Trip Log

Greenland & Wild Labrador

Sep. 18–Oct. 2, 2019

© Dennis Minty

And there we were. In the Torngats at last! The stark, majestic landscape emerged from the low cloud and rain and the tops of the hills had a dusting of new snow… We were not disappointed!

Map

Greenland and wild labrador 2019 trip log map
  • Day 1: Kangerlussuaq
  • Day 2: Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord
  • Day 3: Nuuk
  • Day 4: Nuuk
  • Day 5: The Briny Deep
  • Day 6: The Torngats
  • Day 7: Nachvak Fjord
  • Day 8: Eclipse Sound
  • Day 9: Kangidluasuk
  • Day 10: Hebron
  • Day 11: Nain
  • Day 12: Indian Harbour
  • Day 13: St. Anthony
  • Day 14: Terra Nova
  • Day 15: St. John’s

Day 1 – Wednesday, September 18

Kangerlussuaq

Coordinates: 66°57'W 50°57'N

Weather: Calm, partly cloudy, 2°C

North at Last!

We awoke early and gathered at the Sheraton for transportation to the airport and our trusty winged steeds. Everything went very smoothly, and we arrived at the north side of Pearson International to find two First Air Boeing 737-400s waiting for us.

Your Correspondent must ask for the reader’s indulgence for a moment. He is a retired airline pilot and became a bit weepy on beholding one of his old rides sitting on the tarmac not far away. Quickly putting thoughts of the engine start procedure out of his mind, YC concentrated on loading bags aboard the 737s, something he hadn’t had to do at that other company with the same initials.

Arctic fox

© Dennis Minty

In a model of efficiency, we were airborne with minimal delay. After a quick refueling stop in Iqaluit we made the short hop over to Kangerlussuaq. From the airport we made the twenty minute bus drive to the port and were lucky enough to spot two Arctic hares and one Arctic fox. Your Correspondent was soon in his happy place, a rubber boat with a sixty horsepower outboard. All passengers and crew quickly repaired on board the Ocean Endeavour, room keys were secured, and we settled in.

Northern lights greenland

© Dennis Minty

The first order of business was a lifeboat drill, and this was accomplished under mostly clear skies with no wind. Mr. Dennis Minty was less than impressed with the monotonous colour scheme of the life preservers but allowed as they would have to do. The drill was soon over and we steamed serenely down Sondre Stromfjord under a smattering of northern lights, a slight bump being felt as we crossed the Arctic Circle.

Day 2 – Thursday, September 19

Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord

Coordinates: 65°59'N 52°28'W

Weather: Calm and sunny, 5°C

The Glacier

We were awakened by the dulcet tones of Jason Edmunds and all hands convened for breakfast in the Polaris Restaurant. This was followed by an assembly in the Nautilus Lounge at which the members of the resource staff were introduced. Various ologists asserted the primacy of their various disciplines and expressed various degrees of disdain for all others. Some liberties were taken with the truth and YC was forced to remind them that when it came to that particular skill, they were definitely amateurs and that he would demonstrate this somewhere off the coast of Labrador.

Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord greenland

© Dennis Minty

There next followed what can only be described as a rubberbootaganza. (I think it’s in the scrabble dictionary. Everything else is.) All passengers were outfitted with boots in what was, apparently, record time. No one was there from the international governing body, however, so Laura Baer’s claim may not stand up.

Lynn Moorman gave a fascinating talk on glaciers in the Nautilus Lounge and this served us all well when we disembarked for a Zodiac tour of the Evighedsfjord glacier. Alas! They said the glacier was considerably reduced and YC was amazed to see how much it had retreated. He had first seen it in 2012 and scarcely recognized it. Climate change is at its most evident in a place like this.

Seals greenland

© Dennis Minty

It was still a beautiful setting and in absolutely calm conditions and under sunny skies we all enjoyed a nice excursion around the bay with some sunbathing seals for company. Back on board the Endeavour we gathered in the Nautilus Lounge where Andrew Bresnahan delivered an interesting talk titled “Mapping the Politics of Inuit Nunaat”.

Travellers in zodiac exploring Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord greenland

© Dennis Minty

At the evening recap we all got our first experience of how things change in the North and how important it is to be adaptable. Mother Nature was planning a gale of wind for the Davis Strait in the near future and while it was nothing the ship couldn’t handle it would have made for a miserable crossing. Better to hide out in Nuuk for a while and let things settle down. It seemed like a good idea to us! Captain Donael Soto and his crew appeared on the scene and the good Captain addressed us briefly. It was then off to supper and then a little music with Tyler Yarema to finish the evening as we steamed south toward Nuuk’s sheltering harbour.

Day 3 – Friday, September 20

Nuuk

Coordinates: 64°10'N 51°43'W

Weather: Tempestuous, 5°C

Windbound!

Red sky in morning! Indeed it was, as we steamed serenely into Nuuk’s harbour. It seemed hard to believe that we were in for a bit of a breeze, but oh we were.

Breakfast was being served as we tied up to the pier and this was followed by a fashion extravaganza featuring Yves Saint Dennis and his bevy of world-famous models. He looked nonchalant as he signed autographs and deflected compliments with a casual “it eez nuseeing rallee yew kneouw”. The latest Northern fashions from the runways of Resolute (gravel, 6500’ long) and Kangerlussuaq (asphalt, 9200’) were on display and massive orders were no doubt placed. Boat couture indeed!

Nuuk greenland

© Dennis Minty

Tina Kuitse gave an interesting talk on the changing nature of Greenlandic society, and we were visited by some locals. After this we mounted a small amphibious invasion of Nuuk proper and had a good look around just as the aforementioned typhoon started up in earnest. Winds soon reached forty to fifty knots and all but the over adventurous were glad to be “in here” as opposed to “out there”. Numerous muskox burgers and hot dogs were consumed, and your Correspondent tried his usual tactic at the meat market: standing around looking pathetic. This has worked on previous trips, but the local butchers are on to YC apparently. No treats were forthcoming. Sigh….

Nuuk greenland 2

© Dennis Minty

It can be safely assumed that most, if not all, passengers visited the excellent Nuuk museum as well as the cultural centre and the various eateries and coffee houses in this cosmopolitan capital. The food is great, and one wonders if the nearby muskox population beats a hasty retreat whenever the Ocean Endeavour shows up.

Nuuk greenland 1

© Dennis Minty

The shuttle bus ran continuously and there was much coming and going until 5:30 p.m. when Mark Mallory gave a great talk called “Birds of Greenland and Labrador”. After supper some of us watched a film in the Nautilus Lounge and at about 8:00 p.m. others mounted yet another foray into Nuuk where we enhanced greatly the revenue of Daddy’s Pub. You’re welcome Daddy. Your Correspondent, being of a responsible nature, was back on board the ship at a respectable hour. Others? Maybe not so much…

Day 4 – Saturday, September 21

Nuuk

Coordinates: 64°10'N 51°43'W

Weather: Less windy, 5°C

Nuuked Again

Saturday morning found us Nuuked again, for the morning at any rate. At breakfast Your Correspondent (well known as the epitome of sartorial splendour) was accosted by Yves St. Dennis and asked in a disapproving tone “is that what you’re wearing”? Not that he was becoming insufferable or anything but was it really necessary to insist that passenger groups now be called cyan, fuschia, meadow, blanc, and kumquat?? Zut alors!

Nuuk greenland 3

© Dennis Minty

More bus tours of Nuuk were available and numerous of us sallied forth while we waited for the wind to drop and allow us to head for Labrador. My fellow Labradorian Mike Massie gave a talk about his life and work as a craftsman. I have been familiar with Mike’s work for many years and the man always amazes me! Have a look at his teapots if you get a chance. Astounding! gave a great talk about marine mammals and increased YC’s knowledge base exponentially. Apparently male bowhead whales have one-tonne testicles, rendering the term “grow a pair” largely redundant in bowhead circles, one supposes.

Kayaks

© Dennis Minty

At around 3:00 p.m. we were all ready to depart for Labrador but Njord had different ideas. (He’s the Norse god of wind, I googled it). As our noble vessel manoeuvered away from the pier, Njord said “not so fast” and gently shoved us back to said pier. We would have to wait until he lost interest.

We finally got away at about 8:00 p.m. and began the trek across to Labrador. The trend was for abating sea conditions, so the delay was not entirely without benefit. There was no doubt, however, that the effects of the recent blow were still present and as we sailed westward the ship took on a “lively” demeanour, which was less than welcome to many of us.

Nuuk greenland 4

© Dennis Minty

After supper a timely diversion took place in the form of a game of “Adventurous Eh?” Think bingo combined with remote area bragging rights. There was some frantic running about as passengers looked for resource staff who had accomplished feats ranging from the commonplace to the very obscure. Your Correspondent has visited a neighbouring galaxy by snowmobile and was surprised that this wasn’t in one of the boxes. Winners were declared and everyone had a great time thinking about everything other than our increasing rate of pitch and roll.

Day 5 – Sunday, September 22

The Briny Deep

Coordinates: 58°40'N 60°12'W

Weather: Breezy, 7°C

Poseidon Was Kind

Anyone who says they have never been seasick is tempting fate. Your Correspondent would never say such a thing of course and is being slightly reckless even writing these two sentences. (At this point YC knocks on wood and can be accused of being superstitious. He is not. However, he has no wish to take chances.)

Numerous crew and passengers armed themselves with various apothecary preparations and upbeat attitudes and prepared for the worst. Poseidon was kind, however, and Jason and his Argonauts made good progress across the wine-dark sea.

Inuit fire keeping in the qulliq 2

© Dennis Minty

Onboard Cultural Educators Myna Ishuluak and Derrick Pottle tending to the qulliq during the expedition welcome.

After breakfast there was a warm Inuit welcome in the Nautilus Lounge. (It is doubtful whether there is a warmer welcome to be found anywhere on earth, in the opinion of Your humble Correspondent). Jeff Anderson then gave an excellent talk on how national parks come into being. It’s a slow process but the end result is worth it, and the area devoted to parks increases as time goes by. A great legacy for future generations. Yves Saint Dennis was on hand in his other role as a photography guru and his subject was “slow photography”. He is always informative and no doubt much was learned.

Lena Onalik and Andrew Bresnahan gave a talk on Inuit migration stories as we moved steadily westward and the seas, not overly animated anyway, steadily became calmer and quieter. This was much appreciated by all, and the collective Gravol-induced “fuzziness” was wearing off just in time for a series of afternoon workshops. Derrick carved, Heather Angnatok beaded, Lynn Moorman scavenged, Deanna Leonard spotted and Dylan White scoped. Something for everyone and it was a happy and informed ship that made its way across the frothy main.

At around 5:30 p.m. we convened in the Nautilus Lounge for mandatory bear and archaeology etiquette briefings. These could be summed up thus: do not pick up anything in the Torngats, especially bears, as they tend to get a bit cross about it.

Carolyn Mallory gave a great talk about the plants of Labrador and Your Correspondent finally realized that his youthful habit of labelling everything he wasn’t sure about as “poison” was not entirely accurate. Nowhere near, actually.

We sat down to supper with a building sense of excitement. Tomorrow the Torngats! In the opinion of Your Correspondent the most wonderful piece of real estate in this solar system. He should know, he’s been everywhere else on the 12.

Day 6 – Monday, September 23

The Torngats

Coordinates: 58°52'N 63°15'W

Weather: Windy, 2°C

Torngats at Last

And there we were. In the Torngats at last! The stark, majestic landscape emerged from the low cloud and rain and the tops of the hills had a dusting of new snow. Our customs officials were unable to fly up to meet us due to weather and we appealed to their sense of fairness. Would they grant us an electronic clearance? Seemed only fair as their absence was no fault of our own. Clearance was eventually granted but the winds were too high to permit a landing at St. John’s harbour anyway. So, we adapted and steamed quickly north to Ramah Bay and the site of the old Moravian Mission settlement. Conditions were much more favourable here and we took to the Zodiacs, eager for a walk on dry land after a forty-hour confinement on the Endeavour.

Ramah bay Torngat Mountains national park

© Dennis Minty

We were not disappointed! There was a riot of colours from the fall foliage and approximately two zillion photos were taken. Many people climbed up the hill behind the landing site and others explored the remains of the old settlement.

Then things got a little interesting.

Brown bear ramah bay Torngat Mountains national park

© Dennis Minty


A black bear (size large) appeared on the scene, causing a flurry of activity among our bear guards. We clustered and mustered and generally did just as we had been instructed in the briefing. Our bear seemed much more interested in the berry crop than any of us and at one point rubbed its back against a convenient rock. “Oooh that’s good” we could almost hear her or him say. The situation seemed stable and lots of good photos were taken. Our enjoyment was then doubled by the appearance of yet another bear! This one was farther away and at no time did any of us feel threatened. Your Correspondent found himself part of a group that was well placed for observation. The bear was perhaps 300 metres away with Derrick Pottle between it and us. Perfect! After some careful observation by the guards we were cleared to proceed down the hill as the hour was late and last Zodiac loomed. We were all well satisfied and well aware that, had the bears been present for our arrival, we could not have landed.

Ramah bay Torngat Mountains national park

© Dennis Minty

The day’s talks included Wayne Broomfield on the history of Basecamp, Jeff Anderson on the creation of Torngat Mountains National Park and Derrick Pottle on the Inuit lifestyle. There is no doubt that Adventure Canada passengers gain a thorough knowledge of Labrador on these trips and go home as unofficial ambassadors for The Big Land.

Day 7 – Tuesday, September 24

Nachvak Fjord

Coordinates: 59°03'N 63°53'W

Weather: Light winds, 7°C

Bears of Both Colours

Dawn found us steaming into Nachvak Fjord with the early morning sunrise framed by the soaring peaks behind us. Just amazing! Skies were clear and the previous night had offered some great aurora viewing.

Breakfast was a little more hurried than usual, but we didn’t mind—the reason being an 8:00 a.m. disembarkation at Townley Head, just opposite Tallek Arm. Under almost perfect conditions we took to the rubber boats for the short ride ashore.

Polar bear Nachvak Fjord

© Dennis Minty

The local bear population was cooperative, and all passengers were landed in short order. There were sod house remains to be seen as well as various animal tracks, including the elusive caribou. A wary eye was kept on the winds and occasional gusts swept down off the surrounding peaks, which soar to four and five thousand feet. We got a couple of good blasts but they were short lived and it looked like we would get the full four hours ashore. Not quite. Bears of both colours appeared and one large white one started to swim towards us from the opposite side of the fjord. It was decided to cut things short and take to the Zodiacs rather than risk a surprise. It had been a very good visit and we were well aware that another treat was in the offing.

Nachvak Fjord 1

© Dennis Minty

All aboard, we embarked on a leisurely cruise down Tallek Arm under sunny skies that were nicely adorned by lenticular clouds right out of a Lawren Harris painting. More bears were seen and then we all gathered on the bow for a group picture. Yves Saint Dennis requested that the captain turn the ship to port “un peu” and the captain obliged. There would have been heck to pay otherwise, one supposes. Photos done, we left Tallek Arm for the steam out the fjord and a chance to sample some country food. There was char, seal, caribou, and muktuk….and caribou. Yum!

Nachvak Fjord

© Dennis Minty

Many of us then gathered in the Nautilus Lounge for Dylan White’s excellent talk on Arctic predators. Your Correspondent is not sure that “psycho killer” is the correct Latin name for weasel but he gets the idea.

Randy Edmunds gave an interesting talk about the decline of the caribou, including the George River herd. In a very few years this particular herd has gone from about 800,000 down to 5,500—a very alarming situation. It can only be hoped that the survivors are at least benefiting from the lack of competition for food and they will come roaring back…sometime.

Day 8 – Wednesday, September 25

Eclipse Sound

Coordinates: 59°46'N 62°14'W

Weather: Calm winds, 11°C

Oily Kam

What a gorgeous day in such a gorgeous setting! Eclipse was our most northerly stop on the Canadian side and the weather was perfect! We hit double figures on the centigrade scale and for most of the day there was no wind. It was “oily kam” and if this term was not included in the bluff game it can also be spelt “oily calm”. It wasn’t long before they showed up and were duly spotted. They were of the bearded variety and as Mike Beedell can attest, at least one of them did indeed need a shave. It almost came aboard his Zodiac in its curiosity and Mike was quickly designated our official seal whisperer and can add this to his impressive list of credentials.

Seal Eclipse Sound

© Dennis Minty

Zodiac cruises dispatched and all proceeded up the nearby canyon at the end of which is a beautiful waterfall. As was the case last year, a local peregrine falcon observed our presence with an air of tolerance. Could it have been Perry? Perhaps.

While the cruises were ongoing some of us went ashore for hikes of varying length. Outer layers were shed in the glorious sunshine and at one point a pair of caribou were observed swimming in the distance. Mark Turner gave a very interesting talk on the Moravian presence in Labrador and we got a very well-informed look into the lives of these missionaries as well as their effect on the lives of the Inuit.

Travellers in zodiacs Eclipse Sound

© Dennis Minty

All hands returned to our floating gin palace for a sumptuous BBQ dinner in the near perfect conditions. After dinner more expeditions headed landward for some themed walks, photography with Dennis, botany with Carolyn, geology with Lynn, beachcombing with each other. The morning hikers had a turn at Zodiac cruises and another seal (same one?) frolicked just off the landing site.

There then followed a bit of entertainment for seals, lemmings, and any other wildlife that wanted to drop by. It was time for the famous polar dip and the number that were up for it was considerable. Your Correspondent was informed by a local lemming that they all vie for the best seats to watch this peculiar event. As soon as the first dipper jumps one of them says “Now you just watch, a whole bunch of them will go, they do it every year. No one knows why. Tsk”.

Eclipse Sound

All who went in came back out and the doctor was not required so it was a good day. The seal was left with something to ponder and the lemmings will be back for next year's edition.

The daily recap featured one of the remaining members of that famous group The Beedells with his classic song “Alouettovitchsky”, or something like that. The evening finished with a couple of classic “Land and Sea” episodes. It was a good day.

Day 9 – Thursday, September 26

Kangidluasuk

Coordinates: 58°14'N 62°32'W

Weather: Partly cloudy, rising winds, 7°C

Another Friendly Invasion

Morning found us steaming serenely southbound under a clear sky. Your Correspondent found himself on the top deck watching a strip of pink slowly take form and advance from the east as Sirius and Orion were setting to the southwest. Spectacular!

After breakfast a number of options were on offer as we neared the entrance to Saglek Bay. Beading, earring making, carving, water colour painting, and yoga were all observable and Dylan White and Ashley Hamilton gave a talk on clouds. It was also possible to watch The Last Days of Okak, a film about the devastation wrought by the Spanish Flu on that community in 1918. It is thought that the casualty rate in terms of percentage was higher in the northern Labrador communities than in any other region worldwide. Out of such adversity comes the human spirit at its most resilient, as exemplified by Kitora Boase, a survivor:

“…we were sad about it and yet we were not. There was nothing we could do about it. We just had to go on and be as happy as we could. I think we were all thankful that we were still alive.”

Kangidluasuk St Johns Harbour 1

© Dennis Minty

After dinner yet another friendly invasion took place as we all went ashore at Kangidluasuk, also known as St. John’s Harbour. This is the site of administration for Torngat Mountains National Park and it sees frequent visits from bears of various hues. Various hikes were dispatched and although a couple of bears were seen, none were close enough to cause any concern to our guards. The sharp-eyed Ephraim Merkuratsuk spotted three otters in a lake and Your Correspondent ate roughly a gallon of blackberries while accompanying the waterfall walkers. Apologies to the bears.

Kangidluasuk St Johns Harbour 1

© Dennis Minty

All hikers eventually returned, which is what Jason and Cedar prefer, and gathered on the beach for the return journey to our gallant ship. At this point a friendly grumpus (some call them minke whales) entertained us and some snaps were snapped. Afternoon tea was available and at 6:00 p.m. we gathered for the daily recap and a look at some Dennis Minty photos as well as some other items of interest.

After supper, those who were not too tired gathered in the Nautilus Lounge for a few alternative facts. They were by now getting used to a certain type of narrative and had put their skepticism aside. The truth is available to those who seek it!

Day 10 – Friday, September 27

Hebron

Coordinates: 58°12'N 62°36'W

Weather: Steady rain, calm wind, 7°C

An Emotional Event

After two years of missing Hebron due to high winds we finally made it in. It was a bit of a rainy day, but spirits were undampened. Our bear guards secured the site and most of us deployed ashore. By this time we were seasoned veterans of Zodiac operations. A visit to Hebron is an emotional event for some of our staff. The strength of Kitora Boase runs through them and it is a wonderful thing to spend time with them every fall on the Ocean Endeavour.

Back on board, a number of us packed hockey bags for the “Project North” event. Twenty-five full sets of equipment were earmarked for Nain and there will no doubt be a lot of happy youngsters in that town this winter. Thanks to all who helped. Mike Beedell gave a great presentation on some of his adventures in the Torngats. Your Correspondent is constantly amazed at what Mike gets up to. Nice life!

Hebron 1

© Dennis Minty

In the afternoon there was a demonstration of Inuit games featuring Jason and Ephraim in the Nautilus Lounge. Extreme stuff and our collective hamstring muscles were groaning in unison as we watched. Dennis shed further enlightenment on the world of photography and Your Correspondent was astounded to learn that modern cameras can take more than thirty-six photos! You still have to send out the film right? (Note, this attempt at humour will make no sense to anyone under fifty or so).

Bannock was made by Heather in the Polaris Restaurant and some of us may have over-indulged. Lena showed us how to sew sealskin flowers and Carolyn was at the water colours again. Three very talented ladies indeed!

Hebron 2

© Dennis Minty

Mark shed some light on the effects of climate change in the Arctic and Heather and Maria told us about the Canadian Rangers. This is one of the coolest organizations around (figuratively and literally). You can’t just say that you own territory. You have to live there, travel on it, and show the flag. Otherwise someone may eventually try and take it from you and the southerners amongst us need to be a little more aware of what the Rangers do and thank them for it. Google awaits, dear reader.

The evening concluded with a contest that featured Jeff, Mike, and Randy trying to outdo each other in the realms of falsification, deception, and fake news to an extent that would have brought admiration from some world leaders that come to mind. Host Yves Saint Dennis was unable to restrain their worst excesses and it fell to the other contestant to uphold truth and dignity as best he could.

Day 11 – Saturday, September 28

Nain

Coordinates: 58°12'N 62°36'W

Weather: Partly cloudy, light wind, 10°C

Wedding Bells!

Nain! Your Correspondent had been looking forward to this stop ever since the trip started. He won’t try to put into words what is so special about the place but boy oh boy, it gets him every time. And what could be more special than a wedding?

Steve and Marcia tied the knot at the Moravian church and a number of passengers and staff were in attendance. The brass band, inextricably associated with Nain for about 250 years, played some tunes under the mostly sunny skies that prevailed.

Nain project north donation

The hockey equipment was duly presented to the town and the all too brief visit came to an end. Cedar and Jason spent some time with family and their girls Charlotte and Islay were doted on by their grandmother.

Tom Paddon was first up for afternoon talks and gave an overview of the development of the Voisey’s Bay mine. Voisey’s set a standard for resource development in the North and perhaps it can be said that the days of southerners walking into remote areas and extracting resources are at an end. Either you do it in partnership with Indigenous groups who’ve been living there for centuries or you don’t do it.

Nain 1

Afternoon tea was served and then Randy Edmunds gave an informative talk titled “Newfoundland and Labrador Governance”. Randy served two terms in the provincial house of assembly and there is nothing easy about the job.

Next appeared a superhero previously unknown to Your Correspondent. She gave a very interesting talk about marine mammals and was completely unaffected by some nearby kryptonite which looked suspiciously like scones/cake/buns at the nearby afternoon tea setup. Your Correspondent was not as strong and filled his plate twice. Thanks Deanna. And thanks for organizing the climate change protest on the Nain wharf.

Supper was served and then Tyler Yarema entertained us in the Nautilus Lounge. The newlyweds presided over an amazing wedding cake from the ship’s galley. Another great day was done.

Day 12 – Sunday, September 29

Indian Harbour

Coordinates: 54°26'N 57°13'W

Weather: Rain, high winds, 6°C

The Stop That Wasn’t

Indian Harbour. The stop that wasn’t. Though not for lack of trying! The steam south featured a couple of talks on the development of health and educational services in Labrador, and passengers were well informed as we approached Indian Harbour.

The brothers Paddon did, in fact, get ashore briefly with the bear guards and felt grateful for that. Tom got to stand on the foundation of his grandparents’ house and no doubt felt much the same as Dave had two years previous. Both were soaked and slightly battered upon return to the Ocean Endeavour—calling off a passenger landing was the right thing to do.

Water color class

A number of presentations were put together to replace the landing and the Nautilus Lounge was full for most of them. Knitters and crocheters (there’s a word that doesn’t allow for mispronunciation) gathered in the Aurora Lounge to compare work as we steamed across Hamilton Inlet. We were at the southern end of Nunatsiavut territory and Derrick Pottle was keenly aware that his hometown was only about fifty miles to the west. Like Maria, Ephraim, and Heather who had left us in Nain, his mind was out on the land and thoughts of fall hunting loomed large.

Mike Beedell performed one of his signature pieces at the daily recap. Something about a whooping crane with whooping cough? An upper-body Macarena routine added to the charm and Mike can always be counted on for thought-provoking and previously unknown folk songs/dances. Bravo.

The results of our silent auction were announced, and the total raised for the Nain hockey team travel fund was in excess of $2,200. Thank you, generous passengers. Flying in the North is extremely expensive and the youngsters need all the help they can get.

Day 13 – Monday, September 30

St. Anthony

Coordinates: 51°21'N 55°33'W

Weather: Rain, high winds, 5°C

Stirred But Unshaken

A mauzy (remember that one?) sunrise found us steaming (for the record, Your Correspondent does, in fact, know that the Ocean Endeavour does not have steam propulsion) east of Cape Onion on a southerly heading. L’Anse aux Meadows was out. Too windy. It turned out to be fairly windy in St. Anthony Bight as well, but we nevertheless deployed the rubber flotilla and all passengers were conveyed to a wharf outside the Grenfell museum, stirred but unshaken.

L Anse aux Meadows 1

© Dennis Minty

From there a fleet of buses took us to L’Anse aux Meadows for a good look around. Apparently, Vikings very much enjoyed high winds and rough seas and a certain empathy was felt after our rough transit from the ship to the shore. We refrained from pillage, however, and Parks Canada was grateful.

After sizing everything up we re-boarded the buses and made our way back to St. Anthony. The winds had increased and this resulted in a sporty Zodiac ride out to the mother ship. Erik the Red would have no doubt loved being in command of a Zodiac and would have been a great resource staffer.

L Anse aux Meadows 2

All hands safely on board we convened a hasty recap and then adjourned for supper. It was then time for a costume party. The theme? Explorers, of course. Many passengers had contrived convincing get-ups and Your Correspondent was especially impressed by three voyageurs in a canoe. Various prizes were awarded, the top criterion being the size of the bribe paid to Yves Saint Dennis. The great man wagged a disapproving finger at Mike Beedell, whose tartan…. kilt? definitely clashed with his moose-bespectacled undergarments. Indeed, it was quite the rig out but certainly not de rigeur.

By now we were steaming rapidly away from “Snantny” and it was becoming increasingly apparent to many of us that the wonderful journey together was near an end. Sigh

Day 14 – Tuesday, October 1

Terra Nova

Coordinates: 48.34°N 53.56°W

Weather: Partly cloudy, 8°C

Slinging Around Terra Nova

Our last full day dawned with our noble vessel steaming south for Newman Sound in Terra Nova National Park. There was a bit of a sea on but Gravol was still working its magic and most of us turned out for breakfast and then Jeff Anderson’s talk on the creation of Terra Nova Park. Or was it Dave Paddon? Jeff was the story guy, right? Hmmm…oh well, there’s no doubt about which was telling the (most) truth, right?

Terra nova 1

© Dennis Minty

Due to the high winds, we had to anchor outside the sound and make our way in by Zodiac. It was a nice morning, and this served to wake everyone up. We were greeted by Parks Canada staff who entertained us and guided us on hikes around the park. Some of us preferred to slinge (might be in the Newfoundland dictionary) about at the interpretation centre and get digitally re-acclimated. Email and Facebook were lurking, and their dubious benefits tempted us like the Sirens tempted Odysseus.

It was a pleasant afternoon in the park and then we re-boarded our rubber chariots for the final Zodiac run of this grand adventure. Back on board the vessel we had a final recap and basked in the pleasure of each other’s company.

Day 15 – Wednesday, October 2

St. John’s

Coordinates: 47.34°N 52.41°W

Weather: Cloudy, 7°C

Arriving to St. John’s

“Arriving to St. John’s” is a fairly famous song in Newfoundland and Labrador and worth a listen if you get the chance.

This was it! We picked up our pilot and then proceeded through the famous Narrows with a gorgeous sunrise behind us. Breakfast was had and disembarkation went smoothly. The ship was a busy place as the crew readied it for the Newfoundland Circumnavigation expedition, a wonderful trip that Your Correspondent has done twice as a staffer and which he highly recommends. Some tearful goodbyes took place and in many cases it was a hopeful “See you on the next one”.

St Johns 1

© Dennis Minty

Your Correspondent has now done seven trips with Adventure Canada and he loved them all! He would be only too happy to see any readers on future editions. He would like to thank all passengers, the ship’s crew, and especially his fellow resource staffers. He is full of admiration for them all as well as for Jason and Cedar’s leadership.

It was some good wasn’t it?!

Your Correspondent would like to finish this journal with a poem written by an Inuk many years ago. I think perhaps we can all identify. See you next time.

About the Author

Dave Paddon

Dave Paddon

Storyteller

A retired airline pilot, Dave is a writer and performer of recitations and tall tales with an interest in Newfoundland & Labrador history.

Dave is knowledgeable about the geography and history of coastal Labrador from his years of bush flying in the area; he has a particular enthusiasm for the Torngat Mountains.