Day 1 — St. John’s, Canada
Embark Silver Cloud during the afternoon. Once all guests have embarked, you will attend a mandatory safety drill before we depart on our exciting Silversea Expedition – Voyage around the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This evening, you will be introduced to your Expedition Leaders and attend a mandatory Zodiac briefing.
Day 2 — L’Anse Aux Meadow, Newfoundland, Canada
During the morning enjoy a lecture about the Norse voyages from Greenland to Canada and the sleuthing behind the search for their landing sites while we head northward.
After lunch aboard Silver Cloud we will land like ancient Vikings albeit via Zodiac on the shores of L’Anse aux Meadows (“Jellyfish Bay”). After a short walk with our local guides, we encounter the ruins of an entire Viking village dating back to the year 1000. Norseman Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, established this colony in the New World some 500 years before the likes of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot. In 1978, this village was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of the L’Anse aux Meadows’ archaeological site remains natural and unspoilt. Three buildings have been reconstructed near the original site in order to provide visitors insight into the lifestyles of these hardy explorers.
Day 3 — Woody Point, Bonne Bay, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada
Via Zodiac, we go ashore for a morning of discovery at Gros Morne National Park, where we can actually witness the geological past of our planet. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both exceptional natural scenery and distinctive geological history, Gros Morne National Park provides some of our planet’s great geology lessons. This morning we will step on the earth’s mantle and experience the harsh landform – the Tablelands – that gave the park its World Heritage status. We also learn about the park and Newfoundland at Gros Morne’s Discovery Centre, the primary interpretation centre. Here you can learn more about Newfoundland’s geology, plant and animal life, marine story and human history.
We will continue to the start of the Tablelands Trail, where your guide will invite you to explore the landform’s unique biology and geology during a 30-minute exploration or you can accompany a guide along the 2½ mile round trip hike to the entrance of Winterhouse Brook Canyon.
We return to the Silver Cloud and sail for Havre St. Pierre in the afternoon.
Day 4 — Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec, Canada
Havre-Saint-Pierre is among the Mingan Islands that lie along the North Shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence on the eastern coast of Quebec. Today we will visit the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, which is devoted to protecting and preserving the ecological integrity of the unique “flowerpot” limestone monoliths. These impressive natural sculptures occur in a thousand and one shapes and sizes on this string of 40 islands. Together with our Expedition Team and local Canada Parks Rangers we hope to see Osprey, Eider Ducks, Atlantic Puffins and various other shore birds. Our onboard Botanist will lead woodland walks, describing the bogs, orchids, insectivorous plants and arctic-alpine flora. The beautiful coastal scenery, cliffs and lakes, will be a delight.
Day 5 — Bonaventure Island, Canada
Today we will visit Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park – home to the largest migratory bird refuge in North America. 223 different species of birds are known from Bonaventure Island and its colony of thousands of Northern Gannets is the most accessible and the largest in size in North America. Without a doubt, the high point of our visit will be the sight of 250,000 birds nesting on the island. The island also offers four hiking trails and a historic heritage trail that reflects Bonaventure Island’s prosperous past. Percé Rock is a massive limestone stack 90 metres wide and 88 metres at its highest. It contains millions of marine fossils from the Devonian period and its arch has a height of 15 metres. Cormorants, gulls and kittiwakes tend to rest on this 433 metres long rock.
For those not interested in a hike, we can offer a Zodiac cruise along the cliffs. From Bonaventure you will take a ferry across to Percé for a bus transfer to Anse-à-Beaufils. The port and old factory are a meeting point of the historic district of Percé. “La Vielle Usine de l’Anse-à-Beaufils” (the old factory) has been restored and now houses an art gallery, workshop-boutiques, a show hall, café and a terrace. We will visit the Historic General Store and art gallery before attending a “Lobster Fest”. A group of professional regional musicians will play and go around the tables providing entertainment while you feast on lobster, salads, desserts accompanied by tea, coffee, beer and wine.
Day 6 — Île de Madeleine Islands, Canada
Located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, just north of Prince Edward Island, the Magdalen Islands are a group of nine main islands and numerous islets. Magdalen Islanders, who are known for their generous nature, are intimately familiar with their fellow residents, the harp seals. During our visit we will learn about life on this small island beginning with a visit to the Fumoir d’antan smokehouse where we will enjoy a guided tour and tasting. We next visit the Fromagerie Pied de Vent cheese factory that produces artisan raw milk cheese. Crossing the Chemin des Montants, we will discover a small valley and a panoramic view of Havre-aux-Maisons. At the South Dune Beach we will walk underground through amazing red sandstone caves, sculpted naturally by the sea.
On the north side of the islands, we find Belle Anse with its steep red sandstone cliffs that show the effects of year after year of erosion. Upon arriving at La Côte, we will enjoy some time to browse the boutiques and chat with the local craftsmen and fishermen. Here at the interpretation centre we can also learn how about the raising of mussels and scallops in the lagoon. To conclude our excursion, we head to the Artisans du Sable for a whole new way to look at sand, and then visit the historical meeting place of La Grave that today offers an aquarium, museum of the sea and several boutiques.
Day 7 — Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada
With special permission, we land our Zodiacs directly at the Fortress of Louisbourg, the crown jewel of Canada’s national park service. In the early 1700s, the port of Louisbourg was established by the French, who made extensive fortifications and built long rows of drying racks for salted cod, which were exported as “klipfish”. The fortress was all but destroyed after several battles for control between the French and the British, with the British finally winning out. Today, mounds of grass-covered stone from original foundation walls have been painstakingly transformed to their former 18th-century splendour. The largest historical reconstruction in the nation’s history is now a Canadian National Historic Site.
Day 8 — Sable Island, Canada
Off the coast of Nova Scotia, Sable Island’s history is quite divers including shipwrecks, sealing and walrus hunting. This sandy gulf island has recently become a National Park and Sable Island’s wild horses are world-famous. Free to roam, they represent one of the world’s last wild equine populations. Along the island’s 42 km of beaches, dunes and bogs you’ll find a great variety of plants. Sable Island is mostly unoccupied by humans, with a winter population of 5, but the world’s largest colony of grey seals breeds here, as do the rare Roseate Tern and the endemic Ipswich Sparrow -still, the horses remain the island’s most charismatic residents. Protected as Canada’s 43rd National Park, government permissions pending, we will land with our Zodiacs and parks staff will lead island walking tours on Sable Island.
Day 9 — St. Pierre, St. Pierre and Michelon
Heading almost due northeast from Sable Island we leave Canada and reach France in less than 16 hours! With barely 6,000 inhabitants living on tiny St. Pierre (10 sq. mi) we are visiting one of the smallest French Overseas collectivities.
The inhabitants are predominantly descendants of Normans, Basque and Bretons -and the French spoken is closer to Metropolitan French than to Canadian French. Although Basque is not spoken any longer, the influence is still felt through sport and a Basque Festival.
We will go ashore to have a look at this European enclave. Interestingly, this small island has two museums in part dedicated to the Prohibition and the Musée Heritage is St. Pierre’s newest museum with a focus on medical artefacts from the 19th and 20th century. Another claim to fame is a guillotine, the only one ever used in North America. If you want to send any mail, the Post Office can easily be found, as the Post Office clock tower is shaped like a praying monk.
During the late afternoon we will continue on toward St. John’s. Our onboard Videographer will present his/her Voyage-DVD, a good opportunity to recall all the different impressions the St. Lawrence Gulf and St. Pierre had to offer.
Day 10 — St. John’s, Canada
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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