Terry, Doug & Roxie's Canadian Maritime Trip 2013 travel blog

Polar Bear

Humpback Whale




We drove 70 miles to St. Anthony, Newfoundland which is located on the northern most point of Newfoundland. St. Anthony is known as the "Iceberg Capitol of the World".

After we got set up at the campground, we car pooled into St. Anthony. The first place we went was the Town Hall where the Mayor came in special on a Saturday to tell us about the town and give us some history. There are polar bears that ride the icebergs down the ocean from Greenland, and then swim into shore. They have web feet so they can swim over 100 miles without resting. Adult male polar bears stand 8 to 11 feet tall and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. They can run up to 35 MPH. They can smell food, depending the wind direction, up to 10-30 miles away. Their main food source is Ringed Seals. They are very vicious and kill and destroy things for really no reason, leaving their kill without eating it. A few years back, one came to town and was threatening some townspeople. It was shot with a tranquilizer gun with the hope of relocating him some place else. He ended up dying, so they had him stuffed. Now this 9 foot tall polar bear is in the town hall in a glassed-in case.

Our next stop was the Grenfell Information Center. Wilfred Grenfell was a doctor/missionary who came from England in 1892 and changed the life of the people all along the northern peninsula and in southern Labrador. He came to investigate the conditions in the Labrador fishery. He devoted his life practicing medicine, building hospitals and establishing schools and orphanages on the coast that was ice blocked and inaccessible for many months of the year. After we toured the interesting information center, we went across the street and saw one of the hospitals he built and walked through his home and museum.

For our last adventure of the day, nine of us from the caravan went on the Northland Discovery Iceberg, Whale and Seabird Boat Tour. We dressed warmly to go out on this 3 hour boat tour. We hadn't gone very far, when we saw our first humpback whales. The boat turned around and followed them almost all the way back to the harbor where we started. The whales were enormous. The boat we were in weighted about 20 ton and we were told the whales we were seeing probably weighed close to 30 ton, and were probably 45 to 50 feet long. Continuing our ride to see the glaciers, we passed the Fox Point Lighthouse and out into the open waters. As we got out into the open waters the sea became rougher. There were holes along the deck of the boat that allowed the water to drain off the deck. So as we would hit a large wave, the water would come through these holes and wash across the deck and go out the holes on the opposite side. We got our feet wet with 35 degree water temperature. After a while our toes went numb but it was all worth it when we saw the icebergs the boat was taking us to. As we got closer, we notices that one of the icebergs had a large brown strip which the guide said was dirt from the glacier it had broke off of. The icebergs were layers of shimmering ice and the beautiful blue reflection from the water looked spectacular. One of the crew fished a piece of the ice out of the water so we could taste the purest water on earth, Iceberg Ice. By far it was the most beautiful iceberg we have seen so far. It towered above our boat and just to think this iceberg started in Greenland, is over 50,000 years old and will be completely gone in two months because of the "warmer" water it is now in. On our way back, one of the crew on the boat told about the different whales that come to this location, about the icebergs, and the polar bears. Then we came to a section of the mainland and he told us about some of the birds we saw and their habitat and flight plans. He explained to us about the fishing industry of crab and shrimp in St. Anthony.

After we got back on shore, back to camp and got our feet warm, we were really tired. We had a long, event packed day but would not have wanted to miss it for the world. Roxie was very glad to see us. I think mainly because it was past her dinner hour but after she was fed, she soon forgave us and wanted to play.

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