Home » Akademik Ioffe: Canada’s East Coast – Fins and Fiddles
Early Bird: Selected departures include a travel credit of US$500. Contact us today!
The islands of Canada’s Atlantic coast feature a rich and diverse culture, found in small fishing communities and remote out ports. The area is well known for its Celtic traditions, and its music and cuisine are celebrated the world over. Historically, this is one of the most fascinating places in North America. The region also offers a staggering abundance of wildlife, including prolific birdlife, numerous seal and whale species and we even encounter the fabled wild horses of Sable Island. Beaches and lagoons provide viewing opportunities for numerous shorebirds.
Duration: 11 Days
Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where we board our expedition vessel, the RCGS Resolute. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. We enjoy a dinner of fresh, local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse into the North Atlantic.
Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometers from the coast, Sable Island has a storied history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 ships falling victim to the treacherous currents and sandbars. Sporadically inhabited by sealers, shipwreck survivors and salvagers, the island is now home to fewer than six year-round inhabitants, a herd of wild horses and one of the largest gray seal colonies in the world. It is an important stopover for numerous migratory bird species as they make their way to and from the High Arctic regions.
We return to Cape Breton and continue our exploration of this beautiful island by stopping in Englishtown. We have a few options in this area. We encounter Atlantic puffins and razorbills on Bird Island where we explore by zodiac. The seaside community of Englishtown is also a fascinating location featuring numerous points of interest. The Gaelic College in Cape Breton is a short bus ride away from the beach where we disembark, and provides an interesting diversion. There are opportunities to launch the sea kayaks, enjoy a stand-up paddle board excursion in the placid waters, or a cruise in the zodiacs. On shore hiking and gentle cycle touring are other activities to enjoy.
This morning, we are anchored off Georgetown, Prince Edward Island. Today we have plenty of options and we split into several directions to explore this enchanting location. For the history buffs a visit to Charlottetown is a must. This is where the meeting took place to discuss Confederation among the British colonies in 1864. Three years later, the Dominion of Canada came into being.
For the activity seekers there is a great bike ride along the Confederation Trail to the town of Montague. Dunarave is one of the jewels of the golfing scene on Prince Edward Island, so a round of golf here is another great option. A paddle on the Montague River in the sea kayaks provides even more choice. Otherwise, enjoy a walking tour of Georgetown sampling the local mussels and friendly atmosphere. Arriving back to the ship after a busy day, we enjoy a dinner of fresh Atlantic seafood as we navigate north towards the Magdalen Islands.
Sculpted out of sandstone, these islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy meadows and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, we encounter a wide diversity of bird and sea life. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid 15th century, though it’s thought indigenous Miíkmaqs had been visiting for centuries to hunt walrus. Quebecois and Acadian culture features strongly in the local cuisine, craft and language. The island’s gentle terrain is a cyclist’s paradise, while the sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding through sea arches and into sandstone sea caves are superb. Otherwise you might enjoy a whale-watching cruise in the zodiacs or head to the beach to soak up some sun or build sand castles!
At Bonaventure Island we drop the anchor near the town of Percé and explore the island by zodiac. This location has a rich natural, historic, and geological heritage. Sculpted over time by the sea, the island is situated at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. The outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of Northern Gannets, make this location a highlight. Almost 300 different species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure Island. An afternoon visit to the community of Percé will provide a window into the rich fishing culture of French-Canada. Zodiac cruising, sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are all activities that can be undertaken here, weather permitting.
At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, where the river water mixes with Arctic waters and the more temperate Atlantic waters, lies Anticosti Island. We plan to hike along the beaches near the eastern end of the island followed by a zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point. We hope to observe several species of shorebirds and seabirds as well as whales and seals, which are frequent visitors to the island's waters. Bald eagles soaring along the shoreline, deer in the woods and whales just offshore are all common sights in this location.
Sailing into majestic Bonne Bay, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, the cliffs soar up out of the water and are covered in a green blanket of tuckamore forest – windswept spruce sculpted by the ocean breeze. At Woody Point we are welcomed ashore by a delegation from the community before hiking up to the excellent interpretation centre. From there, various guided walks take us into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park! A boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, white-throated sparrows and perhaps even a moose could all be encountered as we explore the park. The twisting mountain road to Trout River makes for a challenging bike ride with our guides or a paddle along the shores of Bonne Bay is another great option.
The community of Francois on the south coast of Newfoundland was settled in the late 1700s. Francois’s rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as an ‘out-port’, and accessible only by boat or from the air by helicopter, Francois has a deep harbour which is navigable year-round. When entering Francois harbour, we are first greeted by one of the few remaining manned light stations on the coast of Newfoundland. Once past the light, the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord amazes us. This is a spectacular location and for many, a highlight of the trip.
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon are a small group of islands situated off the south coast of Newfoundland. They were first settled by the French in the early 17th century and today, the islands are the sole remaining vestige of France’s once vast North American empire. Walking down the streets feels like taking a stroll through a provincial French town. There's an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, we cruise in the zodiacs to see these colourful birds. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of our voyage through Canada’s spectacular Atlantic provinces.
We sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, heading again for the historic port of Louisbourg. We will disembark in the morning and, while some of us will head to the airport, many will add a few extra days in Cape Breton to enjoy one of the gems of Canada’s East Coast.
|02 Jul 2019 - 12 Jul 2019||$5617 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Main Deck Triple Cabin||$5617 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Twin Semi-Private Cabin||$7180 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Twin Private Cabin||$9211 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Superior Cabin||$10461 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Shackleton Suite||$12180 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|One Ocean Suite||$14523 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
On deck 3, an upper and two lower beds (one of the lower beds can be converted to a sofa), shared facilities, washbasin, writing desk/chair, storage, two portholes (one openable), bathrobes
On deck 4, two lower berths (one which can convert to a sofa during the day), a writing desk, storage, wardrobes with internal shelving, semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins), one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes
On decks 4 and 5, two lower berths, a writing desk/chair, wardrobes with internal shelving, storage, private facilities, one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes
On deck 6, two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair, wardrobes with internal shelving, ample storage, private facilities, one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, vanity kit, bathrobes, upgraded bed linen and duvets.
On deck 4 and 5, 1 queen bed, double berth in separate sleeping quarters, a sofa in the main section (can be converted to a bed), a writing desk/chair, a comfortable armchair, fully stocked mini bar, iPad with polar literature, documentaries, movies and webmail access, private facilities, large openable windows.
On deck 5, a double berth in separate sleeping quarters, fully stocked mini bar, sofa ( can be converted to a single bed), large writing desk/chair, several armchairs, iPad with polar literature, documentaries, movies, private facilities, shower and bathtub, large openable windows.
*Expedition gear package
Included in the expedition, you will have free use of essential gears needed for the trip. This package includes quality waterproof/windproof jacket, bib-pants, insulated rubber boots, set of binoculars, trekking pole, and a waterproof backpack.