At the end of summer, I took what would be my third Northland Discovery Boat Tour in just over a decade. It was my first without an iceberg (given the lateness in the season this was to be expected), but was I ever surprised by the number of whales I would see and the show the orcas and humpbacks would put on for me!
Located at the Grenfell Historic Properties Dock, St. Anthony, NL – Northland Discovery Boat Tours is the place you can see more whales, more icebergs and have more time on the water. It is an experience one will want to take if iceberg and whale watching is on your bucket list on the tip of Great Northern Peninsula!
Departing scenic St. Anthony harbour, one gets a warm feeling of the significant fishing history of this community – the presence of wharves, fishing rooms, a state of the art shrimp plant, cold storage, port facilities for fishing vessels and so much more. As you get to the end of the harbour, Fishing Point Park’s lighthouse, walking trails, Lightkeeper’s Café, Fishing Point Emporium and the Great Viking Feast are the last dwellings you see before hitting the open water.
As we travelled past neighbouring communities of St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat and St. Carol’s we would see boaters and fishers jigging for cod fish on the last days of August. It was clear there was lots of fish in the water, making our likelihood of seeing whales that much more possible.
Three humpback whales were working together to push fish near the rocks and become a feeding ground for the whales. It created an opportunity for some lovely photos. On the return we would capture some impressive coastline.
The biggest surprise was the 7 orcas (killer whales) we were greeting with again near the mouth of the harbour. It was my first time seeing orcas, so it was quite memorable and the perfect summer surprise. I captured many up close photos and videos of the whales.
The 2.5 hour boat tour was highly educational, offered hands on information about barnacles, birds, whales and bergs (icebergs). It also at times includes a trip to a sea cave called “the oven” and includes some local folklore.
As we steamed back in the sun was beaming and shrimp draggers were returning to port. There was a comforting feeling knowing all the amazing beauty and economic potential that is garnered from the sea. It is our reason for why we settled permanently on the Great Northern Peninsula and businesses, such as Northland Discovery Boat Tours shares a little bit of that with the world. If you are interested in a tour check out – http://www.discovernorthland.com/
Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows
There’s that famous photo of a hiker trekking Gros Morne National Park that has captivated audiences and brought tens of thousands of visitors to Western Brook Pond Fjord each season.
Imagine hiking to this magical place and garnering this view and this image with you in the backdrop? It certainly is on my to do list, as this image came from www.newfoundlandlabrador.com.
This season was not my first to the fjord, but it was my first taking the 2-hour boat tour. It was something on my list for a long time and I was thoroughly impressed by the experience.
After taking the Coastal Hike of 6 KM return, I would park at the lot at Western Brook Pond, which was spilling out on the road way. BonTours, which offers the Boat Tour has been offering 5, sometime even 6 tours a day with an average of 300-400 people. The tour begins with a 2.65 KM walk into the pond, which takes about 40 minutes. There is a well developed boardwalk and trail network that is accessible.
I’ve always enjoyed the storyboards and views along the way. If you are lucky you may even get to see an animal grazing, enjoy the flora and fauna, see berries and watching the water flow.
The price tag of a tour ranges from $58-65.00/person and also requires a Park Pass of $9.80/person. I highly recommend a Discovery Pass with Parks Canada as it covers your trail portion.
“The Memories Are Worth It”…BonTours Visit them at http://www.bontours.ca
I couldn’t agree more.
From moose, waterfalls, natural glacial carvings, faces in the cliffs, commentary and of course the spoons! I’m not musically inclined, but certainly enjoyed playing the spoons with my friend Carter.
BonTours is a tourism icon in the province, providing a unique experience in Gros Morne National Park for over 40 years!
We have some magical gems in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Bon Tours on the Great Northern Peninsula is one wonder you will truly want to experience.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA St. Barbe-L’Anse Aux Meadows and Minister of Tourism for Newfoundland and Labrador
After two days of being in the concrete jungle of a major Canadian city, it was very refreshing to spend a week on holiday in our beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Day 1: Tablelands
There is something magical about visiting the Tablelands, a World UNESCO Heritage Site in Gros Morne National Park. Each step you take, you feel as if you are on another planet. On the opposite roadside there is normal vegetation, but where the Earth’s mantle was pushed upwards and exposed, the pinkish brownish rock and masses are quite barren. This highly educational experience is also a photographers dream. Well, you know, it was a half billion years in the making!
I highly recommend the daily guided tour at 10 AM by Parks Canada staff. However, if you happen to miss it, there is an App where you get an interactive tour along the way from a Parks Canada staff member. With my Discovery Pass good until June 2018, when visiting the Discovery Centre, I was given a tablet with the App pre-loaded that worked by GPS coordinates and proved very helpful on my trek.
Without the App, I would have missed intricate details about boulders being out of place, where the water comes from and many other features of glacial formation along the way.
It was nice to see the provincial flower, the Pitcher Plant on display along the trail. This is a carnivorous plant that is found at the end of every single tourism commercial we run.
Along the two hour return hike, I encountered a range of visitors from the enfant to senior, from California to Ontario to Germany. There must have been 100 people on site, as there was no room for parking in the lot. Its fascinating to see all those with an interest to walk someplace so geological unique where the Earth’s mantle lies naked. It is most likely the best place in the World to see such a wonder and a great place to begin your adventure in Gros Morne National Park.
A few kilometres down the road is a quaint fishing village of Trout River. It boasts a beautiful beach and walking trail and a few years ago have a whale beached along this very coastline. There is a nice restaurant, accommodations and some small shops. There’s a photo to be taken around every corner.
Given my stay in Gros Morne would be very short, I decided to reach Woody Point for a later than normal lunch at the Loft Restaurant, which was full of buzz. I was quite fortunate to get an outdoor table overlooking the beautiful Bonne Bay. While eating the EmmCat Boat Tour came by for a cruise and we waved to those aboard.
I had the fish and a salad with a glass of house white wine, that was generously poured. The fish was perfectly prepared, very moist and flaking apart as you placed your fork into it. This restaurant comes highly recommended and is open until September 30th.
Walking around the waterfront, the downtown of Woody Point, seeing the historic buildings it something that just makes this place a must visit location. The Merchant Warehouse is a lovely place for pub grub and usually evening entertainment. There is a classic diner on site and the Legion is next door. Studios, craft shops, coffee shops and general business seem to keep growing. Including Gros Morne Summer Music, Woody Point Writer’s Festival and the performances that take place as Woody Point Theatre. This Town has a lot going on day or night and likely was a reason there was no accommodations available. Be sure to book early if you wish to stay here and many places on the island of Newfoundland and Labrador. Tourism is growing in numbers!
Norris Point – Overnight
I love Norris Point, it is home to the Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival, which kicks off the season in early May. I was fortunate to get two nights at Neddie’s Harbour Inn. The view is just spectacular and it truly is the perfect getaway.
The first two images below is that of Jenniex House, a heritage home and the view of Norris Point as you enter. It truly is breathtaking. I love the vibe here, including the Voice of Bonne Bay (VOBB) Community Radio. There are pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, boat tours, adventures, craft shops, Bonne Bay Marine Station and so much more.
The final 4 images are the view from Neddie’s Harbour Inn and some great eats at the Black Spruce Restaurant at the same location. It has a view of the Tablelands and the Appalachian Mountains of either site. The view, atmosphere and food is all of the highest quality. It’s no wonder they were a focus of Air Canada’s En Route Magazine.
I pack a lot in a one-day adventure in Gros Morne. If you have more time, you may want to space out your activities over several days. There are many great walking and hiking trails and places to visit that make for a unique experience.
I look forward to sharing more of my experiences on the Great Northern Peninsula and across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador with regular postings. Follow me on twitter @MitchelmoreMHA
Live Rural NL,
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Tourism for Newfoundland and Labrador
The Great Northern Peninsula is the setting of a new mystery novel by our very own Bernadette Calonego, an author born in Switzerland, who spends her time in British Columbia and Newfoundland. Stormy Cove is her fourth novel. After reading her page turning “Under Dark Waters” about historian digging up the past of a German author and Canadian trapper, while participating in a dangerous mission of uncovering the truth set in British Columbia and the Canadian North. Certainly a novel with storyline and characters that kept you wanting more until the very end. I am even more excited to read this newest work given its affinity to my home.
Her work was published in Germany and it was quite successful. Now in its English version, launched in late May, it can be purchased locally at Shopper’s Choice Pharmacy, St. Anthony; Hedderson`s Store, St. Lunaire-Giequet; Dark Tickle Company, St. Lunaire-Griquet; J and K, Noddy Bay, the Norseman Restaurant and Gaia Art Gallery, L`Anse aux Meadows; Neddie’s Harbour Inn, Norris Point; every book store can order it by visiting http://www.bernadettecalonego.com/english/ or visit Amazon.com.
The back jacket reads:
As a globe-trotting freelance photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lori Finning has seen just about everything. But when she lands an assignment on the barren, snow-swept island of Newfoundland, she finds herself in harsh and unfamiliar territory.
During the long, dreary winters in the isolated fishing community of Stormy Cove, gossiping is the primary pastime. So Lori is surprised when she learns of a crime the locals have spent twenty years not talking about: the strange, unsolved murder of a teenage girl. As she delves deeper into the village’s past, she’ll discover dark family secrets, unexplained crimes, and an undeniable attraction to Noah, a taciturn local fisherman who just might hold all the answers.
Who wouldn’t want to immerse yourself in a novel set on the Great Northern Peninsula that surrounds the mystery of murder and uncovers a tiny town’s dark secrets? I can’t wait to finish it! Happy reading everyone!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA St. Barbe-L’Anse Aux Meadows
September 9th marks a monumental moment in our history as Queen Elizabeth II’s reign will surpass that of Canada’s other great Mother of Confederation, Queen Victoria. Tomorrow, our Monarch will have served us and the Commonwealth for the longest period in our modern history and the Town of Flower’s Cove has partnered to organize a special event at Canon Richard’s Memorial Academy.
The Monarchist League of Canada has encouraged all Municipalities to recognize this milestone 63 years and 217 days in the making. None of us needs to be reminded of how remarkable a woman is Elizabeth II. Monarchists or republicans, Canadians agree that our Sovereign has shown the ideals to which we might all aspire and which reflect our country’s traditions and the best of its contemporary way of life: inclusiveness, stability, friendship, service, dignity, defiance of stereotypes of age and gender, to name but a few.
Join us at Canon Richard’s Memorial Academy parking lot tomorrow, September 9th at noon for a brief lunchtime event that will last between 15-20 minutes commemorating this historic occasions with the singing of the National Anthem, Proclamation, Oath of Allegiance and a Tribute to the Queen. Should the weather be less than ideal, the event will be held at the gymnasium.
I look forward to the commemoration and hope to see you there.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)