This morning saw us approaching the Bay of Isles along the coast from the south for an expedition day. The presence of pillow basalts in the passing cliffs made for a perfect setting for a presentation by Dana Johnston, one of our geological specialists, who explained how pillow-shaped structures formed in lava that cooled quickly due to its extrusion underwater. Dana also pointed out other extraordinary features in the rocks around the Bay of Isles.

First, we explored the North Arm by ship, experiencing close-up views of the stunning geology of this area. Then we ventured into Middle Arm, a long snaking finger of sea to a sheltered spot that is surrounded by steep cliffs of folded carbonate rocks (limestones) and forest running down to the shoreline. This led us to Goose Arm. This remote area is only accessible by sea or by rough tracks from Corner Brook. The shore is dotted with cabins and clearings left over from logging and herring fishing in earlier times. The cabins are used as summer cottages today.

After lunch, the conditions were ideal for exploring the area by Zodiac and by kayak. We were delighted with excellent views of an adult bald eagle sitting in a tree, unperturbed by its admirers. We also observed a pair of belted kingfishers cruising along the shore in search of food, and afterwards we enjoyed the treat of a special ‘tea’ on the sun deck with hot dogs and beer.

The final presentation of the day was by naturalist Karen Copland on the special history and customs of Newfoundland.