Colourful fishing ports. Lively music. Rich history. 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 music and cuisine of the region is celebrated the world over. Historically, this is one of the most fascinating places in North America.
*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
Duration: 11 days
Embarks: Louisburg, Canada
Disembarks: Cape Breton, Canada
Please note this is a SAMPLE ITINERARY and subject to change. Reference the full trip notes for your chosen departure details. Find out more about the daily excursions of this expedition cruise to Atlantic Canada's most breathtaking areas. Whale watching, exciting activities such as cycling, hiking, stand up paddling, sea kayaking and zodiac excursions take you into this enchanted world of wildlife and cultural diversity.
DAY 1 / LOUISBOURG, NOVA SCOTIA
Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where we board our expedition vessel, 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 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 / SABLE ISLAND NATIONAL PARK – NOVA SCOTIA
Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometres 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 grey 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.
DAYS 3 / BIRD ISLAND AND INGONISH – NOVA SCOTIA
We return to Cape Breton and continue our exploration of this beautiful island by stopping in Ingonish. 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 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 / GREENWICH, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND (PEI)
This morning, we are anchored off Greenwich, 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 those looking to explore the natural beauty of PEI, a visit to the national park is in order. Look for the Greenwich dunes that became a part of the park in 1998 to protect the iconic area. The parabolic dunes are a rare occurrence in North America and offer a variety of bird species and uncommon marsh and woodland plants for visitors to discover. Additional activities include a deeper exploration of beaches surrounded by the famous red cliffs - try your hand at kayaking or simply take a long walk along the sand. 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.
DAY 5 / LES ILES-DE-LA-MADELEINE (THE MAGDALEN ISLANDS) – 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 Miíkmaqs 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 stunning and unique cruise in the Zodiacs or head to the beach to soak up some sun or build sand castles!
DAY 6 / ISLE BONAVENTURE (BONAVENTURE ISLAND) AND THE GASPÉ 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 Gaspé 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 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.
DAY 7 / 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 / GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK AND 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 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 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 / 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 operation of a whale factory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as an ‘out-port’, and accessible only byboat 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 / 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. A part of France, the area has much in common with Europe, but with influence from its Canadian and American neighbours. There's an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, we cruise in the Zodiacs to see these colourful birds. A highlight of our day will be an excursion to Ile-aux-Marins – first settled in 1604 and inhabited by a community of fishermen until the 1960s. We will partake in a guided tour of the historic settlement that will give us a glimpse into the past on the small fishing island.
DAY 11 / CAPE BRETON– NOVA SCOTIA
We sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 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.
YOUR EXPEDITION INCLUDES:
• The prices are per person expressed in US Dollars.
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