Labrador - Torngat Mountains Inukshuk and People - photo by Barrett & MacKay
Places such as Sable Island, L'Anse aux Meadows and the Torngat Mountains hold a special place in the imagination of many travellers. Now is your chance to see all these and much more on one epic adventure cruise that circumnavigates Newfoundland and then travels along the shores of Labrador all the way up to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Covering four provinces, two countries and one territory, this is one adventure cruise you do not want to miss.
The expedition is actually a combination of two 11-day small-ship adventure cruises. The first one, affectionately named Fins and Fiddles, starts and ends in historic Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. First stop is remote Sable Island, in the past inhabited by sealers and shipwreck survivors and salvagers. Now only a handful of permanent residents live here, outnumbered by far by gray seals, wild horses and migratory birds.
The cruise continues via rugged Cape Breton to Charlottetown, the cradle of Canadian Confederation. Ride a bike, kayak or stand-up-paddle-board before starting an in-depth exploration of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The area is rich in Quebecois and Acadian heritage and has an outstanding flora and fauna, including 300 species of birds and numerous whales.
The cliffs of Gross Morne at Bonne Bay greet us as we visit the west coast of Newfoundland where guided walks are a highlight. We visit the outport of Francois before heading for Saint Pierre et Miquelon, the last vestiges of the French Empire in North America.
The ship returns to Louisbourg for the next 11-day part of this journey - sailing north to visit Gros Morne once more - this time the at the Tablelands with its dramatic rock formations and unusual fauna. Next, sail up to L'Anse aux Meadows, the home of Leif Erikson and site of the only known Viking settlement in North America.
More history awaits at Battle Harbour in Labrador, once an important fishing and whaling station. Venturing up the Labrador Coast, known to the Vikings as the Wonderstrands, we explore Moravian missions and outports and discover 4 billion year old rocks before reaching the fabled Torngat Mountains. These are Canada's highest mountains east of the Rockies and for the last 75 centuries have been of great spiritual significance to the Inuit people and their predecessors. We'll explore the coast line on foot and may see polar bear or herds of caribou. Highlight is Nachvak Fjord where cliff walls up to 900 metres high surround the ship as we are on the look out for numerous species of whale and seal.
Towards the end of the cruise you will visit the site of Germany's only armed incursion in North America as well as visit the Button Islands, home to thousands of sea birds and other marine mammals. A final zodiac cruise along the shores of Monumental island may well have you spot polar bear on the prowl for walrus. After this head for Iqaluit and fly back to Ottawa.
Our circumnavigation of Newfoundland and cruise up the Labrador coast makes for a unique way to celebrate Canada as the country celebrates it 150th birthday. Dates for Canada's East Coast Fins & Fiddles are Jul 5 - 15 2017, followed by a Jul 15 - 25 2017 Labrador and Torngat Mountains Explorer. There is also a separate Jul 21 - 31 departure on the Fins & Fiddles itinerary.
Per person prices start at US$3195 for Fins & Fiddles or US$3495 for the Labrador and Torngat Mountains Explorer. The combination of both cruises is a steal starting at US$5195. The flight back from Iqaluit to Ottawa is extra, priced at US$995.
Related post: 15 Trips for Canada's 150th birthday
Labrador - Torngat Mountains National Park - photo by Barrett & MacKay