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Whales and puffins. Trinity and Bonavista. Sea and sky. Join us to experience the world’s largest gathering of humpback whales and a fabulous diversity of marine wildlife. Small groups and giant landscapes are featured together with the historic streets of old St. John’s, the New World’s first city. These departures highlight many of the natural and cultural wonders of eastern Newfoundland and are all guaranteed to go. While we can never promise whales, these dates include the prime whale watching season (100 per cent viewing success 1994-2015). Most years we see the largest numbers and varieties of whales between late June and early August. The seabirds are thinning out by late July but everybody should see murres, puffins, razorbilled auks, gannets, eagles, moose, caribou, and many other species of wildlife. Since 1993 (except 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2013) everybody saw icebergs on our June and July trips. We are anticipating great icebergs for 2016! Guests also get to enjoy eastern Newfoundland’s museums, lighthouses, trails, wildflowers, songbirds, flavours, and local folks. We use warm and welcoming local hotels but the genuine Newfoundlanders and Labradorians we introduce our guests to will also be among your vacation highlights.
We greet you at St. John’s airport and provide a short orientation excursion around the old city. Enjoy our hotel’s ocean view and prime downtown location. We gather in the early evening to greet our fellow travellers and to review the highlights of the upcoming holiday. Relax and get ready for the adventure.
Today begins with a boat voyage featuring whale watching, North America’s largest puffin colony, and tens of thousands of other seabirds. We like to start your holiday with a thrill as we travel to view members of the world’s largest summertime gathering of acrobatic humpback whales; and often we enjoy the company of other whale species including fin whales, minkes, and dolphins. Throughout the vacation - and on this voyage - we will be looking for more exotic seabirds like shearwaters, jaegers, fulmars, and thick billed murres among the throngs of seabirds on the ocean. The islands we will travel to are one of the planet’s largest seabird reserves — so tens of thousands of puffins are guaranteed. Expect an amazing and joyful morning. Next we savour a lunch featuring local flavors before visiting one of the New World’s earliest fishing villages.
Whales, members of the world’s most southerly caribou herd, a small puffin colony, a tern colony, and seals are usually seen as we circle the Avalon Wilderness Area — a 1,000 square kilometre park. Sometimes the whales are lunge feeding on a local beach — and when this is happening we make that marvellous spectacle and the small caribou herd the highlights of the day. We often get to enjoy lots of other wildlife including seabirds visiting from south of the equator. You will be enchanted by the gorgeous fishing villages and woodland wonders along the way as we travel to St. Brides for the night. Should southerly winds bring fog to this route, we will enjoy an alternative itinerary with coastal communities and wildlife watching as we travel to scenic St. Brides.
You will always remember your time with us at the continent’s third largest gannet colony. Roger Tory Peterson made this site the subject for chapter one of his early Wild America classic and since that time it has been widely recognized as one of our planet’s most dramatic marine wonders. Before this 20th century recognition by the world’s nature-loving community, our famous cape had been celebrated locally in myth and song for centuries. We travel there after breakfast because it is the wonderfully accessible breeding ground for tens of thousands of seabirds including the world’s most southerly thick-billed murres. We get great views of gannets, kittiwakes, and murres with their eggs and/or chicks. In season — usually mid-July — we sometimes enjoy some of the world’s finest land-based whale watching as the high seacliffs allow us to watch the whales cavort around their northern coastal feeding grounds. After lunch we explore Placentia, the first outpost of New France. We also show off our secret orchid patch and look for moose. The evening’s destination is the Trinity/Bonavista/Port Union area. Our route to the coast features a moose and black bear hunt (with cameras only). Some years we enjoy a 90 per cent or higher success rate at finding moose over the week, but bears are much more elusive. These hunts are always fun!
This morning we go to sea again to enjoy more of the ocean’s wonders as we look for bald eagles and watch for whales. In 2007, our company’s naturalists established that sperm whales are consistently found during the summer in a portion of Trinity Bay and we will look out for them and other whale species. Our afternoon will feature more of what makes this area so special — trails, moose, osprey, songbirds, dramatic vistas, orchids, shore-birds, and numerous small museums and interpretation centres. In some ways this is an afternoon where we can cater to your interests. Bird watching, icebergs, lighthouses, flower walks, beachcombing, sea kayaking, land-based whale watching, photographing the local architecture, and hands-on marine biology programs are all possibilities. Many guests simply enjoy exploring the beautiful and historic community of Trinity. Wander through town on your own or walk with our knowledgeable and fun guide.
Explore more of the historic Bonavista/Trinity region. Icebergs, giant chunks of 15,000 year old Greenland glaciers, and more whales usually add to the day’s photographic wonders. Call in at nearby coastal settlements to learn more about Newfoundland’s unique cultures and flavours before returning to St. John’s for the evening. Enjoy Friday and Saturday night out on the town in North America’s first city. Our leader will provide lots of suggestions about local theatre, entertainment, fine dining, and culture. Enjoy!
Travel to North America’s most easterly point, and further explore the trails, museums, and attractions of historic St. John’s. We also try to fit in another dramatic wildlife watching boat trip and look for more puffins and whales.
Included: Accommodations in fine quality local hotels; experienced naturalist host; all breakfasts and lunches; all admissions; ground and boat transportation; airport pick-up and drop-off. This is a comfortable vacation featuring the exclusive and informed hosting that goes with our smaller group sizes (maximum 18 guests per departure).
Not Included: Transportation to and/or from Newfoundland. You are on your own for evening meals and there are many delicious choices available.
Physical Requirements: You need to be able to enjoy an hour of slow-to-moderate paced walking over uneven trails and paths to fully participate in this vacation experience.
Other: Meals are a highlight and feature Newfoundland specialties such as bakeapple tarts and partridgeberry pies. For each tour the day of arrival is considered Day 1. For example, on trip 4, you arrive on June 26. We will meet you at the airport. The order of holiday events may be changed to accommodate the weather or other unavoidable circumstances.
Terms and Conditions: *These are the per person prices. 13 per cent Canada/Newfoundland Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is not included. Non Canadians receive a FCTIP tax credit on their invoice from us and thus actually pay only 6.5% HST.