After two days crossing the Labrador Sea on Silversea’s Silver Endeavour we transitioned a bit from an expedition in Greenland to more of an expedition-ish cruise through the Canadian Maritimes.
Because this is both a transitional and repositioning expedition/cruise, our time in each port in the Canadian Maritimes is abbreviated because we have long distances to travel and only so much time, so we are “relegated” to only a few hours to experience each. As you know for me that is somewhat frustrating for two reasons: I like to more experience an area than look at it (local lunches, wandering and meeting local folks, multiple areas of exploration); and, I can get a bit frustrated when I am onboard and can’t get all my work done because of the Silversea internet blocking my access to the office computer. I know. I know. It’s a tough life.
Anyway, St. Anthony, Newfoundland Labrador was our first port and, of course, it was an actual port. We did have to anchor out however with this small town tucked in behind a rocky shore. The two tours offered sounded too touristic for me and one of them required 7.5 hours on a school bus…and that ain’t ever gunna happen! So I went for a leisurely four mile walk/hike to and around Fisherman’s Point. (The guest engagement with the tours seems much higher than the expedition, as I expected with this group.)
Stay up to date with the adventure here:
Silverseas Silver Endeavour Arctic Expedition – Part I
Silverseas Silver Endeavour Arctic Expedition – Part II
Silverseas Silver Endeavour Arctic Expedition – Part III
Silverseas Silver Endeavour Arctic Expedition – Part IV
Silverseas Silver Endeavour Arctic Expedition – Part V
The weather remained beautiful with bright sun, a light breeze, and temperatures that warmed to where it was – for me – t-shirt weather. (This isn’t the Northeast autumn weather I was expecting…but I most certainly am not complaining!)
I had to be back on the ship for a 12:30 p.m. departure as the ship was repositioning further north, to L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland, so I dutifully hopped on the zodiac in time. And then the weather changed! We headed into some heavy seas and strong winds making the ability to bring the guests on that longer tour back onboard impossible…so it was back to St. Anthony. And then the weather cleared. Again, no complaints!
The next day we, again with brilliant sun, arrived at Woody Point, Newfoundland. It was time to choose: Visit a cool geological area or take a nice hike up a mountain. While I really wanted to do both, that sadly was not an option. I chose the six-mile hike with 1,236 feet of elevation…and I am glad I did.
(I will write more on this later, but “Exercise Does Not Equal Expedition”. If your focus is on exercise, rather than being active and engaging the environment, think twice before booking an expedition. Fast is not better. Extreme for the sake of being extreme is not better.)
Of course, there were only a few of us and, to be fair, this was a somewhat challenging hike because it was 100% uphill only – until you turned around. The expedition leader did make that very clear, but also that if you decided to take it you could turn around anytime you wanted and return to the ship on your own. (No polar bears! Lol)
It was nice being back with the leaves changing; something I really don’t have much in Tahoe (other than the Aspen trees). I enjoyed watching some of the others who had never experienced fall colors in a while or even ever before and, to be sure, it made me re-appreciate them.
In retrospect, I would have rather not had the last day in Greenland and add that time to the Canadian Maritime portion of the cruise. I think it not only would be time better spent, but would give Silver Endeavour time to make more of an expedition out of this portion.
After lunch, I took a nap for an hour and then planned on heading out on deck for some wildlife watching. I took a look off my balcony and didn’t see anything, so I took another hour nap. And I repeated the process…this time even making inquiry of the expedition staff. No wildlife. So back for another nap, but there was only so much sleep I could handle, so it was movie time.
That evening we were blessed with a strikingly beautiful sunset. (You gotta be out on deck!)
I do enjoy the multiple dining venues on Silver Endeavour and that I can pretty walk into either The Grill or Il Terrazzino without making a prior reservation. I am not sure why The Grill is not as often visited by guests. It may be that while the ambiance for breakfast and lunch is wonderful with all that glass, but in the evenings now that it gets darker early, it is a bit stark. The cuisine is simple, well-prepared, and enjoyable. (I am sure when the ship is full walking in won’t be so simple…and I will find that out when I return to Silver Endeavour on November 21st for a Fly the Drake to Antarctica experience.)
Our morning arrival was in Iles-de—la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada, a small island in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Again, I wish I had more time here. My hike…I mean tour…was a slow wander along the ever-eroding sandstone cliffs while cutting through hay fields, not unlike the one I had on my little farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey, and then to a beach.
While the cliffs were striking, the rest was just a walk…and none of the hundreds of thousands of seals made an appearance. I know we are really out of season for most whales and seals, but gimme somethin’! Again, with long distances to cover it was immediately back on the zodiac to the ship.
I had a wonderful private dinner with Mike, the expedition leader. He is quirky, charming, very knowledgeable – truly local to these areas, and tuned into the guests. We discussed many things about the Silversea expedition product, the team on board and overall, and more. As I have said many times, the expedition team matters more than the ship or the itinerary. Silversea gets it and makes sure the team has experience, talent, charm, and the ability to share their knowledge with the guests in a way that is enjoyable and worthwhile…even the historian. Bravo!
That said, there is a Silversea invited lecturer who is just plain terrible. His resume is wonderful, but he is an arrogant prig who doesn’t interact much and I think covers his actual lack of knowledge with a bad attitude and nose-in-the-air affect. I tried. He didn’t. Not with me or anyone else that I could see. And his talks were blah, blah, blah. (I gotta call it like I see it!)
The next day was Sable Island, Halifax, Canada. I had been really looking forward to this day as there are about 500 wild horses and lots of grey seals that are supposed to be quite easy to see and will come close to you. However, after an excellent presentation by two Canadian Park Rangers that are stationed on the island – they sailed with us for a couple of days – we were warned at the nightly Recap and Briefing that landing was going to be difficult, if not impossible. Be ready to get wet wearing full expedition gear. I kinda knew that we wouldn’t be landing, but ya never know. I had made landings at Jan Mayen and Bailey’s Head, two locations – one in each polar region – that are near impossible to make, so I kept a bit of optimism.
We arrived to yet more sunny skies (amazing) but the winds were up and the swell was more than what we were told were within limits. But regardless, I headed out on deck to see what I could see. (Frustratingly, not many other guests were out there. Huh?) And, although in the distance what I saw was a beautiful sand island with wild horses and seals on the beach. Granted I have a pretty good telephoto lens so that helped and I did share it with a few others., but it clearly is not the same as truly being there.
I took some time to just watch the horses; not tick off I got a photo of them. After about an hour of watching them and the expedition team sending out two zodiacs to see if maybe, possibly, a landing could be made. Unfortunately, the landing was not to be, but aside from watching the horses come and go, I fondly looked at the sand and seagrass and thought back to my younger days hanging out on Sandy Hook, New Jersey with its similar kinda feel. No landing, but a good part of the day.
Time flew and it was already lunchtime. I headed to The Grill and there was a Caviar and Seafood Buffet set up. It was all self-serve…including the caviar, which didn’t seem to be a guest favorite. Better for me!
I settled in with a nice portion of good, but not amazing, caviar – as expected – and asked for some potato chips. This was the first time I saw the waitstaff baffled. Yes, caviar and potato chips! Yum!!
The afternoon turned into a bit of Magic! I was out on Deck 6 forward (my favorite place to be on Wildlife Watch) with – again – just a few guests and some of the expedition team. While we saw the blows of some humpbacks in the distance, it was two visits by some common dolphins that made me happy and gave some excitement to the day.
Some came over to the bow of Silver Endeavour to play and – leaning over the bow – I was able to hear them whistling and get a great photo…without losing my phone!
This has been a long expedition/cruise, but our final port was now upon us: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. While most of this small town had already closed up for the winter, Silversea arranged a few “tours”. I chose the Lobster Boil.
To be honest, having grown up on lobster being less expensive than going to McDonald’s I wasn’t very optimistic about the experience, but I do admit when I am wrong…and I was.
I hopped off the first zodiac and followed the signs to the restaurant. With a very warm greeting I was given a nice table outside in the corner of the deck with a bit of a view. After a salad and bread, came perfectly prepared super fresh and sweet mussels, followed by a perfectly prepared lobster. Yum!
However, as I was sucking the meat out of the lobster’s legs (something most novices don’t do), one of my front teeth came loose! Fortunately? I had a root canal on that tooth years ago, so no pain…but hoping that tooth would hang on and reset itself became my focus.
I had arranged to meet one of the staff to have a second lunch (you know me!) but unfortunately couldn’t risk it. However, it gave one of the guests the perfect opportunity to tease me about my ordeal. (Better to laugh than cry!)
Fortunately, I could slip some more mussels and a little bit of lobster row in….carefully, very carefully.
There was a nice Captain’s Reception in the Explorer Lounge. The highlight was the bartender Michelle, a petite, demure, woman who slipped out from the back of the crowd to sing an operatic piece that brought everyone to tears…including some of the crew. What a joyous surprise.
Our last day was a sea day with a twist: A passage through the Cape Cod Canal. What a way to end this truly wonderful expedition/cruise on our way to our final destination New York City.
Next up: Reflections.