Friday, September 2, 2016

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 6: Red Bay, Labrador

We had to be up early this morning to catch an early excursion so the alarm went off at 6:20 which seemed way too early.  We got dressed, had our usual quick breakfast in the Neptune Lounge and then headed to the showroom to wait to be called for our excursion.  Red Bay is a tender port so that always slows things down, but this morning things went quickly and we were off the ship, into the tender and onto the bus before 8:00 AM.

We cruise into Red Bay in the early morning.
Our excursion today was a coastal drive through Labrador that would end at the Quebec border.  The weather was cloudy, but there were patches of blue sky, although it was pretty cold, especially when the wind blew.  Our guide was a local woman who had lived here all her life and we gained a real feel for life in this remote area.  Labrador is 113,000 square miles in size, but only has a population of 29,000.  The population of Red Bay is only 600 and all of the towns we visited today had populations that number in the 10’s or 100’s.  As we have traveled north, the places we have visited are becoming more and more remote.  When the people in the area need to shop or visit the “big city”, they take the ferry to Corner Brook.

Pictures from the bus.

Our tour was quite interesting and we visited some scenic sites and some museums.  Most of the towns and villages rely on fishing to make a living, but there is a new hydro-electric project which has provided new jobs, but doesn’t seem to be very popular with the locals.  In one small town we stopped at, Val and I were walking around and met an older gentleman named Barney who told us he had lived in this town for all of his 78 years.  He had a thick accent and was pretty hard to understand, but we had a very interesting conversation with him and really enjoyed meeting him.  When Val asked him if he liked living here he said, "I belong here".  I don't think the thought of leaving had ever entered his mind.

Val and Barney
The bus took us all the way to the Quebec border where we posed for pictures in front of the welcoming sign.

This area is known as the Gateway to Labrador so we stopped at the visitor's center and explored the area for a little while.

The visitor's center is an old church.

This is an old vehicle that they used to drive people around in Banff and Jasper National Parks.

Lunch was included with our tour and we didn’t expect much as most meals on excursions are pretty ordinary, but today’s was excellent.  It was served at a local restaurant and had a real Labradorian flavor to it.
Not much to look at, but the food was excellent.

After lunch it was time to head back towards Red Bay where we would visit a whaling museum and a local history museum.  

Val got a picture of the Rotterdam anchored in the bay as we returned to Red Bay.

After visiting the whaling museum, Val and I decided to forgo the last museum and walk the rest of the way back to the dock and take some pictures of Red Bay.

The town of Red Bay.

The ship was sailing at 3:00 so we caught the tender at 2:00 and headed back to the ship.  Today’s excursion turned out to be a good one.  It’s always a little frustrating being on a bus and seeing many places you’d like to stop go by, but that’s the nature of the limited time that is available on an excursion.

The Rotterdam from the tender as we returned to the ship.
The tender is just about to dock alongside the ship.
As the ship sailed away from Red Bay and towards Greenland we began to see icebergs off in the distance.  They weren’t huge, but they were definitely icebergs.  It was very scenic cruising until the fog set in and then there was no more view of icebergs or the shoreline; hopefully the ship’s radar does a good job of spotting icebergs.

We say goodbye to Red Bay as we sail away.
Our first iceberg sighting.
I spent the rest of the afternoon downloading our pictures.  We also went to the Neptune Lounge and got an afternoon snack which we didn’t need, but the temptation is hard to resist.  Later we regretted that snack as we didn’t really feel hungry so we decided to skip dinner in the dining room tonight and just get a snack in the Lido.  We did wander up to the Crow’s Nest for a couple of our favorite onboard drinks, an unleaded (non-alcoholic) margarita.  After our drinks we paid an early visit to the casino and then called it a night.  We were very tired from our early morning so we were both looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow as it is a sea day.

1 comment:

  1. "I belong here" Barney. First hand knowledge from a lifetime local is a true nugget all right. Really cool you made his acquaintance. The old building next to the water must have had quite a story to tell..if the walls could talk. Icebergs near Newfoundland must have reminded you of a cold night in 1912. Nice to have modern technologies to keep you safe.