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DatesDates
2015
August 27 - September 5
Southern Labrador AdventureSouthern Labrador Adventure
Join North America's Only Atlantic Orca ExpeditionJoin North America's Only Atlantic Orca Expedition
We explore the lighthouses and headlands of southern Labrador

This gentle expedition was recognized as one of the world’s best adventure in 2009 by National Geographic.  The rich Labrador coastline is home to orcas. Join Wildland Tours for a photographic and historic expedition through northern Newfoundland and southern Labrador. Relive the arctic history of Battle Harbour, Labrador. Contribute to our efforts at studying and cataloguing the region’s humpbacks, orcas, and other whales. Travel through time viewing fossils, remnants of the earliest life on earth, and some of the new world’s earliest archaeological sites. The area is incredibly rich with wildlife but is one of North America’s least studied marine areas. Enjoy comfortable nights, wild days, and some of our planet’s most dramatic landscapes as we count humpbacks and continue to pioneer the study of eastern North America’s orcas.

Moose in Gros Morne - we plan to help you get your own memorable moose photos!
11 welcome and orientationwelcome and orientation

     Arrive Deer Lake, Newfoundland (YDF). We meet you at the airport and we provide an overview of the adventure while you travel the dramatic route to Gros Morne for the evening.
Meals: Dinner

Gros Morne
The cameras are out along the Labrador Coast
22 journey to Labradorjourney to Labrador

Journey to L’Anse au Clair, Labrador with a stop at Port aux Choix, Newfoundland to look at ancient orca carvings. The ferry to Labrador is famous for pelagic seabird watching. Whales and seals are also frequent highlights on this 90-minute crossing.

Meals Breakfast, lunch, Welcoming dinner

L’Anse au Clair
One community near Battle Harbour is Cape Charles
33 Red Bay & Arctic outpost, Battle HarbourRed Bay & Arctic outpost, Battle Harbour

If time allows, we visit the 1540s World Whaling Capital, Red Bay, where we learn the story of the bowhead and right whales who once called these productive waters home. Fifty years after Columbus there were thousands of Basques hunting whales off this coast. Legend has it that Basque captains wrote Columbus complaining that he had revealed their secret (of North America’s existence) to the world. The new world’s earliest documents are associated with the epic voyages together with the lives and ships that were lost during this early oil boom.  In 2013 Red Bay, Labrador’s significance in world history was recognized by UNESCO who declared this 16th century world whaling capital to be a World Heritage Site.
 
Today’s travel route showcases the region’s dramatic salmon rivers and provides beautiful photographic opportunities. These same rivers may serve to make this coast especially attractive to orcas - and we have documented what appears to be “salmon fishing” behaviour among orcas here in the past.  We travel through old growth Labrador forest along the new Labrador Highway to Mary’s Harbour where we meet the Battle Harbour ferry. Watch for the black bears and other wildlife along the route and around Mary’s Harbour. Overnight in the beautifully restored, historic premises of Battle Harbour. From here Peary declared, “The Pole is ours.” Today the area has been restored to the glory it enjoyed when it was the Capital of Labrador. We use generators for electricity and enjoy comfortable rooms and the local food.

Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Battle Harbour
Family of orcas off the Labrador coast
44 orca adventures and coastal explorationsorca adventures and coastal explorations

Today features coastal boat trips searching for humpbacks, orcas, and other whales. We also explore Battle Harbour and the abandoned communities of the Labrador coast. This region is not well studied and we expect to gather some of the region’s first humpback tail photographs. Our hope is that we can continue our orca dorsal fin photography and perhaps use hydrophones to listen in on the underwater vocalizations of orcas and dolphins. We have a small catalogue of orcas we recognize and we will be attempting to broaden our knowledge of these individuals and their biology. The region’s dramatic coast and recently abandoned fishing communities contribute a poignant and unforgettable human adventure to the expedition experience. We enjoy the coast’s whales, abundant seabirds, and seals by day while soaking up the historic atmosphere of Battle Harbour by night. We review the story of Peary and Bartlett and their trip to the Pole. We also revisit the time the world came to Battle Harbour to hear the stories of the first successful journey to the Pole. Our time here is always an expedition highlight.

Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Battle Harbour
Orca side profile used in photo-id work
55 orca adventures and coastal explorationsorca adventures and coastal explorations

The south coast of Labrador is rich with seabirds, seals, and whales.  Today one of our stops will likely be Cape Charles - truly the most easterly point in North America.  While Cape Spear near St. John’s, Newfoundland promotes itself as the continent’s most easterly point, Newfoundland is an island.  One cannot walk from Cape Spear to British Columbia but one can make the journey starting at Cape Charles, the true eastern edge of North America.  We explore other coastal communities during our expedition boat trips searching for humpbacks, orcas, and other whales. We also take the time to explore Battle Harbour’s trails and history. Few people can truly claim to have stood on the absolute eastern edge of North America; however, all of the participants in our Southern Labrador Adventures (formerly called the Northern Whale Study Expedition) share this special priviledge and distinction.  
Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Battle Harbour
Orcas like to travel in close association with one another
66 Across the Straits to Northern NewfoundlandAcross the Straits to Northern Newfoundland

We call this vacation program an expedition because of the remote and exotic location of Battle Harbour which means that many modern conveniences like television and WiFi connections are absent.  The rich coast and landscape make this our most talked about vacation program but we do feel it more appropriate to call this a comfortable and “gentle expedition” rather than a traditional group tour.  The region’s dramatic coast and recently abandoned fishing communities contribute a poignant and unforgettable human adventure to the expedition experience. We enjoy the coast’s whales, abundant seabirds, and seals by day while soaking up the historic atmosphere of Battle Harbour by night. Guests always remember their time at Battle Harbour as one of their life’s highlights.  The atmosphere and setting are magical. Today we say farewell to Battle Harbour and the Labrador coast as we travel by two ferries back to the Island of Newfoundland. The ferry trip between mainland Labrador and the Island of Newfoundland provides prime whale and seabird watching opportunities for us again. This is the land of the Vikings and we ponder the region’s rich human history while looking for shorebirds, seabirds, and whales. 
Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner

St. Anthony
We always explore this Norse settlement - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
77 Viking trails and dolphin talesViking trails and dolphin tales

We enjoy the magic of the Labrador coast in the distance (across the rich Labrador Straits) as we explore the ancient Norse trading site at Vinland - occupied over ten centuries ago by Lief Erickson and his crew.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site at L’Anse aux Meadows tells this ancient seafaring story which incorporated an indepth but superstition-laden knowledge of the whales and wildlife of the north.  The sea with its rich variety of marine life is never far from our view except for a few areas of in-land forest famous for moose sightings.  We take a part day to explore the UNESCO site and coastal communities plus weather permitting we head to sea with our friends at Northland Discovery Tours.  We hope to encounter the same humpbacks and dolphins that - to date - have reliably come to this area year-after-year to feed on late summer herring.  The headland of St. Anthony is a famous whale watching lookout and today we expect to watch dolphins and whales from the land and by sea.   

Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner

St. Anthony
The exploits of 17th century whalers are part of southern Labrador experience
88 Lief Ericson's home and humpback tailsLief Ericson's home and humpback tails

Depending on the sea conditions and local reports, we will explore the dolphin and humpback-rich areas around St. Anthony and the Grey Islands on a local tour boat or zodiac. Every season several recognizable orcas show up, including individuals we know from past visits to the Battle Harbour region. Our study colleagues in the area also have resident humpbacks that they recognize and can tell us about. This is our last day for heading out in search of humpback tails and orca dorsal fins to photograph. We also take more time to explore the region’s subarctic history which features tales of the region’s first peoples and the interactions they had with the local whales and visiting polar bears.

Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner  

St. Anthony
Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the last strongholds for caribou
99 mountains, moose, and cariboumountains, moose, and caribou

The last day of our expedition will likely see more moose and caribou than whales as we leave northern Newfoundland for the charming Glynmill Inn in Corner Brook. Here we enjoy a sumptuous farewell supper.

Meals Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Corner Brook
Members of the world's largest humpback gathering provide wonderful photos
1010 whale songs and farewell whale songs and farewell

Depart from Deer Lake airport.

Meals Breakfast

NotesNotes

  • Included Accommodations in best available local hotels and inns; experienced naturalist guide; all meals; all admissions; ground and boat transportation, including as many whale watching excursions as possible in areas where we have previously seen significant numbers of whales; airport pick-up and drop-off. Expedition participants have the option of receiving educational and natural history lectures on Newfoundland and Labrador ecology and whale census methods.  Note that the itinerary depends upon two local ferry services and may be adjusted to suit their schedule or weather delays.

  • Not Included Transportation to and/or from Newfoundland

  • Other Our maximum group size is 12. Meals are a highlight and feature such Newfoundland and Labrador specialties as partridgeberry tarts and bakeapple pies. All of the accommodations are best available in the region, and feature good quality local dining and comfortable rooms with their own washroom facilities. Battle Harbour has several sets of washrooms but does not include facilities for each room. People with strict dietary requirements or medical concerns need to discuss their requirements well in advance of the expedition since southern Labrador is remote, and some services and products are not available. The boats used on our various marine excursions are Canada Coast Guard certified passenger vessels. The Labrador ferry is a larger vessel capable of carrying trucks and motor coaches. The Labrador ferry trip is considered one of the world’s premier pelagic seabird watching boat trips. The voyage also typically features whales, seals, and icebergs. Since 2004 every departure of this program has featured remarkable encounters with orcas. Typically we enjoy dozens of whales from six separate species. Check out our document entitled Orcas of the Western Atlantic or Dave Snow’s Atlantic Orcas book for more expedition background information.

  • Terms and Conditions*These are the per person prices based upon room occupancy. The 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.

  • Considering Travel Insurance? All of our excursions are guaranteed departures but many guests still purchase travel insurance in case something unexpected happens to their travel plans. Following is a link to a well known travel insurance provider: http://www.travelguard.ca/agentlink.asp?ta_arc=11152

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