Expedition Journal

Newfoundland Circumnavigation

Jun. 12–Jun. 23, 2022

© Dennis Minty

Some of us enjoyed a peaceful hike to Stanleyville, full of bird songs, wildflowers, and moose droppings, while the rest of us trekked the scenic Trout River Pond trail and caught sight of a few curious snowshoe hares. 


Newfoundland Circumnavigation 1 2022 Expedition Journal Map
  • Day 1: St. John's, NL, Canada
  • Day 2: Wadham Islands
  • Day 3: Little Bay Islands
  • Day 4: St. Anthony and L’Anse aux Meadows
  • Day 5: Red Bay
  • Day 6: Woody Point and Gros Morne National Park
  • Day 7: Woody Point and Gros Morne National Park - Round 2!
  • Day 8: At Sea
  • Day 9: East Bay
  • Day 10: Miawpukek (Conne River)
  • Day 11: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, France
  • Day 12: St. John's, NL, Canada

Day 1 – Sunday, June 12

St. John's, NL, Canada

Coordinates: 47°56'N 52°69'W

Weather: A lovely, sunny day

And We're Off!

After attending our passenger briefing in the morning, we arrived at the St. John’s marine port to see the Ocean Endeavour waiting for us. Once on board, we quickly made our way to the outside decks to soak up the beautiful sunny day and take in a glimpse of St. John’s from a new angle.

St johns narrows sunset

© Jen Derbach

As we sailed through the Narrows, we had the most spectacular sunset and an amazing view of the strawberry moon!

Day 2 – Monday, June 13

Wadham Islands

Coordinates: 49°34’N 53°45’W

Weather: Bright and sunny

Good Morning, Newfoundland and Labrador!

After our first sleep on board, we awoke to a wake-up call from our expedition leader MJ Swan that included a song and harmonica tune from musician Tony Oxford. We then enjoyed a delicious breakfast, had our briefing for the day’s activities, and were equipped with our expedition jackets and boots.

Atlantic puffins wadham islands

© Jen Derbach

Half of us headed off on a Zodiac cruise around the Wadham Islands, while the rest of the group remained on board and enjoyed a presentation on the history of Newfoundland from author and historian, Kevin Major.

On the Zodiac cruise, we sailed around James and Offer Wadham Islands and were lucky enough to spot many different seabirds. We saw razorbills, black-legged kittiwakes, common eiders, and lots and lots of puffins!

After supper, we had a lovely musical evening with Jeff Pittman and were spoiled with another beautiful sunset and full moon sighting.

Day 3 – Tuesday, June 14

Little Bay Islands

Coordinates: 49°38'N 55°45'W

Weather: Clear blue skies, and warm sun

Casting in the Past

This morning we disembarked for an expedition landing on Little Bay Islands. Kevin spent the morning alongside Wynce Oxford, who had spent his whole life in Little Bay Islands until three years ago, when at age eighty-six, his community was resettled. Mr. Oxford answered a steady round of questions from the group, and as Kevin so eloquently said, “gave us a unique and personal look at the life of a fisherman in Little Bay Islands through the decades.” Many among the group were deeply touched to have met and shared in the stories of this kind and generous outport gentleman.

Little bay islands

© Jen Derbach

Once back on board, we had a lovely afternoon of learning. We had a presentation from naturalist, Paul Dean, on the geology of Newfoundland, heard from our host, Dennis Minty, on the natural history of Newfoundland, and listened to Tony talk (and sing) about L’Anse aux Meadows.

We ended the night off with a kitchen party led by the on board musicians, who got the crowd tapping their feet and singing along!

Day 4 – Wednesday, June 15

St. Anthony and L’Anse aux Meadows

Coordinates: 51°21'N 55°32'W

Weather: Cool, but not a cloud in the sky

Stepping Into Viking Archaeology

We woke up this morning with a full day ahead of us. We set out on the Zodiacs to St. Anthony (or “snan-tnee” as we came to learn it was pronounced). After a bus ride with some moose sightings on the way, we arrived at L’Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We walked along the archaeological site and learned fascinating facts from the Parks Canada interpreters along the way. At the end of the boardwalk trail, we ventured into the reconstructed Norse longhouse replica and heard from Viking re-enactors. This visit was certainly a highlight for many among the group!

Lanse aux meadows

© Jen Derbach

After a quick lunch on board, we took a spontaneous Zodiac cruise around a nearby iceberg. For many of us, this was our first encounter with an iceberg, and it was truly something special. From there, we made our way back to St. Anthony, explored the interpretation centre and home of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, a British medical missionary for Newfoundland and Labrador. We ended the day with almost everyone gathered out on deck for a beautiful sunset, sailing past multiple icebergs.

Day 5 – Thursday, June 16

Red Bay

Coordinates: 51°38'N 56°36'W

Weather: A very windy and sunny day

Whaling Around

Today we visited another UNESCO World Heritage Site—Red Bay, a renowned historical Basque whaling station. Half of the group disembarked on Saddle Island, where Parks Canada staff were waiting to give an interpretive archaeological tour where a large whale oil production site once stood.

Red bay basque whaling station

© Jen Derbach

Across from Saddle Island, some of the group trekked up the 689 steps of Tracy Hill for a stunning view of Red Bay, while the rest of us explored the village that has a population of less than 200. We visited the interpretation centre to see some artefacts from the sunken galleon San Juan, saw an eight-metre long chalupa, and set eyes on the skeleton of an Atlantic right whale.

Although, the forty knot winds kept us from heading back to Red Bay after lunch, the expedition team whipped together a wonderful afternoon of presentations for us. The night ended with a pleasing sunset among the waves and a very entertaining concert from Tony.

Day 6 – Friday, June 17

Woody Point and Gros Morne National Park

Coordinates: 49°29'N 57°54'W

Weather: Sunny and blue skies

A Beautiful Day For a Hike

With the ship anchored in Bonne Bay, we had a short sunny Zodiac ride to Woody Point in the heart of Gros Morne National Park. We picked up our locally made bagged lunches—many of us opting for the moose meat sandwich option—hopped on the buses, and set out for a morning of hiking.

Guests gros morne national park

© Jen Derbach

Those of us looking for a longer hike ventured out to Trout River and Eastern Point Trail and were met with gusty winds and scenic views. The rest of the group hiked towards the Tablelands and were accompanied by exceptional Parks Canada guides, who taught us all about this spectacular and unique exposed section of the Earth’s mantle.

We explored the discovery centre and the small town of Woody Point and then headed back to the ship. We were spoiled with delicious, fresh lobster for dinner and many of us snuck back for seconds and thirds.

After dinner, we gathered in the Nautilus Lounge to watch the film Hold Fast, based on the book by our very own expedition team member, Kevin Major.

Day 7 – Saturday, June 18

Woody Point and Gros Morne National Park - Round 2!

Coordinates: 49°29'N 57°54'W

Weather: A warm, overcast day with the occasional sunshine poking through

Double The Fun!

With the high winds coming in, it was decided that we would spend the night sheltered in Bonne Bay. This meant another day to explore Gros Morne National Park and many different morning activities to choose from. Yay! Some of us opted to wander the picturesque town of Woody Point, while others elected for a Zodiac cruise around the bay.

Guests in zodiac woody point

© Jen Derbach

The Zodiac cruisers spotted a bald eagle, a minke whale, and even some friendly pirates on a Zodiac who handed out hot chocolate. The rest of the group hit the trails. Some of us enjoyed a peaceful hike to Stanleyville, full of bird songs, wildflowers, and moose droppings, while the rest of us trekked the quaint Trout River Pond trail and caught sight of a few curious snowshoe hares.

Day 8 – Sunday, June 19

At Sea

Coordinates: Somewhere in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Weather: Wind, rain, and rolling seas

On the Water Among Friends

Today we spent the day at sea and although the ship was rocking from the rolling swells outside, we had a full day of fun activities indoors. We started our morning off with two very captivating talks about food. One from Bruce McAdams and Rebecca Gordon, our Scientists-in-Residence, and the other from our trip's Taste of Place Ambassador, Marsha Tulk. Paul topped off our morning with an informative discussion on glaciers and icebergs.

Newfoundland bluff

© Jen Derbach

Our afternoon started with a laugh as we played Newfoundland Bluff with some of the local expedition team members. Then we had a wonderful selection of workshops to choose from.

We finished off the day with a Taste of Place dish at supper and a lovely evening concert from Chris Scerri, Gerry Strong, and Jeff, which included a few special guest stars.

Day 9 – Monday, June 20

East Bay

Coordinates: 47°46'N 56°04'W

Weather: A very mauzy day

Newfoundland and Labrador 101

We started the morning with a session on Newfoundland crafts, writing, and music led by some of the very accomplished expedition team members, who happen to call Newfoundland home. Then we were welcomed at the door of the Polaris Restaurant with mimosas for a "Monday Funday" brunch!

East bay bay despoir cliffs

© Jen Derbach

After brunch, the group on board had a thought-provoking talk from Bill Swan on Adventure Canada’s Regenerative Travel Plan. The rest of the group explored the granite cliffs of the Bay d’Espoir on a Zodiac cruise and were lucky enough to spot a variety of wildlife. We saw harbour seals, mink, a bald eagle, a mother bear and her cubs, and even some unusual Vikings doling out delicious hot chocolate and Baileys.

Back on board, we had a lovely talk from naturalist, Jean Knowles, who charmed us with her melodious voice as she presented us with a yaffle of Newfoundland tunes. Finishing off the night, we were entertained by the scotch label contest and the very creative and hilarious entries. It was a tough competition, but luckily, we had a very high-tech clap-o-meter to decide the winner.

Day 10 – Tuesday, June 21

Miawpukek (Conne River)

Coordinates: 47°51'N 55°48'W

Weather: A foggy morning and a sunny afternoon

Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

We had an early start to the day with a cloudy morning Zodiac cruise. The group spotted a variety of birds including bald eagles, spotted sandpipers, common loons, various species of gulls and warblers, and an osprey.

Expedition team member and Inuit Cultural Educator, Randy Edmunds, offered an informative talk for National Indigenous Peoples Day and we were also very fortunate to have Saqamaw (Chief) Misel Joe from the Mi’kmaw community of Miawpukek join us on board to speak.

Miawpukek dancers conne river

© Jen Derbach

After this, we got the opportunity to visit the powwow grounds of the Miawpukek community and join in the National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. Watching the dancers in their stunning regalia, while listening to the drummers was truly something special. Throughout our time visiting Miawpukek, we also had the chance to try different kinds of food, purchase homemade crafts and arts, view an impressive birch bark canoe, and get to know some of the community members. This visit was truly a special experience that we're unlikely to ever forget.

Day 11 – Wednesday, June 22

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, France

Coordinates: 46°47’N 56°09’W

Weather: Soleil, soleil, et encore soleil!

Bonjour France!

Today we stepped off the ship into Saint-Pierre, France, and were immediately greeted with French accordion music on the pier. Most of the group joined bus tours led by locals who pointed out different highlights around Saint-Pierre, while others opted for a nature walk that ended with a wonderful view of this unique archipelago.

We wandered through the streets filled with colourful houses, visited the shops and market, along with picking up pastries, wine, and other delectable treats.

Sainte pierre france fishing storage huts

© Jen Derbach

Back on board, we had the disembarkation briefing and reluctantly began packing up our cabins. Most of us found a spot outside on deck to soak up the sun and were lucky enough to spot a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the Ocean Endeavour. We topped off this lovely day with a fantastic kitchen party that included a variety of appearances from several talented guests.

Day 12 – Thursday, June 23

St. John's, NL, Canada

Coordinates: 47°56'N 52°69'W

Weather: A beautiful sunny day

Hello and Goodbye

We said hello again to St. John’s as we sailed back through the beautiful Narrows, back to where we started at the St. John’s marine port. However, it was now time to say goodbye to our home for the past two weeks and to the new friends we made along the way.

St johns city view

© Dennis Minty

We disembarked the Ocean Endeavour full of fond memories and love for the people and places of this island. Perhaps it is not a goodbye, but rather a see you later.

About the Author

Keara Maynard

Keara Maynard

Client Services Representative

Keara studied Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph. During the summers and after graduation she lived in Lake Louise, Alberta. It was here that she got hooked on hiking and grew her love for the mountains, exploring a new peak almost every day. She returned home with a renewed passion for the outdoors and an ever-growing list of places to see and peaks to climb. It was this passion that led her to Adventure Canada.