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Newfoundland: Whales, Icebergs and Seabirds

At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to Newfoundland scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. Please keep in mind that EcoQuest offers a variety of trips to Newfoundland and the itinerary below is just one example. If you are interested in Newfoundland as a destination please contact us for further information.

Expedition Newfoundland

Whales, Icebergs and Seabirds

Natural History Trip: 10 – Day Itinerary


Day 1 – Thursday, June 26: Raleigh/Durham to Toronto to St. Johns, Newfoundland

Today our adventure begins as we depart from Raleigh/Durham International Airport bound for Toronto. Please plan to arrive at RDU no later than two hours prior to our scheduled departure time. Your tour leaders will meet you at RDU to help you get checked in. Once we arrive in Toronto we will transfer to our flight to St. Johns, Newfoundland. After clearing customs and immigration we will enjoy a short excursion around the beautiful port city of St. Johns before settling into the Quality Hotel Harborview. We will have dinner this evening before settling in for a night of much needed rest. (D)

Day 2 – Friday, June 27: Witless Bay Ecological Reserve

This morning, after breakfast, we will board our boat in scenic Bay of Bulls to begin our exploration of the wildlife riches and dramatic coastlines found in the northern maritime Province of Newfoundland. Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales may be spotted from our boat as we journey to see North America’s largest Puffin colony. Along with Puffins there will be literally hundreds of thousands of seabirds gathered here to breed. These will include Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Murres, and Razorbilled Auks among others. The sky can actually darken from the sheer numbers of birds. After lunch we will hike the LeManche Trail looking for Bay-breasted Warblers, Pine Grosbeaks, Three-toed Woodpeckers, Spruce Grouse and many other terrestrial birds. Tonight we will return to St. Johns to overnight in our hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Saturday, June 28: Avalon Wilderness Area

We will begin our day early with a visit to an archaeological site at one of the New World’s earliest fishing villages – the 1621 settlement established by Lord Baltimore before his son went on to settle Maryland. Five hundred years before Columbus set sail the Vikings landed in Newfoundland and we will review many of Newfoundland and Labrador’s historic firsts from the early days of New World exploration. This place had dozens of ships anchored in sheltered harbors 40 years before the Mayflower landed, so it is a land rich in history and blessed with numerous archaeological sites. We will circle the Avalon Wilderness Area, a 1,000 square kilometer park, looking for whales, members of the world’s most southerly Caribou herd, seabirds, Bald Eagles and seals. We will travel to the fishing community of St. Brides for the night and will overnight at Bird Island Resort. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Sunday, June 29: Avalon Peninsula

After an early breakfast we will begin exploring the Avalon Peninsula. This morning we will visit North America’s third largest Gannet colony and observe many other seabirds including Common and Thick-billed Murres. From our perch high on the sea cliffs we hope to see whales cavorting in the water below. After lunch we visit Placentia, the first outpost of New France. In the afternoon we will look for birds and examine some of the plants and berries important to Newfoundland’s ecology. We could also spot Moose if we’re lucky. This evening’s destination is Terra Nova National Park where tonight or tomorrow night we will go on a camera hunt for Moose and Black Bear. We will overnight at the Clode Sound Motel. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Monday, June 30: Trinity and Bonavista – History and Sperm Whales

The community of Trinity has historic roots tracing back to the 1500s while nearby Bonavista was first sighted by John Cabot in 1497. This region saw huge enterprises develop to supply codfish to the rest of the world and we will explore this history today as we travel throughout the area. We will also learn about the largest-brained animal on earth – the Sperm Whale – and have the opportunity to listen to their underwater clatter as we look for them between their 60-minute dives. Other whales and eagles should also be observed on our morning Zodiac trip before we travel to the near shore Puffin colonies of Bonavista. These colonies exist right in town and will give us a chance to discuss how animals live among us in an increasingly complex world. We will explore this historic region by land and sea before returning to Charlottetown, and the Clode Sound Motel, for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Tuesday, July 1: North Atlantic Boat Excursion and Twillingate

Today we will examine Newfoundland’s incredible marine ecology, as a morning-long boat trip takes us to see bald eagles while we take plankton tows and look at the tiny wonders of the ocean. We should also see plenty of massive icebergs; calved off the 15,000-year-old Greenland glaciers before floating southward. Whales will also be present and could include Orcas, Belugas, Humpbacks, Fins, Minkes, Pilot Whales, Harbor Porpoises and White-sided Dolphins. After our boat excursion we will head to Twillingate in the heart of what is known as “iceberg alley”. We will also make a birding stop on the way to Twillingate at Boyd’s Cove and review some of Newfoundland’s aboriginal history. We will overnight tonight at Harbor Lights B&B in Twillingate. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Wednesday, July 2: Twillingate

Today we will enjoy the Twillingate area as we visit Long Point Lighthouse, the Prime Berth Interpretation Center and some of the area’s trails and museums. At Long Point the small biological museum tells the story of the region’s whales and giant squid from the perspective of the local community. Prime Berth is an incredible place where we will hear about the regions fishing history from the perspective of the local community. We should see some icebergs today and their fascinating shapes and often blue-hued ice make them great photography subjects. We will overnight once again at our B&B in Twillingate. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Thursday, July 3: Salmonier Nature Park and St. Johns

Today we return to St. Johns stopping at Salmonier Nature Park in the afternoon. Here we will encounter animals from Newfoundland that are otherwise very difficult to observe in the wild like Lynx, Arctic Fox and Snowy Owls. The Park also serves as Newfoundland’s raptor rehabilitation center and is a great place to bird. We will overnight once again at the Quality Hotel Harborview in downtown St. Johns. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Friday, July 4: St. Johns

Today we will take in the sights of the oldest city in North America, St. Johns. We will come face to face with a giant squid and travel to the eastern most point in North America, Cape Spear. Cape Spear is the continents edge where the Atlantic meets North America for the first time, where the oldest lighthouse faces the sea and where people have watched the waves for 10,000 years. We will also go underground to learn about Newfoundland’s geology that features the planet’s oldest rocks, ancient volcanoes, fossils and gold rushes. We should also have a bit of free time to relax or shop for souvenirs. We will overnight at the Quality Hotel Harborview. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Saturday, July 5: Depart St. Johns for Toronto and home

After breakfast we will depart for the airport to catch our flight to Toronto where we will transfer to our departing flight for the US and home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.