St John’s was our first landfall after crossing the Atlantic.
After a day in St John’s we had another day at sea before we reached Sydney.
Our cruise to Canada and New England took us across the Atlantic to St John’s, Newfoundland; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; two days in New York City; Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts; Rockland, Maine; St John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and back across the Atlantic to Southampton.
Day 6 Thursday 19th September: St John’s Newfoundland, Canada
We had another disturbed night as Sapphire made her way through the reported 2-3 metres of swell. I was woken a couple of times by loud bangs and even the whole ship shaking.
At 7 am our alarm went off and we were early enough for the International Restaurant.On our table for six, two fellow passengers were from close by where we live and after a moment or two Linda and one of the ladies realised that they had worked together for a while. These ladies were exceptionally well travelled and we listened to their experiences on various cruise lines as well as Princess cruises.
This not only was the first port to since leaving Southampton but was our first Princess Cruises’ organised trip. We went to the Wheelhouse Bar and waited for our trip to be called. Then after picking up our badges we filed in to the theatre to the row of seats marked with our excursion number.
After a short lecture we again filed out, this time row by row, down to the stairs to leave the ship. There were no immigration or customs officers, instead we wandered along the row of coaches until we reached our one. We were now 15 minutes ahead of when we were supposed to meet let alone be on the coach. Unfortunately there we sat waiting for the final two passengers to arrive and for our guide.
The coach was immediately in traffic as it moved away. To our right were a row of oil rig supply vessels (I learned later that the oil fields were way out in the Atlantic.) As we made a tight left turn we could see the statue celebrating the young Canadian who attempted to cross Canada but died from his cancer before he reached British Columbia.
On our left were a row of four stone cottages. Our guide explained that these had been built for a stone masons’ four daughters and that he had hoped the houses might help them find husbands.
The road up to Signal Hill after the Geo Centre and was quite steep as it twisted its way up the hill. At the top was a busy car park and the coach parked overlooking Saint Johns harbour.
Signal Hill had been the sight of a lookout post to warn of approaching ships, friendly or hostile to St John’s. Marconi had set up his receiving station here and received the first message ever to be sent across the Atlantic by wireless.
Signal Hill overlooked the entrance to St John’s harbour, the Narrows.
Our guide had pointed out where the US base had been established in WW2 as part of the Lend-Lease Deal. Now it had been given back to Canada as the US no longer wnated the expense of a base in St John’s.
Once again we had a short wait for the final passengers to come back to the coach before leaving. Back down the hill the coach stopped for an unscheduled visit to the outside of the Geo centre. Our guide suggested that we spend a few minutes looking at the various rock samples found in Newfoundland. I was particularly interested in the sample of magma from the Earth‘s core.
In front of the centre were two statues of Newfoundland’s famous dog breeds.