|Day 1||Sydney, Louisbourg, Nova Scotia||Embarkation|
|Day 2||Sable Island National Park||Grand Banks, migratory birds, beaches|
|Day 3||Baddeck, Nova Scotia||Venture to the heart of Cape Breton to the village of Baddeck|
|Day 4||Greenwich, Prince Edward Island||Charlottetown, Confederation Trail, Kayaking|
|Day 5||The Magdalen Islands||Fishing communities, whale watching, beaches|
|Day 6||Bonaventure Island||The Gaspe Peninsula, Perce Town, colony of Northern Gannets|
|Day 7||Anticosti Island||Marine wildlife, birdlife|
|Day 8||Gros Morne National Park||Woody Point, Tablelands, Trout River, Bonne Bay|
|Day 9||Francois||Francois Harbour|
|Day 10||Saint-Pierre Et Miquelon||French villages, Puffin Colony, Dinner with the captain|
|Day 11||Louisbourg||Disembark in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia|
The RCGS Resolute (formerly the Hanseatic) is a modern, ice-strengthened cruise ship accommodating up to 146 guests. Purpose built for polar waters in Rauma Finland the Resolute not only has the highest ice class rating (Lloyds 1AS) she also offers unmatched stability and superior speed to get you to your destination and out exploring. The RCGS Resolute combines first class accommodation and excellent cuisine, with a true expedition experience. Quite literally the best of both worlds. The ship has two separate lounge and bar areas which allow everyone to enjoy 180 degree views whilst sharing stories from your day exploring.
Our adventure begins in Sydney, Nova Scotia before transferring to the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where you will board your expedition vessel. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. Board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh, local lobster as you sail out past the lighthouse, into the North Atlantic – and onto the Grand Banks.
Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometers from the coast, Sable Island has a storied history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 ships falling victim to the treacherous currents and sandbars. Sporadically inhabited by sealers and shipwreck survivors, the island is now home to fewer than six year-round inhabitants, a herd of wild horses and one of the largest gray seal colonies in the world. It is an important stopover for numerous migratory bird species as they make their way to and from the High Arctic regions. Sable Island forms one of Canada’s newest national parks and we explore the long sand beaches.
Today you will venture to the heart of Cape Breton, a village in Victoria County called Baddeck. Situated on the northern shore of Bras d’Or Lake, Baddeck is considered by many to be the beginning and end of the Cabot Trail. The summer home of Alexander Graham Bell, which is now a National Historic Site, the village is bustling and vibrant, yet maintains its quaint appeal. Throughout the summer, Baddeck is known for lively street festivals, fireworks, Celtic music and food. Take your time to explore the village today, taking in the sites, smells and sounds of this picturesque point of interest.
This morning, anchor off Greenwich, Prince Edward Island. Today you have plenty of options and we split into several directions to explore this enchanting location. For the history buffs a visit to Charlottetown is a must. This is where the meeting took place to discuss Confederation among the British colonies in 1864. Three years later, the Dominion of Canada came into being. For those looking to explore the natural beauty of PEI, a visit to the national park is in order. Look for the Greenwich dunes that became a part of the park in 1998 to protect the iconic area. The parabolic dunes are a rare occurrence in North America and offer a variety of bird species and uncommon marsh and woodland plants for visitors to discover. Additional activities include a deeper exploration of beaches surrounded by the famous red cliffs – try your hand at kayaking or simply take a long walk along the sand. Arriving back to the ship after a busy day, enjoy a dinner of fresh Atlantic seafood as we navigate north towards the Magdalen Islands.
Sculpted out of sandstone, these islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy plains and sandstone shorelines sculpted by the elements. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture found in the islands, you will encounter a wide diversity of bird and sea life. Europeans first discovered the islands in the mid 15th century, though it’s thought indigenous Miíkmaqs had been visiting for centuries to hunt walruses. Quebecois and Acadian culture runs strongly through the towns and villages of the islands, through local cuisine, craft and language. The island’s gentle terrain is a cyclist’s paradise, while the sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding through sea arches and into sandstone sea caves is superb. Otherwise you might enjoy a whale-watching cruise in the zodiacs or head to the beach to soak up some sun or build sand castles!
At Bonaventure Island the anchor will be dropped near the town of Percé and you explore the island by zodiac. This location has a rich natural, historic, and geological heritage. Sculpted over time by the sea, the island is situated at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. The outstanding flora and fauna, including its famous colony of Northern gannets make it a must-see location. Almost 300 different species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure Island. An afternoon visit to the community of Percé will provide a window into the rich fishing culture of French-Canada. Zodiac cruising, sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are all activities that can be undertaken here, weather permitting.
At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River where the river water mixes with Arctic waters from the Strait of Belle Isle and the more temperate Atlantic waters, Anticosti Island is rich in marine wildlife. A hike along the beaches near the eastern end of the island is planned followed by a zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point. You may observe several species of shorebirds and seabirds as well as whales and seals, which are frequent visitors to the island’s waters. Bald eagles soaring along the shoreline, deer in the woods and whales just offshore are all common sights in this location.
Sailing into majestic Bonne Bay, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, the cliffs soar up out of the water and are covered in a green blanket of tuckamore forest – windswept spruce sculpted by the ocean breeze. At Woody Point you will be welcomed ashore by a delegation from the community before hiking up to the excellent interpretation centre. From there, various guided walks take you into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park – a spectacular experience! A boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, white-throated sparrows and perhaps even a moose could all be encountered as you explore the park. The twisting mountain road to Trout River makes for a challenging bike ride with your guides or a paddle along the shore of Bonne Bay in the sea kayaks provide yet another memorable activity.
The community of Francois (pron. Fran-sway) on the south coast of Newfoundland – was settled in the late 1700s. Small boat fishers harvested a variety of species during the summer fishing season. Francois’s rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as an ‘out-port’, and accessible only by boat or from the air by helicopter, Francois has a deep harbour which is navigable year-round. When entering Francois harbour, you are first greeted by one of the few remaining manned light stations anywhere on the coast of Newfoundland. Once past the light, the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord will astound you. This is a spectacular location and for many, a highlight of the trip.
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon are a small group of islands situated off the south coast of Newfoundland. They were first settled by the French in the early 17th century and today, the islands represent the sole remaining vestige of France’s once vast North American empire. Walking down the streets feels like taking a stroll through a provincial French town. As a part of France, the area has much in common with Europe, but also with its Canadian and American neighbours. There’s an excellent puffin colony here and, if weather permits, cruise in the zodiacs to see these colourful birds. Tonight enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain to mark the end of our voyage through Canada’s spectacular Atlantic provinces.
Sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, heading again for the historic port of Louisbourg. Disembark in the morning and, while some of the guests will head to the airport, many will add a few extra days in Cape Breton to enjoy one of the gems of Canada’s East Coast.