Photographing Newfoundland: more fair than foul!

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

Craig Minielly joined Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation in the fall of 2017 as onboard photographer and Nikon Ambassador.

We do our best to prepare everyone, but Craig got the (pleasant) surprise of his lifetime… and the photographs to go with it.

Read on to discover how Craig’s preconceptions were overturned…. to stunning effect!

 

Newfoundland –  A place of fog, cold , pounding seas and driving rain…

Or so I thought!

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada
As I packed for my upcoming assignment, to be the event photographer for Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland circumnavigation, I had all sorts of visions of wonderfully fog shrouded coast lines, pounding waves against rolling decks of the ship, dark and driving rain for days that would season the images I was to capture with the rugged and terrible weather that is all that Newfoundland is supposed to be.

 I could’ve been more wrong—or perhaps not.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada
The weather that unfolded throughout the trip was nothing short of spectacular. Ocean kissed coast lines, became tranquil bays of reflecting horizons and idyllic zodiac rides to our remote destinations, all of which were beautifully picture worthy under blue skies & temperate winds.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

Day after day the beautiful weather continued, in all its agonizing glory and summer-like conditions.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

It was only when we reached Newfoundland’s northernmost tip, of L’anse aux Meadows, that I was finally rewarded with some of my much anticipated and thoroughly storm driven weather – as only true Vikings would have it.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

Finally!  Rain, fog, wind and… coolish temperatures, openly greeted us on the shores where Eric the Red and his Viking crew had first stepped foot a thousand years ago… THIS was the weather that matched my much-anticipated dreams of exploring this oh-so terrible and desolate landscape for myself.

Our weather finally turned, but how appropriate to do so as we arrived to the first and desolately rugged Viking settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows - or "Jellyfish Cove" An archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America. Dating to around the year 1000, #LAnseAuxMeadows is notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of Vinland established by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas. It was named a World Heritage site by #UNESCO in 1978. - Source Wikipedia #worldheritagesite #NikonAmbassador #CraigOnAssignment #AdventureTravel #PrettyPlaces #NikonCa #intothewild #tinypeopleinbigplaces #bestplacestogo #travelphotographer #traveldeeper #suitcasetravels #letsgosomewhere #welltravelled #travelmemories ⠀ #passionpassport #lifeofadventure #stayandwander #folkgood #ourplanetdaily #ExploreCanada #explorenewfoundland #discoverearth #discovernewfoundland #AdventureCanada #outdoorphotography #landscape_lovers #Canada150 Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

My foul weather gear and weatherproof Nikon preparations, were finally being put to the test as I was able to enjoy the adversities in capturing the ice floes & earliest settlements—while savouring this first Viking landing as it was truly meant to be seen and experienced. 

As we left this area and onto new horizons, the weather of course turned again and I had to suffer through interminable sunshine, and balmy winds that brought only calm seas, but that was OK because I’d had my taste of the terrible climate and weather extremes that I’d come to expect.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

 

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada
I was ready to now soak up the suns soothing rays and 
enjoy the warmth of colourful destinations in all their glory… leaving my Viking worthy rain gear and sweaters back on the ship, where they belonged.

Follow Craig’s adventures at www.hotsaucecreative.com, or on instagram at @CraigOnAssignment

To join Adventure Canada’s 2018 Newfoundland Circumnavigation, click here!

To join Adventure Canada’s 2019 Newfoundland Circumnavigation, click here!

To join Adventure Canada’s 2020 Newfoundland Circumnavigation, click here!

A taste for adventure: AC partners with Slow Food

Slow food: those two word conjure images of mindful enjoyment of mindful, enjoyable nourishment. Which makes Adventure Canada’s brand of mindful, enjoyable travel the perfect partner for Slow Food in Canada and Slow Food USA.

Beginning with our Newfoundland Circumnavigation voyage this October, Adventure Canada will be working to incorporate Slow Food’s message of clean, healthy, fair food into our onboard programming and cultural visits. In fact, it’s a natural extension of the work we already do—a wonderful alignment of shared values.

After all, food is central to every culture, and culture is central to ecology in the regions we visit. Adventure Canada’s cultural advocacy includes supporting country food in the Arctic—like sustainably harvested seal meat. And in Newfoundland and Labrador, we do our best to search out the local delicacies that make travel there so intriguing, from cod tongues to bake-apples.

richard-mccarthy2We are particularly excited that Slow Food USA’s Richard McCarthy will join us aboard our Newfoundland Circumnavigation this fall. “Slow Food is so excited to partner with Adventure Canada because Adventure Canada makes real the values of Slow Food,” says Richard. “It is a partnership where we will begin to venture into that space of slow travel: travelling light, travelling slowly, connecting people to the taste of place, and ultimately building a community of people who give thought and meaning to travel, to food, and to the integrity of a place.”

Cedar“We all want to sample an experience in the places that we’re going to, and whether that’s by food or by music or through language, we’re excited to work with Slow Food to get those creative juices flowing,” says our CEO, Cedar Swan. “Between ourselves, leaders at Slow Food, and leaders in the communities that we visit, we hope to come up with real viable ways to incorporate food into the travel culture that we very much want to share with our guests.”

Starting and ending in historic St. John’s, guests aboard our Newfoundland Circumnavigation will embark on an intimate experience of Newfoundland’s local food, lively culture and dramatic scenery via daily expedition stops, community visits and engaging presentations. We’ll visit Red Bay’s Basque Whaling Station (a where locals depend heavily on food from the land, just as the Basque whalers did), learn about North America’s Viking history at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, and enjoy a taste of the Mi’kmaq culture in Miawpukek First Nation. Later, we’ll explore the remote village of Conche and enjoy a community meal of ‘the best cod in Newfoundland,’ before visiting the French island of Saint-Pierre to sample its cheese and wine, all in the company of local artists, experts, and naturalists.

Watch the beautiful and inspiring video Slow Food in Canada: Scratching the Surface, an official selection of Devour: The Food Film Fest.

For information about sailing with Slow Food on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation expedition, visit adventurecanada.com or call 1-800-363-7566.

Adventure Canada co-founder Bill Swan will be on site at Slow Food Canada’s National Summit in Saskatoon April 19-22. Drop by and say hi!

Interview with an Expert: Dr. Latonia Hartery

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Latonia in L’Anse-aux-Meadows, NL. Photo by Dennis Minty

Archeologist and filmmaker Dr. Latonia Hartery celebrated her thirtieth trip with Adventure Canada this past season. Beginning in 2005 with a tour of Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Latonia has worked with Adventure Canada every year since, doing several expedition voyages each season. One of Adventure Canada’s most experienced and respected resource team members, Latonia’s work aboard the ship (and ashore) includes interpretation of archeological sites, screening and interpreting films, and presenting her research.

Behind the scenes, Latonia manages Adventure Canada’s archeological sites’ permitting process, and is frequently consulted on best practices and new potential landing sites. She works alongside the Adventure Canada team to develop and implement approaches to sustainable expedition travel in sensitive environments.


 

Looking back, what were your first impressions of Adventure Canada?

My first impression was the natural camaraderie of the company as a family, which spilled over into how the passengers responded to staff and to each other. I was the youngest resource staff member at the time, and I noticed that people could have a lot of fun and adventure in a warm, safe environment.

What I also noticed was the easy access—getting to all these places that, even as a travelling archeologist, I had only seen on maps. All this coastline, all these places that you never in your wildest dreams think you’re going to reach.

What do you love about sharing your home province, Newfoundland & Labrador, with visitors?

I love showing people how fortunate I am to have grown up in this environment, surrounded by a rich culture that has afforded me the opportunity to follow my dreams about archeology and history.

I was born in a place where people have a very secure sense of identity, and they take care of each other. Not to say that living in Newfoundland doesn’t have its challenges, but there are many great things about this magical place that makes living here worthwhile—and this inspires me to do my best and to work toward helping Newfoundland be the best place it can be, as well.

What does it mean to share the archeology of this region?

Sharing archeology and history isn’t just interpreting—it’s helping people understand why we are the way we are. That is where the passion and love that many Newfoundlanders feel about their home probably comes from. There’s a bit of a misconception that people have been living here for only five hundred years, because of the fishery. That’s incomplete and inaccurate. You can’t understand the full history of Newfoundland and Labrador by starting around 1500AD.

It’s my job to illuminate the nine thousand years of life in the province, which began with the arrival of Indigenous people. And when you start there, it becomes apparent that every group that has been here interacted with the environment in similar ways—and within all of those different cultures, you find a through line that brings us to today. My own research at Bird Cove has helped reconstruct five thousand years of culture-history, both Indigenous and European. Some of our discoveries on the Great Northern Peninsula provided a flip side of how we saw past life in Newfoundland. It filled some gaps in the archaeological record, and shed light on how people dealt with changes in climate thousands of years ago.

What’s special about visiting Newfoundland & Labrador aboard an Adventure Canada trip?

Adventure Canada trips allow me to help people understand complex history and to reconstruct it. Whether through interpreting out on the landscape, or in a presentation, or even when having dinner together, I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about the diverse nature of NL livelihoods.

People have a general perception about what Newfoundlanders are supposed to be like and the critical thing that Adventure Canada does is to hire locally, so that the passengers get to interact with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, who interpret their own culture and heritage.

I also feel like my job is, generally, to interpret the province with as much enthusiasm as I can.

L’Anse-aux-Meadows is one of the highlights of Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation. What makes it so special?

The site has both fascinating European and Indigenous history. L’Anse-aux-Meadows is probably one of the most affecting stops that we have, in terms of understanding just how early Europeans—Norse—were here.

Vikings in general are fascinating. It’s a wonderful exercise for people to try to imagine how the site would have been working a thousand years ago. Plus, a female archeologist – Anne Stine Ingstad, excavated this famous archeological site; with the help of locals and professionals, and it became one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites.

What about Miawpukek First Nation?

Miawpukek is in the Bay D’Espoir region. I grew up in Milltown which is also part of the Bay D’Espoir area. That’s always one of the best days because I interact with friends I’ve grown up with, and my family. Smallwood once said that at the time of Confederation that there were no Indigenous people in Newfoundland, which of course, is not true. But unless people come to visit, it’s difficult to truly know Miawpukek and understand the Mi’kmaq history there.

I encourage travelers to come with us to Miawpukek and meet everyone there—they are thriving and living in one of the most beautiful, fastest-growing, and successful First Nations in Canada. Miawpukek is really showing a way forward— that’s a source of pride. It’s a very special experience for anyone who goes there.

You also travel in the High Arctic. What’s different about the Newfoundland & Labrador trips?

Arctic trips are incredibly adventurous, and can feature extreme hikes. But the Newfoundland & Labrador trips, while having some hikes and trips to isolated areas, is heavily community-visitation based. People come away feeling very nurtured, well taken care of, like they’ve had a lot of warmth run through their bodies. It is also very music focused, and feels lively and uplifting in that way.

You are a filmmaker with a focus on women’s stories. How does that dovetail with Adventure Canada trips?

I love getting more women’s stories out there, having a more equal playing field for women is something I strive for and AC is also taking a lead on this — they employ people myself, Holly Hogan, who’s one of the foremost seabird researchers, musicians like Geraldine Hollett of The Once—a lot of very competent female resource staff are on these trips, plus Cedar and Alana at the company. Exceptional women are met on land too during these trips, one being Cindy Gibbons, in Red Bay— who manages that National Park/UNESCO site.

In Newfoundland & Labrador, whether a woman had a career in the workforce, or worked at home, she was a strong pillar of her community. We learn to grab the world by its tail from our mothers and our grandmothers. They were, and are, very active. My grandmother had thirteen children. I watched her do anything and everything. When you come to Newfoundland & Labrador you will meet a lot of strong women!


Dr. Latonia Hartery runs a nonprofit called Amina Anthropological Resources Association Incorporated (AARA Inc.), specializing in researching and promoting Newfoundland & Labrador. Her own research station, Bird Cove in northern Newfoundland, is having its twentieth anniversary in 2018. She has received the JCI Outstanding Young Person Award, and a Cruise Vision award for her role in bringing Adventure Canada trips to select locations in Newfoundland & Labrador. She was named a Newfoundland & Labrador Emerging Artist in 2016. Her film production company, LJH Film supports stories about women, women writers & directors, and has a focus on the East Coast. She is currently working on a female feature film anthology featuring six different women directors.

Join Latonia in 2018 aboard our Newfoundland Circumnavigation, where she will explore the culture and history of Canada’s youngest province! Until April 15, save 15% on the berth cost of this one-of-a-kind expedition!

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Meet Chief Mi’sel Joe

CHIEF MISEL JOEMi’sel Joe was born in Miawpukek in 1947 to a family with strong ties to the community. Both his grandfather and uncle have held the office of hereditary Saqamaw—a high ranking spiritual leader traditionally tasked with spiritual and cultural leadership. His great great uncle, Morris Lewis, was the first appointed Chief in Newfoundland by the Grand Chief in Mi’kmaq territory. Mi’sel was educated in the Mi’kmaq ways and traditions, and at sixteen was given the alternative to either leave the reservation to seek employment, or travel to a neighbouring community to attend secondary school. He chose the former.

During his years away from the community, Mi’sel travelled widely and cut his teeth on a wide variety of professions. He worked in farms and factories, in construction and on railroads. He drove trucks and operated heavy machinery. He worked on fishing boats and in mines underground, and acted as labour foreman. But years passed, and in 1973 he moved back to Miawpukek.

Since then, Mi’sel has been been involved in First Nations Politics, initially as a councillor. After the death of his uncle, Chief William Joe, in 1982, Mi’sel became Saqamaw and Newfoundland District Chief for the Mi’kmaq Grand Council. He is currently in his sixth consecutive two-year term as Administrative Chief for the nation, and is recognized provincially, nationally, and internationally as a spiritual leader and healer, ambassador of his people. He has presented on native medicines and traditional healing practices at international medical conferences and hosted the 1996 International Healing Conference at Miawpukek. He is on the board of Parks Canada, a mentor of the Trudeau Foundation, a member of the First Nations Trust Fund, and sits on the Executive Council of the Atlantic Policy Congress. In 2004, Mi’sel was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador in recognition of his contribution to the economic, social, and political development of the Mi’kmaq people of the province.

Adventure Canada is proud to be setting sail in 2015 with Chief Mi’sel Joe on our Newfoundland & Wild Labrador expedition. This stunning itinerary departs from Saint-Pierre, France, and travels up the west coast of Newfoundland before crossing into the wilds of Labrador. As we move north, Chief Mi’sel Joe will be on hand as a member of our elite team of resource specialists, helping to share his wealth of knowledge and experience in—as well as his lifelong love for—the region. We are also thrilled to be stopping in Miawpukek (Conne River) on our 2015 Newfoundland Circumnavigation expedition, where we look forward to meeting with the community and sharing stories. Just one more way Adventure Canada is helping to spread culture, knowledge, and community.

Chief Mi’sel Joe will be delivering the 2015 Whipper Lecture on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, at the Canadian Canoe Museum (in partnership with Adventure Canada) in Peterborough, ON. Join us for an evening that promises to be enlightening and entertaining—free to all museum members, and $10 for non-members. The lecture includes a free guided tour, starting at 5:30PM. RSVP to 705-748-9153 or info@canoemuseum.ca for more information.

For more information about our Newfoundland & Wild Labrador itinerary, click here!

What NOT to do around icebergs

Adrenaline junkies are paradoxical people: they tend to evoke equal parts admiration, and dismay.

On the one hand, people who laugh in the face of danger help us expand the boundaries of human endeavour. On the other, their habit of doing potentially deadly things on purpose displays one of humanity’s most perplexing traits.

Watching Aweberg (now streaming at SnagFilms) highlights both aspects of the difficult balance. A self-portrait of a couple of ice-climbers determined to climb icebergs, the film reveals a little of what drives courageous athletes (literally) to new heights.

Despite serious warnings from a series of experts, lead climber Will Gadd is determined to scale a berg, for the thrill and the challenge of the climb. And while the resulting attempts make for fascinating, nerve-wracking viewing, (the film won the Special Jury Award at the Banff Film Festival) they also amount to a virtual list of what NOT to do around an iceberg.

Icebergs are nature's own abstract sculptures.

Icebergs are nature’s own abstract sculptures.

Adventure Canada expeditions frequently encounter icebergs on our east coast and Arctic excursions.

When we visit Greenland, as we do several times per summer, we see bergs in numbers and sizes that put the imposing, but relatively small bergs in this film to shame.

In Ilulissat, Karrat Fjord, Uummannaq, and other locations along the Greenland coast, the icebergs loom like small mountains. The cracking, tipping, splashing and crashing of these glacial remnants is one of nature’s most thrilling scenes.

Ilulissat ice fjord, Greenland

Ilulissat ice fjord, Greenland

The beauty of icebergs is awe-inspiring, as the title of the film suggests. But true awe includes a healthy dose of respect. We view icebergs from a distance (equal to no less than two to three times their height), knowing that they can flip at any moment, creating a deadly wave in the process. We never touch them, let alone land on them. To try to climb something that is by nature in the process of breaking up is to enter the realm of insanity.

As a Zodiac driver, I’ve seen the waves generated by icebergs breaking up wreak serious havoc more than a kilometre away. And that’s about how far I’d want to distance myself from the antics of these brave (but foolhardy) ice-climbers. To their credit, these guys quit when they realized all their instincts, all their training, and all the warnings were on the money.

As Will Gadd and partner, Ben Firth, and their crew learn in the course of Aweberg, the expert advice they got at the beginning is dead right: icebergs are NOT for climbing. Watch this film for its scenery, for its glimpses of life in Makkovik, Labrador (and an appearance by Expedition Team member Jason Edmunds’s dad, Randy).

But especially, watch Aweberg for a perfect primer on what NOT to do around icebergs.

View icebergs safely on our expeditions to the east coast, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic in 2015. Choose your trip here!

A Family Affair

Adventure Canada mainstay and musical legend Daniel Payne has collaborated with his sister Stephanie on a new release, Winterside. It’s available now from Daniel’s website—check out the sounds of the east coast brought to you by one of our favourties!

Daniel is a regular member of our expedition team and we always relish having him aboard. His extraordinary talent and his can-do attitude make Daniel a shining example of what we pride ourself in: staff that go above and beyond in all that they do, at sea and at home.

Congratulations, Daniel!

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The Colour of Memory

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We were blessed this week at Adventure Canada HQ to receive an email from Gilles Matte, a passenger on our recent Greenland & Wild Labrador expedition. Mr. Matte lives in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, outside Quebec city, where he works as an architect. In addition to his trade, however, he is a singularly talented illustrator and watercolourist—he has worked to produce handsome tomes documenting old Quebec, the oldest roadway in Canada, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. He is no stranger to capturing scenes of grandeur and contemplation, and we are proud to call him our friend.

With Mr. Matte’s generous permission, we are proud to present a selection of sketches and impressions from Greenland, Labrador, and Newfoundland.

Gilles, thank you for sharing your gift with us.

—Your friends at Adventure Canada

The Grand Seduction wins again

BarbaraDoranVeteran Newfoundland film director and producer Barbara Doran is beaming today, after Don McKellar took Best Direction in a Feature Film from the Director’s Guild of Canada forThe Grand Seduction‘.

The film, produced by Barbara Doran had already won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor (Gordon Pinsent) and the David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor (Mark Critch.)

We’re thrilled for Barbara, whose body of work includes the Newfoundland epic Random Passage, which many of our passengers have appreciated aboard Adventure Canada sailings.

Barbara will be aboard with us once again in the summer of 2015 on our Newfoundland Circumnavigation itinerary. Please join us in sending Barbara our heartiest congratulations!

My First Adventure

I grew up canoeing in Algonquin Park. I’m used to sleeping under the stars and battling hordes of insects; I’m no stranger to the raw power of a thunderstorm or the perfect moments of stillness at the day’s end. I have shot rapids and portaged thousands of kilometres with a boat on my head and a song on my lips; I have fished for my supper and stared down moose in the deepest of swamps.

But nothing prepared me for Greenland and Labrador.

Evighedsfjord

Nothing prepared me for the Greenlandic fjords, their grey-blue waters and ice-capped, soaring peaks that slipped in and out of low wisps of cloud. Nothing prepared me for the playful seal that dogged our progress, nor the profound calm as winter approached the continent.

Davis Strait

Nothing prepared me for crossing the Davis Strait in storm-tossed seas; desperately clinging to my bunk (and my sanity) and waiting for my Scopolomine patches to kick in. And then, once they did: screaming into the wind from the observation deck, laughing as the bow of the Sea Adventurer smashed through the waves, hurling spray hundreds of feet into the air. The sound was like a thunderclap.

Torngat

Nothing prepared me for the glasslike waters and towering summits of the Torngat Mountains, the panoply of colour and might that lay quiet and daunting on the Labrador coast. The sunshine that day was like something out of a fairy tale. Nothing prepared me for our brush with the polar bear that morning, watching agape as he tore great hunks of flesh from a seal carcass.

Torngat 2

Nothing prepared me for driving a Zodiac in gale-force winds during our arrival at Hebron, the abandoned Moravian mission. The waves crashed over me in salty tumult, my hands numb inside the bricklayer’s gloves I’d borrowed off a friend. But we made it. I made it.

Nothing prepared me for the thrill of diving into the 3°C waters off Labrador’s coast, waters deemed too warm by our Expedition Leader, who compensated for this setback by tossing a few trays of ice cubes into the drink.

Polar swim

Kiddos, Nain

Nothing prepared me for the smiling faces of the children in Nain, the celebration at the school as we descended on the community en masse and equipped them with the gear for two complete hockey teams. They followed us back down to the docks, laughing and singing. Some of them hopped in our Zodiacs and rode around the harbour, hooting and hollering.

Nothing prepared me for the soft grass and undulating dunes of Byron Bay, or the majestic shoreline of Castle Island, or the perfect moments on deck when the sunrise would play against the ship just so. Nothing prepared me for the northern lights that pulled us from our bunks late one night, to shiver in raincoats and pyjamas and look up in wonder.

Henley Harbour

Byron BayDawn

Nothing prepared me for the warm welcome at Conche, the steam rising from our soaked overclothes as we inhaled plates of the freshest cod in Canada. As we ate elbow-to-elbow at tables of grinning Newfoundlanders beneath garlands of crepe paper, the guitar picked up, and then the accordion, and then someone started to dance. Black clouds and wind muttered and grumbled outside.

Fogo bell

Nothing prepared me for the unsurpassed hospitality of the town of Fogo, where I played a hundred-and-fifty-year-old pump organ, climbed into the belfry of a church, shouted from one of the corners of the flat earth, and ran along a coastline wild and heedless of man and all the more perfect for it.

Nothing prepared me for the stillness that would take hold of our hearts on the last morning as the Sea Adventurer made her way up the narrows and into St. John’s harbour, nor the song that would waft across the breeze.

St. John's

Nothing prepared me for the hundred-odd strangers who had come together in two short weeks to share in something marvellous, something inexplicable, something powerful.

I have been searching for a long time for a way to bring together my love for the wilderness with my love of the written word, and with Adventure Canada I have done just that. I would like to thank everyone aboard Greenland & Wild Labrador 2014 for making me feel welcome, for trusting in the new guy (my Zodiac was always the cool Zodiac, thank you), for experiencing this sublime corner of the world with me. There is no shortage of wonder to be sought, and the adventure is just beginning.

Saglek

—Mike Strizic

Conche selfie

Michael Crummey’s changing Newfoundland

MichaelCrummeyNoted author (and frequent AC staffer) Michael Crummey is a thoughtful, empathetic chronicler of the changing culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Like many passengers aboard our East Coast trips, Michael has been fascinated by the village of Francois (pronounced Fransway) on Newfoundland’s south coast, as well as other remote communities we visit.

Francois—whose population nearly triples when our ship pays a call— is one of a dwindling number of outports across the province.

Sweetland

Michael’s new book, Sweetland, is set in a fictional outport on the verge of resettlement.

Michael recently penned an article for the Globe and Mail, What it means to be a Newfoundlander is rapidly changing.

And in recent appearances on CTV’s Canada AM, and CBC Radio’s Sunday Morning, Michael mentions his connection to AC and the unique perspective our trips have provided on his native province.

Michael’s insights about the changing ways of life in Newfoundland and Labrador are a boon to our East Coast expeditions, and Sweetland promises to be a fascinating read.

Well done, Michael Crummey!

Michael Crummey will join our Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 24 to July 4 2015.

Coolest Places on Earth features Adventure Canada

This amazing clip of footage from Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador itineraries is featured prominently in the travel show The Coolest Places On Earth, now playing on TV stations throughout the US.

Part of a half-hour episode devoted to Eastern and Central Canada, the clip highlights some of the amazing experiences passengers can look forward to aboard Adventure Canada’s East Coast itineraries.

We’re particularly pleased to be included at this time, as 2014 marks our 20th anniversary of operations in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a place we believe really is one of the coolest places on Earth!

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Visit Newfoundland and Labrador with Adventure Canada on our “Greenland and Wild Labrador” trip, September 11-24, 2014.

9 things you didn’t know about Newfoundland and Labrador

Battle Harbour, Labrador - Photo by John Chambers

Battle Harbour, Labrador – Photo by John Chambers

As of the 2014 season, Adventure Canada has been operating in Newfoundland and Labrador for twenty years. Over that time, we’ve learned to appreciate some of the unique, and lesser-known features of Canada’s easternmost province. Here are a few.

1. The Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, Newfoundland, is one of the most economically successful First Nations in Canada. This Mi’kmaw community places a high value on traditional values, including canoe-building and handicrafts.

2. Gros Morne National Park helped change our understanding of the world. The park’s outstanding geology includes visible protrusions of the Earth’s mantle, and crust, which led to insights into tectonic plate theory and continental drift.

3. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland is the site of the only authenticated Norse settlement on the North American mainland. Now a National Historic Site, the location was discovered by closely studying the text of ancient Viking sagas.

4. Red Bay, Labrador, is Canada’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. For several decades in the 1500s Red Bay was home to a thriving whaling station, seasonally run by Basques whalers. Multiple shipwrecks from the era lie in the harbour.

5. Battle Harbour, Labrador preserves a classic cod fishing station, with superbly kept wharves, warehouses, ‘flakes’ (drying racks), a working general store, church and houses. Battle Harbour is a living museum of the traditional salt cod industry.

6. Ever wonder what the Wonderstrands were? Two pristine sandy stretches of 20km and 25km along the eastern shore of Labrador are the leading contenders for the phenomenal beaches mentioned by Norse explorers.

7. Rigolet, on the Labrador coast, has a unique place in literature: a fictional, future version of the hamlet (called Rigo), appears in the novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. In our time, the area is a haven for minke and humpback whales.

8. The ghost settlement of Okak, Labrador straddles the tree line – and two cultures as well. The site was home to a Moravian mission from 1776 to 1919, and at its heyday was the centre of a large Labrador Inuit presence in the area.

9. Torngat Mountains National Park in Nunatsiavut, the semi-autonomous Inuit region of northern Labrador, contains Canada’s highest peaks east of the Rockies, framing dramatic fiords. The Torngats teem with wildlife, including polar bears and caribou.

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on these Adventure Canada trips:

Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12, 2014
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24, 2014

Adventure Canada wins 2014 Cruise Vision Award

CruiseVision

L to R: Shawna Strickland, port of Port aux Basques/Cruise Association of NL; Vanessa George, Marketing Manager for Cruise the Edge; Cedar Swan, VP, Adventure Canada.

On the heels of our twenty-fifth anniversary last year, 2014 marks another milestone for Adventure Canada: twenty years of operating in Newfoundland and Labrador.

And there’s no better way to kick off this season than with the 2014 Cruise Vision Award, “presented to leaders who demonstrate a meaningful commitment to the provincial cruise industry”.

As our VP, Cedar Swan said:

“Each year, we strive to launch new initiatives and itineraries that promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a premier cruise and travel destination and we’re thrilled to be recognized for our dedication, passion and creativity in the region. Newfoundland and Labrador is a guest favourite. We appreciate every opportunity to be a part of the community and are honoured to receive this award.”

2014CruiseVisionAwardThe Tourism Excellence Awards, held recently in Gander, Newfoundland, celebrates achievements and commitments to the region’s booming tourism industry.

Fully half of Adventure Canada’s guests visit Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are proud to have taken a leadership role in bringing travellers to remote outports and hamlets across the province. We’ve helped develp Nunatsiavut, the Inuit homeland of Labrador, as an expedition cruise destination, and shared the stunning beauty of Torngat Mountains National Park.

We’re grateful to some of the region’s finest artists, culturalists, authors and musicians, who have travelled with us and helped us promote Newfoundland and Labrador’s incredible array of cultural offerings. The award is a reflection of the joy we’ve shared.

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Photo: Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on one of these Adventure Canada 2014 expedition cruises:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2-12
Sable Island, June 12-20
Sable Island, June 20-28
Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24

Visit our trips page to see our full suite of Newfoundland and Labrador trips, including land-based small group tours perfect in combination with our seagoing adventures.

Entranced by tuckamore

This lovely video pays tribute to one of the unique attractions of the Newfoundland and Labrador coastline: tuckamore.

As picturesque as its name suggests, tuckamore is tree growth shaped by the constant wind into dreamlike sculptural formations.

In places like Gros Morne National Park, you’ll find plenty of tuckamore: beautiful, unusual, and wild.

Just like Newfoundland and Labrador.

See tuckamore for yourself on these amazing voyages:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2-12, 2014
Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12, 2014
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24, 2014

Gros Morne Magic

This year marks a special milestone for Adventure Canada: twenty years of running expedition cruise trips in Newfoundland and Labrador. While we’re often associated with the Arctic (and we do love the North!), Canada’s Wild East Coast is a favourite destination.

The unique combination of nature, culture, history and geography that is Canada’s easternmost province inspires and amazes our passengers time and time again.

Newfoundland and Labrador is also home to some of the most spectacular geology in the world, perhaps most famously at Gros Morne National Park, where the Earth’s mantle—normally found far below the surface—is upthrust to form the spectacular Tablelands.

A highlight of many excursions, the hike up to the Tablelands provides a window into the formation of the planet itself, not to mention a decent workout, and an incredible view!

Visit Gros Morne on these amazing adventures:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2, 2014 – June 12, 2014

Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29, 2014 – July 12, 2014

Follow the bear… to great adventures

BrochureThere’s so much to look forward to when the snow is all around! After all, the light is already returning on the horizon, and that means before long, the summer will be upon us, and we’ll be travelling north once more.

Just in time to inspire your summertime dreams, our new Expeditions 2014 brochure has hit the mail. Many AC travellers tell us they look forward to receiving their new catalogue, poring over the destinations and planning their future trips.

We feel this year’s new brochure is our very best yet, both in appearance, and in the trips it covers: Newfoundland Circumnavigation, Sable Island I, Sable Island II, Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, Arctic Safari, Arctic Explorer, Northwest Passage East to West, Northwest Passage West to East, Greenland and Wild Labrador, and Antarctica.

We’ve got so much to be proud of in 2014. We’re celebrating twenty years of operating in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s wild east coast. We’re visiting Antarctica on the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary 1914 Endurance expedition. And for the first time ever, we’ll visit remote and mystical Sable Island, Nova Scotia, home of the world-famous herd of wild horses, and the world’s largest grey seal colony.

Whatever inspires your travel fantasies, we hope to see you on an adventure in this amazing year to come!

Click here to request a copy, or to view or download a PDF version of “Expeditions 2014”.

For the love of Labrador

DavePaddonDave Paddon, who will travel with us to Newfoundland and Wild Labrador in 2014, has a love of Labrador that goes back generations. His dad, William Anthony Paddon, was the first Labrador-born Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Dave’s parents, and his grandparents, worked with the legendary International Grenfell Association. We asked Dave, the ‘poet-pilot‘ and recitationist about his family history in Labrador.

 

Dave, you come from a pretty illustrious background, but the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. What do you do?

I’m a pilot. I’ve been flying since 1976 and I started out flying Twin Otters and helicopters in Labrador. It’s quite a treat for me to be included in ACs Labrador trips as I get to see my old stomping grounds. Right now I am an Airbus Captain at Air Canada.

Tell us a bit about your family history in Labrador.

My grandparents were engaged by the Grenfell Mission, a charitable organization that provided health care and educational services to the residents of northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Dave’s dad on the hospital vessel “Maravel” in 1949, getting ready to go ashore to see patients in Port Manvers Run, north of Nain.

Dad was born in Labrador and, after naval service in World War II he followed in his parents’ footsteps. My Mother came to Labrador after nursing wounded servicemen in London during the war.

Her hospital suffered a direct hit from a flying bomb one night and Dad’s ship was torpedoed so travelling around by dogteam and hospital vessel for many years was fairly mundane for them—although there were lots of adventures.

How did your background and upbringing influence you?

At one time I thought I would follow in Dad’s footsteps but eventually the Grenfell Mission was absorbed into the provincial health service and that kind of life disappeared.

I guess my upbringing instilled in me a strong love of Labrador which I still feel, even though I don’t live there any more.

How do you convey your own roots in the work you do?

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Dave’s dad, Dr. Tony Paddon, with Kirkina Makko.

In terms of my recitations: they are all rooted in my life in Newfoundland and Labrador. I grew up listening to wonderful stories and funny anecdotes while spending time in trapper’s cabins.

Seems like everyone was a “character” in those days and they provided me with a wealth of material.

For example, Kirkina Mukko. She was an Inuit lady and her story is fascinating if harrowing.

As a young girl her legs froze when the fire in her house went out when her father went to try and find food. As a result he (the father) amputated both legs with an axe!

Did a good job I guess as grandfather was able to complete the “surgery” and Kirkina subsequently got married and raised a family.

 

What do you bring of particular interest to AC passengers aboard ship?

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Dave’s grandfather, (Dr. Harry Paddon) feeding his dogs.

As well as my recitations I always look forward to telling people about the people and culture of Labrador and Newfoundland.

When on the coast of Labrador I particularly like to tell people that dad and grandfather covered the same area by dogteam and then to fill in some of the history of my ancestors I find that passengers are genuinely interested.

Finally, it’s Christmas time. Any fond memories?

I have wonderful Christmas memories of the Inuit who lived in Northwest River. They would go around the town stopping at houses and singing carols in Inuktitut. What a wonderful sound!

Click here and scroll down to hear Dave Paddon’s recitation ‘The Christmas Turr’.

 

 

Picturesque Newfoundland

One passenger aboard our recent Newfoundland Circumnavigation had an amazing story to tell. Keen photographer John Chambers had earned his passage with a picture.

That’s right: John was the winner of the 2012 edition of Photolife‘s annual photo contest, “The World We Live In” in the Amateur category. You may have seen his extraordinary Arctic wolf portrait on the cover of the contest issue of the magazine – it’s sublime.

John was an enthusiastic traveller, leaping at every opportunity to grab great shots. He was kind enough to share some of his favourites with us here.

St. John's is a beautiful and fascinating city, one of North America's oldest.

St. John’s is a beautiful and fascinating city, one of North America’s oldest.

Rock formations south of St. John's near Bay Bulls are spectacular.

Rock formations south of St. John’s near Bay Bulls are spectacular.

Fogo Island was once considered one of the four corners of the Earth.

Fogo Island was once considered one of the four corners of the Earth.

The restored fish station at Battle Harbour is a national treasure.

The restored fish station at Battle Harbour is a national treasure.

Reconstructed Viking sod house, circa 1000 A.D.

Reconstructed Viking sod house, c. 1000 A.D. at L’Anse Aux Meadows.

Castle Island off the Labrador coast is famed for its columnar basalt.

Castle Island off the Labrador coast is famed for its columnar basalt.

Saddle Island, at Red Bay, once housed a Basque whaling station.

Saddle Island, at Red Bay, once housed a Basque whaling station.

Spruce stacked to dry in traditional fashion.

Spruce stacked to dry in traditional fashion in Red Bay, Labrador.

Gros Morne National Park is considered 'The Galapagos of Geology'

Gros Morne National Park is considered ‘The Galapagos of Geology’

The tiny outport of Francois is only accessible by boat.

The tiny outport of Francois is only accessible by boat.

The Sea Adventurer proudly flies the AC flag.

The Sea Adventurer proudly flies the AC flag.

Tiny St. Pierre preserves the culture and heritage of France.

Tiny St. Pierre preserves the culture and heritage of France.

The easternmost point in Canada.

The easternmost point in Canada, Cape Spear.

St. John's features one of the world's great ocean harbours.

St. John’s features one of the world’s great ocean harbours.

Enter this year’s edition of The World We Live In, sponsored by Adventure Canada, and you too could win one of many spectacular prizes.

Congratulations, Red Bay!

Photo: Alex Drainville / Flickr

Photo: Alex Drainville / Flickr

It’s a very important moment for one of our favourite regions in the world: Labrador has its first World Heritage Site.

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, located in Red Bay, Labrador, represents an important episode in Canadian history. For several decades in the 16th century, Basques from Spain and France used Red Bay during annual whaling hunts. Though today’s town site was built on top of the original site (obscuring some of the archeology), important artifacts have been identified, including parts of wharves, and the remains of vessels in the harbour.

Since 1978, one of Canada’s most comprehensive marine archeological endeavours has pieced together artifacts, and drawn a revealing picture of whaling life during the 1600s. A recovered chalupa, or small whaling craft, meticulously conserved, is among the items of interest at the Red Bay National Heritage Site Visitor Centre.

With the UNESCO announcement in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday morning, Red Bay became the third site in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to make the prestigious list. Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site have previously been named to UNESCO’s list, along with 16 other sites across Canada.

For Red Bay, a town of only 200 inhabitants, joining the global list is a matter of pride, prestige—and hopefully, some attention from travellers. We can certainly recommend a visit: Red Bay is an important destination for our Newfoundland and Labrador tours.

We’re glad the UNESCO decision highlights the importance of this fascinating, little-known part of the country, with its direct links to a little-known story from our collective past. Congratulations, Red Bay!

Visit Red Bay on our Newfoundland Circumnavigation 2013 and Newfoundland & Wild Labrador 2014 adventures.

Atwood and Gibson: for the love of birds

AtwoodGibson

Tonight, Friday June 21, members of the Adventure Canada team will have the privilege of joining celebrated authors Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson at BirdLife International‘s
90th Anniversary Gala Celebration Dinner in Ottawa.

Ms. Atwood and Mr. Gibson are co-chairs of the event, and appropriately so. Their shared passion for our feathered friends is manifest in their tireless work in aid of awareness and conservation of avian species.

Adventure Canada is proud to sponsor the gala with an auction donation of two berths aboard our Newfoundland and Wild Labrador sailing next spring. And we are absolutely delighted to announce that Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson will join the lucky winners, and the rest of our guests, aboard that same sailing.

As special guests of Adventure Canada, the two authors will undoubtedly regale their fellow cruise passengers with stories collected during their careers amid Canada’s literati. As dedicated birders, they’ll also enjoy the opportunity to observe numerous seabird species, at a peak time of year for viewing.

Perhaps most importantly, these two beloved Canadian literary figures will have the chance to share their passion and concern for the plight of birds worldwide with their fellow passengers. We are proud to join them in their efforts—for the love of birds!

25th anniversary brochure!

Click to scroll through the brochure online!

Click to scroll through the brochure online!

For months now, the team at Adventure Canada has been working on something our guests look forward to year after year: our new brochure.

Adventure Canada travellers love to dream, and we know they often thumb the pages of our brochures time and again as they plan the perfect adventure.

This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of our first tour, to the Arctic in 1988. So we went to extra effort to celebrate the milestone.

The trips we’re featuring for 2013-2014 are chosen from among our very best – including a new trip to Sable Island, and a return to Antarctica in 2014 for the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Endurance expedition. We think the look and feel of this beautiful document reflects the craft and care that went into planning these amazing trips.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new brochure, Canada and the North. If you’d like a copy for your coffee table or night stand, just let us know.

To view in full screen mode, click on the expand icon (a small square inside a larger square.)

Lost in conversation in Newfoundland

Nobody turns idioms, into assets, like the people of Newfoundland.

This charming video is a case in point.

Playing on the idea that mainlanders sometimes have trouble understanding the island’s many accents and dialects, it provides a quaint introduction one of Newfoundland’s great natural resources: its people.

Great icebreaker!

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Visit Newfoundland and Labrador this season with these exciting trips:
Greenland and Wild Labrador
Sept. 5 – Sept. 18, 2013
Newfoundland Circumnavigation

Sept. 18 – Sept. 27, 2013