May 28 - North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland & Labrador

Yet another early morning, I woke and dragged myself into a waiting taxi outside the motel. The smell coming from the taxi (or perhaps the driver) woke me up quickly enough though! Arriving at the terminal I more like dived out of the vehicle into the fresh air.

Once I collected my ticket that I had reserved I discovered that I was one of only 2 walk on passengers. When the cars and trucks had been loaded onto the ferry a few more passengers appeared on the various decks but the ferry was nowhere near full to its 1200 people capacity.

With 30 minutes before departure I headed into the café at the front of the ferry for some breakfast. My extra large cup of apple juice was not so large by the time I made it to a table. The stupid cup had a hole in it! I quickly at my breakfast and then headed up onto one of the outside decks to get a view of the ferry leaving port.

It took no time at all for the ship to leave the port area and head out into the widening waters and eventually there was no land to be seen.

The clam waters were quickly surrounded by thick fog so there was not much else to see. Despite a plethora of activities on the ship for the 6-7 hour crossing, my primary activity on board included sleeping.

When the bi-lingual voice came over the PA system announcing that the ferry would arrive in Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, in about 30 minutes I went up on deck to get a view. Holding on to the handrails for 10 minutes I desperately tried to stop myself being blown overboard. The even thicker fog made the view impossible but just as I walked to the starboard side of the ship to head below, the fog suddenly cleared and my first view of ‘The Rock’ was one of the most impressive sights so far.

Newfoundland’s unique mountain formation with its steep sides and flat tops occupied the horizon and was easy to see with the dark rock and white snow patches on the mountain sides. The town of Port Aux Basques sat perched along the rocks to the west of the ship as it came in and every view was something from a postcard. The wooden houses, the lighthouse on the rock, the fishing boats and the surrounding fog just a mile offshore.

The ferry kept up a steady speed as she sailed into the narrow harbour and it wasn’t long before the other foot passenger and I headed to the gangway. Exiting the ship was more like walking into a building site. The narrow metal staircase down the side of the ship was lined with about 20 workmen with hardhats on. Getting past with my backpack was not easy and knocking someone overboard would have not been the wisest idea.

When I got to the bottom of the stairs two rather interesting men stood there both with Marine Atlantic ferry uniforms on. One had a huge moustache that went down the side of his face to his jaw line and the other wore a hat stating “I’m a Newfie”. The moustache man started talking to me about something but I had not a single clue as to what he was saying. The Newfoundland accent is unusual to say the least and once he had finished I replied with “I have no idea what you said”. The words “bus to terminal” were easier to understand so I followed him to the bus, which dropped me off at the terminal building.

A guy standing behind the Marine Atlantic ticket desk was talking to a baggage handler about something. My plan was to ask one of them where the bus leaves from in the morning. After hearing the two talk and realising that I would have no idea what any answers to my questions would be I headed off out of the terminal.

Meandering through waiting ferry traffic, I crossed from the Marine Atlantic Terminal to the boardwalk that lead into the centre of town beside the water.

It might be impossible to get lost in Port Aux Basques with its dead end streets all leading off a single main street, but the main street never seems to end. After walking 4km through the winding street and up onto the hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I finally found the Bed and Breakfast I was to stay at.

I off loaded my things and headed straight back out to see the ferry leave port to return back to Nova Scotia. I carried on walking out down the main street until I reached the edge of the town and a place to eat.

By the time I headed the 6km back to the B&B the sun was getting low in the sky. When I arrived at the B&B I was greeted by the friendly owners for a second time that day and later in the evening, along with 3 of the other guests, we all feasted on home baked muffins and cake. You can’t beat that! We all sat and chatted for a bit but the bus was to go at 8am so I headed to bed.

Related Pages

Travel Guide - Getting Around in Canada

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