The Magic of Nature

August 13, 2019

My friend Shawn added a comment to the lighthouse post I made yesterday as to the “watercolor” appearance of the background.  This led me to go back and look again at a few shots I took earlier that morning, shortly before coming upon the l’Anse-au-Griffon statue.  When I took these I specifically remember seeing shadings and hues in the clouds ,and reflections in the water, which I hoped the camera would catch.  You’ve heard the saying “the picture doesn’t do it justice,” and I was hoping it would this time….

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Those were taken about 730 in the morning local time (and for you computer geeks that might have noticed, the timestamp on the photos taken with my smartphone is exactly one hour ahead of real time.  My phone hasn’t yet made the adjustment back to Eastern time which occurred when I crossed in to Québec province over a week ago).

Cap-des-Rosiers

August 13, 2019

Here are some other things I saw Tuesday morning while in Cap-des-Rosiers on the Gaspé Peninsula of Québec province..  As I drove in to town from the west:

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As I walked back from the lighthouse to get some photos of the “welcome to town” sign which was on the east side of town I went past a home which had wooden models of three lighthouses out front.  This was the nicest one:

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It was maybe 3 feet tall.  There were also some nice birdhouses:

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While I was stopped in this small town to take photos of the lighthouse and was parked safely off the road in it’s parking area I noticed that I was atop a tall cliff overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  I took these photos of some birds:

Three flying away from me, first totally out of rhythm:

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And then in perfect sync:

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And I stood and watched as this bird, or waterfowl if you prefer but still a bird, floated on the water, frequently diving for fish.

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I didn’t know it at the time but I had found a lone Common Eider, the largest duck in the northern hemisphere.  Now THIS was a duck!

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As I said, it was a beautiful morning and this was a peaceful spot so I put the cameras away and just stood and soaked in the view for quite a while.

I was now at the far end of my clockwise loop around Forillon National Park and the road would next be taking me south, then west back to Gaspé.

Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouse

August 13, 2019

I continued my clockwise lap around the perimeter or Forillon National Park and saw this lighthouse in the distance.  I knew immediately it would be a keeper.

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At a tad over 111 feet, this is the tallest lighthouse in Canada.

The lighthouse was putting out an incredibly bright white light which lasted a considerable length of time, not just the quick “flash” that most do.  The lens must rotate very slowly.  I waited and waited hoping to get a photo of it but ultimately came to the conclusion that I was now too close to it to see that light from the ground.

I left my car in their parking lot to walk back and get these photos, plus wait for the light and had to make an extra trip back to my car to put new batteries in the digital camera.

Here are shots I got from the parking lot area, first of the sign at the lighthouse itself:

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Note that the biggest icon on the sign is the $, indicating that there is an admission fee.

It didn’t open until 9 and I was there a little after 8 and had already used up a good bit of time so I took these remaining shots (from outside the fence) and went on my way.  I still had lots of places to see.

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UPDATE – A few minutes after I posted this originally I learned that this is an “Occulting” lighthouse, meaning that the duration of light bursts exceeds the periods of darkness between bursts.  Most lighthouses are long dark, short light but this one is the exact opposite.

L’Anse-au-Griffon

August 13, 2019

Monday as I made a lap around Forillon National Park, near the town of Gaspé, I discovered this mysterious statue out along the coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence:

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Made of wood but enhanced with metal shrouding and rope, it was in the town of L’Anse-au-Griffon but had nothing indicating who it was or what it represents other than an equally mysterious plaque at the base, crediting the artist:

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I Googled it but am coming up blank.

It is a handsome statue, well crafted and with amazing detail.

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Dude, you may want to get that spot under your left eye looked at.  Seems that you’ve got something serious going on there….

And while I was trying to find out exactly what this represents I found this amazing photo online.  The statue with a spectacular aurora borealis in the background.

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(Photo credit + copyright: Christian Fortin)

Let’s hope it wasn’t photoshopped….

If it looks like a duck….

August 13, 2019

My first full day in the Gaspé area I decided to first make a lap around Forillon National Park before exploring the Park itself.

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First let me clarify a couple of things.  I highlighted Gaspé in pink because when I made my initial reservations on Airbnb back in early May, that’s where I thought I’d be staying.  Well that host cancelled my reservation a few weeks later (he was a newbie to Airbnb and I may well have been his first reservation, if not first actual guest.  Apparently his first actual guest must have made the host have second thoughts about having strangers in his house and he cancelled all 4 remaining stays, mine being the last, so he could make “modifications” to his home).  So now I was staying in the little town of Petite-Rivière-au-Renard, about 18 miles and a half hour north of Gaspé proper.

I had taken Route 197 as a shortcut to get to my Airbnb when I arrived.  I had stopped briefly in town to go in a Tim Hortons to use their wifi and their washroom (I do that a lot).  Gaspé is a very attractive town with lots of trendy restaurants and a big entertainment venue.  I had initially thought about backtracking in to town for dinner but found a nice place right up the road from where I was staying, both of which had views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, so I had stayed up on the coast.

As I mentioned, the next morning I decided to make a lap around Forillon National Park, shown in dark green on the map above, before exploring the Park itself.  I had been driving on Route 132 most of the day on Monday since arriving on the Gaspé Peninsula and, as the map indicates, it actually goes all the way around the Park out near the water.

Now – about that duck… and you need to work with me a little on this…  As I was driving east on Route 132 to start my clockwise lap (and with the Gulf on my left) I was traveling down the road at the posted speed limit of 31 mph (50 km).  It was early morning (my first photo of this sequence was taken at 748am) and there was virtually no traffic on the two lane road through a mostly residential area.

I was scanning the area quickly left to right taking in the scenery as I drove.  At one point, when I looked out over an open area where I could see the water in the distance, my mind captured the scene and a second later informed me “that was a large duck out in the water”.

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I turned around and went back, parked in a safe spot, donned my Safety Sam vest and my cameras and we were off to the races…..  Upon closer inspection my initial thought was obviously proven wrong.

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Not a real duck but a rock, but it kinda sortof looks like a duck.

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Use your imagination.

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OK, fine.  It’s a seal on a rock.

How about if we call a spade a spade?

August 18, 2019

Real time     Blood pressure probably 500 over 100 (I’m kidding)

It is Sunday afternoon and I am back at my Airbnb.  Don’t worry, everything’s fine, but I need to get something off my chest so I can hopefully sleep tonight….

This morning I decided to take my car and drive to a few places which were more than walking distance away.  I have walked exclusively the last two days and this is my last full day here.  So much to see!

I drove north of Québec City to Jacques-Cartier National Park, about a half hour outside of town.  My pre-trip research indicated there were some gorgeous fjords there.

My first sign of trouble was their sign, which I had plenty of time to study while waiting in a long line of traffic to get in to the Park.  Well, it was Sunday morning and, though cloudy at the moment, was showing signs of improvement.

Here is the sign I saw:

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It was different than every other Parks Canada sign I have seen while in the country:

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I thought “OK, Québec thinks it’s better than everybody else and wants to be rebellious”.   Fine.

When I finally get up to the entry gate I tell the young lady that I have a Discovery Pass, which gives me free admission to all national parks and historic sites in the country for one year.  She says “Oh no, this is a Provincial Park”.

Whoa.

“You mean Parc Nationale is a Provincial Park, not a National Park?” I ask.

“That’s right”, she says, “it’s kind of a long story but Québec’s special status…”

OK, let me stop you right there.  I said (calmly and politely, this isn’t her fault after all) “Oh yeah, Québec thinks it’s special all right” and indicated I would turn my car around and leave, which I did.

And after reviewing my photos the entrance sign I saw was, in fact, a Parks Québec sign, not Parks Canada.

I had also been puzzled by these highway signs as I approached Québec City on Thursday:

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Hey….. Québec……  Prêter une attention particulière….. (pay close attention)

I’m only going to say this once:

You are part of frickin’ CANADA and your national capital is frickin’ OTTAWA and it’s in frickin’ ONTARIO PROVINCE, and close enough to you to rub your snooty little nose in it.

Compris?   (Got it?)

There, I feel much better.


 

Hey JohnBoy, dites-nous ce que vous vraiment penser…  (Tell us what you really think….)

I’m tempted to stop using the accent when writing their name just to piss ’em off.

 

 

 

 

Well played, Mr. Koepka, well played

August 18, 2019

Please forgive me as I go off topic once again to report something I personally find quite amusing.  I hope you will to.

Brooks Koepka

(Photo credit + copyright: Andrew Redington/Getty Images Sports)

Brooks Koepka, a 29 year old golf sensation who has played full time on the US PGA Tour for the past several years, was called out by a fan on Twitter during this weekend’s event which is one of the elimination rounds leading to this year’s season finale where the winner will walk away with a cool $15 million dollars.  Weather had interrupted the event and Mr. Koepka was in the clubhouse, apparently looking at some of his followers comments on his Twitter feed.

He had this snappy comeback during that rain delay:

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(Photo credit: Twitter as posted by @wiley77, the author of an online golf blog)

I should point out that Mr. Koepka, at 29, has won over $30 million on the US tour alone, and won 3 of their “Majors” (a handful of marquee events throughout the year) in just the past two years.  He had played on foreign tours for years before committing to the PGA Tour, where he undoubtedly had won much more.  When he’s good he’s very good.


Earlier this week I read where Bryson DeChambeau, another new golf sensation on the PGA tour, also had a direct comeback to his fans in general who criticized him for slow play (a chronic problem in recreational, amateur and professional golf where a player takes too much time thinking about and executing a shot) in last week’s event.  He had made a few remarks at the time they were brought to his attention and evidently before embarking on this week’s event on Thursday, and having had more time to stew over it,  effectively addressed his critics by saying “Screw y’all, screw all y’all” which is another Southernism in US lingo.


And I didn’t want to distract from the story but for those of you who may not know, a Brinks Truck is the common term for an armored vehicle used to, generally safely, carry around large amounts of cash between banks and customers or the US Treasury.

UPDATE – Here are pictures of a Brinks truck I saw literally driving up to the National Mint (where they make loonies and toonies) on Ottawa, the capital of Canada on Wednesday, August 21.

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