Circumnavigation of Newfoundland - Vikings, Fjords and Whales

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Day 1: St. John’s

We meet in St. John's—Newfoundland's historic, vibrant capital. Picturesque and welcoming, with a world-famous harbour, St. John’s has been continuously fished since 1498, allowing it to boast the designation of North America's oldest European settlement.

We will arrive in St. John’s ready to explore and will offer an optional city tour to interested parties in the afternoon. Afterwards, we will rendezvous at the docks and board the Ocean Endeavour to begin the adventure proper; passengers will meet the staff and crew, and prepare to leave the harbour. Sailing out of St. John’s has to be experienced to be believed; Signal Hill keeps watch over the world-famous Narrows as we head for open water, passing Cape Spear, the furthest east point in North America.


Day 2: Trinity Bay

Newfoundland's history is intricately bound up with the cod fishery. In the heyday of sail, smaller centres like Trinity could claim to compete with St. John's. Today the preservation of Trinity's cultural heritage has made it perhaps the most notable "heritage community" in the province. Abandoned communities nearby add to the character of this destination, as did the roles it played in the motion picture The Shipping News and the TV series Random Passage.


Day 3: Conche

On the Great Northern Peninsula, the people of Conche welcome us into their charming community. Complete with ties to its history, religion, fishery, and wildlife, Conche is made up of mostly Irish descendants. We will explore the colourful town on foot, but don’t be surprised if locals invite you in for a "mug up"!

Conche is part of Newfoundland’s French Shore, which was established by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. This treated provided that French settlers were allowed to fish in season between Cape Bonavista and Point Riche. The disputes with other nations over French fishing rights became a major focus for the Newfoundland nationalism that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century.

Conche was a relatively isolated community until it was connected by road to the province’s other settlements. To this day it maintains a reverently local feel, with the community centre playing a large role in daily life. Conche is also home to the legendary French Shore Tapestry, over two hundred feet of linen and wool telling the story of Newfoundland’s French history; its fishery, its conflict, and its people.


Day 4: L’Anse aux Meadows

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, L'Anse aux Meadows is the only authenticated Norse settlement in North America. The archaeological remains found here in 1960 date to approximately 1000 AD. Amazingly, the location of the ruins was first established by a close reading of the Viking sagas.

Today a superb interpretive centre and reconstructions of the several Norse-style sod buildings make L'Anse aux Meadows a must-see for any visitor to Newfoundland.


Day 5: Red Bay

Labrador is home to Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Canada's newest UNESCO World Heritage site. Beginning in the 1500s, Basque whalers operated out of the Red Bay harbour, making it at one time the largest whaling station in the world. The site includes six hundred acres of terrestrial and aquatic protected area. Among the important artefacts found at Red Bay are the whaling ship San Juan, lost in a storm in 1565 and found submerged in the harbour in only ten metres of water. A large number of tools, personal items and navigational instruments have been recovered from the wreck.


Day 6: Woody Point / Gros Morne National Park

Gros Morne’s geographic diversity and majesty needs no introduction. The park's mountains are both picturesque and highly unusual: the Tablelands, a 600-metre plateau, forms one of the world's best examples of ancient rock exposed from the earth's interior. The park's fjords are equally stunning, and the town of Woody Point has become widely renowned for its annual Writers' Festival.

There will be a choice of walks—catering to all levels of skill and interest—as we explore the surrounding area. The beauty of Bonne Bay will surely be a highlight, as will the subtle charms of Woody Point.


Days 7 - 8: South Coast

The wild and windswept coast of Southern Newfoundland is home to a few remaining outport communities, still largely cut off from mainstream travel. Visits here are often a highlight of our trips. There are many unique bays, outport communities, and coves to explore via Zodiac or land excursions.


Day 8:


Day 9: Miawpukek (Conne River)

The First Nations community of Miawpukek (Conne River) has an economically self-sufficient mandate, guided by traditional values. It became a permanent settlement sometime around 1822. Before then, it was one of many semi-permanent camping sites used by the Mi'kmaw people—who were, at the time, nomads travelling throughout the east coast. Since its establishment as a reserve in 1987, Miawpukek’s employment rate has increased from 10% to nearly 100% and Indian and Northern Affairs often reference the community as a model for other First Nations.

We will receive a formal welcome into the community and meet the locals, with the help of community leaders.


Day 10: Saint-Pierre, FR

Explore exotic Saint-Pierre, a last bastion of France’s colonial territories in North America. The island’s 6,500 residents are of various descents including French, Basque, Breton, and Normand.

St. Pierre’s architecture reflects its history: an eclectic collection of colours and style aligned on picturesque cobblestone streets and alleys. We will have time for a tour of the city and independent exploration in the surrounding area. Take advantage of this day in France to enjoy some wine and cheese, and unwind in a tiny slice of old Europe nestled into the North American coast.


Day 11: St. John’s

Discover one of the oldest cities in North America, a city unlike any other. Cradled in a harbour carved from 500-million-year-old rock and surrounded by hills running down to the ocean, St. John's is the most easterly city in North America. St. John's has been vitally important for centuries to explorers, adventurers, merchants, soldiers, pirates, and all manner of seafarers, who provided the foundation for this thriving modern day city.

On the final day of our expedition, we will say our farewells and begin the process of departure. Staff will be on hand to assist you with luggage and transportation arrangements.

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