Canada's East Coast: Fins and Fiddles
Colourful fishing ports, lively music, rich history and incredible wildlife - 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 the region's music and cuisine is celebrated across the world. Historically, this is one of the most fascinating places in North America.
Our exploration of Eastern Canada's Maritime region starts and ends in the historical town of Louisbourg, situated on Cape Breton Island. 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 and as we cruise towards the mouth of the St Lawrence River, we hope to see the great baleen whales such as the humpback, minke and blue whale - as well as grey and harp seals. These rich feeding grounds act as a magnet for wildlife.
A ship-based exploration allows us to visit places that are otherwise inaccessible or difficult to get to for land-based visitors, all achieved within a manageable time frame. Daily shore excursions with expert guides, a range of wonderful activities and an inspired dining menu make this an ideal way to experience this enchanting region of Canada.
• Visit remote fishing ports and local communities rich in culture and history • Enjoy an exciting range of activities, on shore and on water such as sea kayaking • Explore the local cuisine of the region including world famous lobster • Experience a 'touch of France' when visiting the islands of St Pierre and Miquelon
ON THIS TRIP
• Zodiac excursions • Onshore hiking options • Wildlife observation • Photographer-in-Residence • Sea kayaking program • Cycling excursions on shore • Stand Up Paddle Boarding • Educational presentations • Active Cruising & Wellness
IMPORTANT VOYAGE LOCATIONS
This trip commences in the historic port of Louisbourg (Cape Breton). Access is via Sydney (Nova Scotia). We recommend you arrive in either Sydney, or Louisbourg at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. Group transfers from the airport to the central Sydney location are included the day prior - and to Louisbourg the day of embarkation.
At the conclusion of the trip, we arrive back into Louisbourg in the morning and a group transfer is provided to hotels in Louisbourg, Sydney Airport and a central location in Sydney.
Day 1: Louisbourg, Nova Scotia Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where we board our expedition vessel, Akademik Ioffe. 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 board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh, local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse, into the North Atlantic - and onto the Grand Banks.
Day 2: Nova Scotia, Sable Island National Park 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. Sable Island forms one of Canada's newest national parks and we explore the long sand beaches.
Day 3: Nova Scotia > Bird Island / Englishtown 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. The Atlantic puffins and razorbills on Bird Island might call to us as we put the zodiacs down in the water, or perhaps heading into the community of Englishtown will be of interest. The Gaelic College in Cape Breton is a short bus ride away from the beach where we disembark. The region can be explored by sea kayak, stand up paddleboard, zodiac or bicycle "“ all alongside our expert guides and naturalists who will share their excitement for the destination along the way.
Day 4: Englishtown > Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec 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 plains and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, we will encounter a wide diversity of bird and sea life. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid-15th century, though it's thought indigenous Mi'kmaq had been visiting for centuries to hunt walruses. Quebecois and Acadian culture runs strongly through the towns and villages of the islands, through 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 is 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!
Day 5: Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine > Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island In September of 1864, representatives from the British Colonies in North America met in Charlottetown to discuss Confederation. On July 1st, 1867, the Dominion of Canada came into being. Today, we anchor just offshore Prince Edward Island near the town of North Rustico. From here we can split off in several directions. A tour into Charlottetown for those interested in a day in town is an option, or perhaps a visit to Green Gables, or spend a few hours at the island's famous Cavendish beach (with a mandatory sampling of Cows Ice Cream!) Another enticing option could be a leisurely bicycle ride along the Confederation Trail or the Coastal Drive. A round of golf on one of the islands celebrated golf courses, or a kayak paddle in Rustico Bay. You will be welcomed back to the ship for a dinner of fresh Atlantic seafood as we travel north to the Magdalen Islands.
Day 6: Prince Edward Island > Isle Bonaventure / Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec 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 Gaspe Peninsula. The outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of Northern Gannets make it a must-see location. 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 Perce 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.
Day 7: Gaspe Peninsula > Anticosti Island, Quebec At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River where the river water mixes with Arctic waters from the Strait of Belle Isle and the more temperate Atlantic waters, Anticosti Island is rich in marine wildlife. 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.
Day 8: Anticosti Island > Gros Morne National Park / Woody Point, Newfoundland 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 center. 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 spectacular experience! 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 shore of Bonne Bay in the sea kayaks provide yet another memorable activity.
Day 9: Woody Point > Francois, Newfoundland The community of Francois (pron. Fran-sway) on the south coast of Newfoundland - was settled in the late 1700s. Small boat fishers harvested a variety of species during the summer fishing season. Francois's rich fishing heritage also included the 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 anywhere 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.
Day 10: Francois, Newfoundland > Saint-Pierre et Miquelon 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 represent 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. As a part of France, the area has much in common with Europe, but also with its Canadian and American neighbours. There's an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, we cruise in the zodiacs to see these colorful birds. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of our voyage through Canada's spectacular Atlantic provinces.
Day 11: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon > Louisbourg 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.
• Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip in Canada's Atlantic provinces • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck • High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in-cabin tea, coffee, hot chocolate replenished daily • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers • Daily off-ship excursions by zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits • Educational presentations and talks by experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore • Resident photography guide available to assistall guests • Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management • An emergency trained medical physician onboardevery voyage • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, jacuzzi andfitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments) • Access to well stocked library full of reference books • An activity program that includes stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayaking and cycling options on shore • End of voyage video, photos and take home USB • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
Pricing (per person) $USD
02 Jul / 12 Akademik Ioffe
10 / 20 Jul RCGS Resolute
02 Jul / 12 Akademik Ioffe