August 30, 2001
going as far east in Canada by land that we could, we found
ourselves in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. At this point we
needed to make a decision as to whether simply go back to the
U.S. without seeing Newfoundland or decide how we were going to
get there. We found out that the only way to get to Newfoundland
was by ferry.
After consulting the ferry schedule from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland we found we had several options: We could take our truck/w fifth wheel across and back, or we could put our trailer into storage and just take the truck across and stay in Bed & Breakfasts.
After looking at the price for taking our trailer across on the ferry we decided to put the trailer into storage on Cape Breton and take our truck across on the ferry. Then we had to decide where we wanted to land on Newfoundland. All the ferries left from North Sydney, NS, but the one that went to Port-aux-Basques on the west side of Newfoundland took about 5-6 hours. The ferry that took you to St. Johns on the east side of Newfoundland took approximately 14-15 hours and was considerably more expensive. Unfortunately, we had allowed ourselves a limited amount of time to take our trip to Newfoundland so we decided that we would take the short trip to Port-aux-Basques, run up the west side of NF to a beautiful park called Grand Morne and then go back down to our originating point and then back to Nova Scotia. The cost for this ferry was about half of the longer one. The price was $67 for the truck as opposed to $135 for the truck on the longer ferry. Also there was an additional cost for each person $22 on the short run, $60 on the long run. (Seniors are $20 and $55 respectively). For the runs (both day and night) there are sleeping accomodations available (at an additional cost, of course). Coming back, we took the night ferry and opted not to book any sleeping accomodations but to attempt to sleep sitting in their reclining chairs. WRONG DECISION. Unless you have taken up contorsionism some time in your past or are much more limber than I am, I would highly recommend some type of sleeping accommodations. I'm not sure what the difference is, because the reclining chairs resemble airplane seats. However, they are next to impossible to sleep in. Bob, can sleep just about anywhere, in just about anything, and he couldn't even sleep in them. The sleeping accommodations can add anywhere from $14-$90 per person, but as I said they would be well worth it. I have been on all types of ferrys from hand-operated cable ferrys across small creeks to larger ferrys that take cars and trucks. But this ferry appeared to be somewhere between a medium-sized ferry and a large cruise ship. It was fascinating to watch the end of this huge ferry open, looking somewhat like a whale swallowing Jonah. The gangplank came out and we drove our vehicles into it. There were vehicles ranging from small compact cars to large car-carriers and motorhomes. After the vehicles were all loaded, everyone was required to leave their vehicles and go upstairs to the passenger decks. Occasionally during the voyage they would announce on the loudspeakers that if you needed anything from your vehicle you could go to the pursers office and they would take you down to your car. I believe this was done to make sure no one broke into the vehicles. I tend to get seasick rather easily, but fortunately our trip was a rather calm one. There were snack bars to get food, and a rather good duo entertaining in the lounge. We overheard one passenger asking about taking a tour of the bridge so we signed up as well. In no time at all we were called over the P.A. system and were taken up on the bridge to watch the officers operating the ship. At one point they actually let "Capt. Bob" take over the helm. Scarey eh? It seemed like no time at all we got into the dock at Port-aux-Basques and reversed the process of driving off the ferry. Even though the trip went well I'm not sure that we would have enjoyed the 14-15 hour trip quite as well. We drove off the ferry enroute to the bed and breakfast we had made reservations at. We really enjoyed our time in Newfoundland and I'm certainly glad that we decided to make the trip.