to stumble forward into the space where he stood a moment ago.

He’s got that cocky smile on his face. “Your methods are flawed, dear student. You assume too much.”

“That’s not fair!” It’s all I can do to not stomp my foot in a childish fit of confusion and anger. “Nobody who actually wants to hurt me is going to sneak up to kiss me!”

“No?” I barely dodge the kick that would have sent me over the edge again. “Well, there’s your lesson for tonight.”

Want to join in WIPpet Wednesday? Here’s the link. Have a gander at the other lovely works posted, share the comment love, and add your own. Yes, it is that easy. After all…

Thank you to K.L. Schwengel, our fan-frigging-tastic host, for making that!

* * *

ROW80 Update:

Eh. 1,380 words on Sunday, none on Monday (though I did manage to make a stuffed cat out of an argyle sock, yay me), 200 on Tuesday. My brain isn’t able to focus right now. I don’t know whether it’s from the change in my meds or just a normal fluctuation in my mental workings.  Either way, booooooooo.

Already accomplished 4 blog posts (including this one), plus one scheduled. Yay.

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Grand Total…

Zero.

Yep, there was a Camp NaNo writing marathon yesterday, and my total word count for the weekend is nuthin’.

That’s OK. I can sacrifice for a chance to visit my favourite city.

St. John’s in April isn’t what it is in the summer– or in the winter for that matter. But I took a few pictures for you guys at Bowring Park, which is a place you simply must visit if you’re ever in the city. I’ll get more pics next time. For now: ducks n’ stuff!
Northern Pintail on a pretty pond

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Peter Pan

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Swan…

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Two-headed swan! 😀

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Sad, Sad Treeroy Brown, saddest tree in the whole damn town

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Spring won’t come until approximately June o’clock, but that’s never stopped a crocus. Such optimists!

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That concludes our tour of what I was doing on this weekend when I should have been writing.

Totally worth it. 😉


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