Thursday, 7 October 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Day!

As we arrived in Bonne Bay this morning, we found that another (!!!) sunny day was waiting for us. However, the sea was choppy and it was a quite wet crossing in the polar cirkle boats to the shoreline of Woody Point.
The little village with around 600 inhabitants is beautifully situated close to the famous tablelands of the Gros Morne National Park. Many of us took the opportunity to explore the area on shorter and longer hikes while enjoying the stunning autumn colours. A real highlight were certainly the characteristic red leaves of the maple trees. Gros Morne National Park was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1987 for its “exceptional natural beauty” and “outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history”. One of these examples is represented by the tablelands, which form one of the best and most accessible pieces of exposed earth mantel material in the world.
The park is also home for a variety of animals and at the entrance we were advertised by a signpost that this is bear land. Very exciting! - but the chances to see one…not very promising. Instead, some of us were so lucky and caught the glimpse of a moose! Moose were introduced in 1904, originally two females and males. Today, the population consists of the considerable number of around 100,000 animals, which are causing quite a lot of damage to the vegetation.
A fascinating plant we find in the park is a carnivorous plant. It belongs to the “pitcher plants” and its leaves form cups filled with liquid. Insects are trapped and drown. However, the drowned insects are not consumed by the plant directly, but by the larvae of a special fly, that live inside the cups. The plant in turn lives on the excreta of the larvae – a real symbiosis.
After a morning of exploration, MS Fram sailed along the coastline in the afternoon and passengers could choose between lectures or just relaxing on deck or in the Observation Lounge.
The day was concluded with the famous MS Fram Crew Show presenting many hidden talents on board, including a group of Russian poll dancers.