Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bears Go East: Newfoundland Ferry

The following events happened on July 7, 2013
I, along with my family, are on an epic road trip east. Our ultimate goal is to visit the bonny island of Newfoundland, but we are visiting many points in between.

Today's adventures brought us over land and sea. Literally.  For today we take the ferry crossing from the mainland in North Sydney Nova Scotia, to Corner Brook Newfoundland (via Port Aux Basques).

It was a long, but relatively uneventful trip. Our ship was scheduled to sail at 9am, but we had to check in 2 hours ahead of time. Why this is I am not entirely sure - (it certainly wasn't for security as  the only security check was a cursory examination of my drivers license to ensure I was the person that booked the ticket), I suspect its parking planning and ship balancing.

The crossing itself took about 6 hours.  On board the ferry, which was named the Blue Puttees (for the Canadian regiment sent to fight in World War I), there are lots of amenities - restaurants, play areas, and observation decks.  We booked a cabin so the kids could nap.

Getting on the ferry was relatively easy - especially considering the fact that my wife was driving, so I just had to sit and observe. There are 4 parking decks.  According to a deck hand the ship can accomodate up to 500 cars. We were parked on deck 1, in the very bottom of the ship.

Aside from the plethora of windows, there are outside decks where one can get a view from the sides and back of the boat - there isn't a way I could find to get an outside view from the bow.  This is the port we left: North Sydney harbour.

The back of the ship, showing all the water churned up from the propellors.

During the crossing a lot of marine wildlife can be observed.  I saw a lot of sea birds, and several pods of dolphins, like these guys.

Since I had never been to Newfoundland before, my first order of business was to find a cache to mark the occaision.  The cache I picked had these characters painted up.  For scale, these are 7ft high cement balls.  This one seemed to be saying "welcome to Newfoundland, eh?"

From the ferry terminal at Port Aux Basques we still had a 2.5 hour drive to Corner Brook where we would be staying the night.  We arrived at 7pm local time, completely exhausted.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat, put the kids to bed, and collapsed.

Tomorrow we can start exploring Newfoundland.  I wonder what we'll see... stay tuned!