Co-ordinates: 49° 38 ‘ N, 054° 46’ W
It is evening after the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner. The Prince Albert II is full-speed ahead to St. John’s, Newfoundland. As I pack my gear for disembarkation, I am thinking back over today, my last day aboard.
Twillengate was the perfect “last day” stop. The Mayor, as Royal Canadian Mounty in full dress uniform, turned out to greet us as well as a three-piece band singing Newfoundland and sea-faring songs while accompanying themselves on concertina, electric piano, guitar and “ugly stick.” Many of the citizenry were on hand, on the docks and sitting on their seaside decks. There was fanfare, speeches, and some dancing as the Zodiacs drove in and guests boarded school buses for a tour.
Twillengate is another town hit hard economically by the closure of the cod fishery. It is the sight of a shrimp processing plant and tourism is an increasingly important part of the economy. Twillengate itself has about 3,200 souls scattered among many little “townships” on two islands joined by a bridge. The houses are white with trim yards, lawns, flowers, and numerous Canadian flags flapping in the breeze. All around are beautiful bays with craggy rocks and cliffs surrounded by forests of spruce and fir. As usual, we were blessed with clearing, sunny skies as our visited the Museum, Prime Berth (a private, eclectic fishing museum), and the picturesque lighthouse. At the lighthouse, we were treated to great views of Humpback Whales feeding in the waters around the rocky islets, which were covered with Herring and Greater-black Backed Gulls. A few intrepid expeditioners made it to the local winery where they were able to sample local berry wine specialties such as Red Crow and Funky Puffin.
Back onboard at the final recap led by the Expedition Team, I marveled at the myriad beautiful places we have explored the last 14 days, as well as the diversity of wildlife and geology we have seen including blue glaciers, swirling shores of gneiss, hundreds of thousands of Thick-billed murres, and of course 21 Polar Bears on Apatok Island. A bit later, I sat enthralled watching Camille’s photographic review of the trip set to music. I am looking forward to receiving my DVD copy as a memento of the trip. I will long remember this trip of exploration along the east and west coasts of Greenland, Northern wilds of Baffin Island and Labrador. Expedition voyaging is a wonderful way to see remote and beautiful parts of the world accompanied by fellow travelers from around the globe who are also drawn to explore and appreciate this world we love and to come home renewed and ready to protect her.