Three caribou make their way ashore in Aspen Cove, as seen in this video screenshot. Some locals believe the animals travelled nearly 40 km from Fogo Island. (Lorna Coles/Submitted)
The tourism season may be winding down, but there were some special visitors in Aspen Cove this week.
Lorna Coles was out for a morning drive on Monday when she noticed something unusual in the sea near the small community on Newfoundland's northeast coast.
"Yeah, there I seen the three heads bobbing in the water. Three caribou," she said. "It wasn't a very nice day. I was shocked to be honest, and I just stayed and videotaped it, but it was pretty amazing to see."
Three grown caribou, a male and two females, struggled to shore after their swim through heavy seas, rain and high winds. Local people believe the animals came all the way from Fogo Island; a distance of roughly 40 kilometres.
Coles's photos and video were the talk of the town, as caribou aren't usually seen in the area. Some locals say they've seen dead animals on the shore over the years, when they tried and failed to make the swim from Fogo.
These caribou seemed none the worse for the long journey, though.
"They was best kind," she said. "They came off galloping like horses at the beach and ran across the road."
"They just crossed the road and ran up in the local garden there. I had to go out to work, so I don't know what happened to them after, if the when the water calmed down they went back to Fogo."
Four-legged visitors to Aspen Cove check out the town. (Nikki Peddle/Submitted)
Coles said nobody really knows why the animals decided to take on such a journey.
"You know, I don't know if there's open season over there now or if they just got separated from the herd or what. And then, if they got out the ocean and went into the current, they were coming."
Coles thinks maybe the animals were able to rest on a couple of small islands between Fogo and Aspen Cove. The caribou have moved on now, but she said she'll definitely keep her eye on the ocean from now on.
"I'll be looking now every time we're going down that road. And I'd say I'll be telling the story for a few years because there's not much excitement around here."