July 2008 - Mark Stephens and Kate Hartland


Over the winter, Mark and I hatched a plan to travel to the north coast of Newfoundland to seakayak in Notre Dame Bay. We had never been there, nor did we know anyone who had kayaked there. We found a few trip reports online, studied nautical charts, watched weather reports, and gathered what data we could to support our trip.


A few days before we left, Mark laminated his set of charts and indexed them. On July 3 we set out for Portland, Maine to visit with my friend Sascha and stay the night at his apartment. The next morning we took the Portland fast ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.


Our route took us from Yarmouth to Cape Breton by car, travelling the length of Nova Scotia. Eight hours of driving took us to the northern tip of NS by about 11:30 at night. We stayed the night at the Clansman Motel, then took another ferry to Newfoundland, landing at Port-aux-Basques. We saw the first whale of the trip as we entered the harbor. From there we drove about 6 hours north to Roberts Arm on the coast of Notre Dame Bay, again arriving late at night.


There were a lot of bugs at Cape Breton at night! We wondered how we would manage at our camps in Newfoundland....


Mark on the ferry to Newfoundland - loving vacation!

Entrance to Port-aux-Basques, our first look at Newfoundland. We heard it variously pronounced Newf-LAND or Newfin-land.


We immediately saw why it is called "The Rock". Unlike the gentle landscape of Nova Scotia, NL is rugged, rocky, austere.


We traveled for hours with vistas of mountains, lakes, sea and wildflowers around us.

Roberts Arm is home to Cressie, the monster of Crescent Lake. Note that Cressie comes complete with seats for riding, a fact that was duplicated on the sign!

On the third day of our travels we filled our water containers, checked the local weather report, and set out to find a put-in. The B&B owner, Evelyn, assured us that we would find any number of places to "push our boat off" and that no one would mind if we left the car on the shore. We found a good put-in and walked over to a man working nearby to ask permission to leave our car there. He answered us in the local Gaelic-flavored brogue, "Sure, m'love, park wherever ye like. It'll be no trouble to me, m'love. And aren't ye brave to be going out in those boats!" He introduced himself as Freeman, and gave us his phone number to call if we found ourselves in trouble, said he'd come out and get us. We thanked him heartily and began packing our boats.

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