Cruising Newfoundland

First port of call in Newfoundland: Fortune. A couple of nights alongside with pretty much all the conveniences, and in the centre of a friendly town, for a very reasonable price.

A few days ago we arrived at one of the best, and probably most under-appreciated, cruising grounds in the world: Newfoundland.

Despite multiple visits over 25 years, undoubtedly totalling at least a year in Newfoundland and Labrador waters, on arriving anew we are always amazed by how much there is that will be new to us. And that, coupled with our desire to visit favourite old haunts and spend time with special friends, promises a full and rewarding summer.

Therefore, we have decided, as in past summers, to cut ourselves a bit of a break from the publishing schedule (article every 5 days) we keep through the rest of the year.

So, if there are some longer silences from us in the comments, and longer gaps between articles, not to worry, we have not lost our focus or enthusiasm. Rather, we are out cruising and, while so doing, recharging our inspiration and creativity for the future.

Here are a few photos from our first days in Newfoundland. Who knows, maybe they will inspire you to cruise here, too.

Click on the images to make them larger.

Once past Fortune, on our way east and north, we are within the limits of all known icebergs, making a dawn start, to avoid sailing in the dark, the seamanlike alternative.

The lighthouse at Trepassey.

We got lucky with a rare calm day to visit the bird cliffs at Cape St. Mary’s. All those white dots are nesting gannets.

Gannet take-off run.

Phew, airborne at last.

Fish stores and stages, Fortune.

Dory, fish store, and fisherman (look carefully).

You know you are in Newfoundland when the stores sell pails of salt beef…

…and hard tack, too. Purity Jam Jams are another Newfoundland favourite.

Humpback whales feeding.

Fortune waterfront scene.

The best part of Newfoundland? The Newfoundlanders. Nice to see a good-sized cod like this, too.

 

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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

20 comments… add one
  • Marc Dacey Jul 10, 2018, 9:36 pm

    Beautiful. It is inspiring indeed. We cast off end of June 2019, Neptune willing, and it’s conceivable we’d go out the St. Lawrence straight to Newfoundland before going into Cape Breton to scout out plots of land, and then down to your neck of the woods to haul and get the bottom done. So we look forward to more “teasers” for visiting The Rock.

  • Leigh Merchant Jul 11, 2018, 8:24 am

    I hope you stopped in France to stock up on decent wine and great cheeses on your way to Fortune. We did twice that summer and made Fortune our main base eventually heading west along the south coast. This was our summer of 2012, one of the warmest NFLD summers in awhile. Will always remember the wonderful and complex smell of the hillsides wafting down to our boat, eating lots of wild blueberries and the tremendous people we met. Sailed east in 2013 and am currently sailing in Greece with vague plans on leaving the warmth of the Med and heading north once again. I enjoy your website and blogs and the comments of your subscribers. Always something to learn. Cheers, Leigh

    • John Jul 12, 2018, 7:05 am

      Hi Leigh,

      No, we passed St. P. by this time. Provisioning is now much better in St. John’s than it once was, and we are focusing on the east coast of NL for this year.

      We too were on the south coast in 2012, and, as you say, it was a great summer.

      Thanks for the kind comments on the site.

  • Eric Klem Jul 11, 2018, 8:54 am

    Enjoy. Newfoundland seems like such a cool place, I am jealous. Hopefully hurricane Chris avoids you.

    Eric

    • John Jul 12, 2018, 7:08 am

      Hi Eric and Jim,

      Yes, Newfoundland is hard to beat as a cruising destination.

      As I write we are hunkered down in a snug fishing harbour awaiting the extra tropical remains of Chris to transit us in the early evening.

  • Sam Shafer Jul 11, 2018, 10:51 am

    Looks beautiful! Keep the pictures coming.

  • Jim Evans Jul 11, 2018, 11:12 am

    On reflection, Newfoundland is probably the best place I’ve ever sailed. The weather can be rotten ( watch out for Chris, John!) but it doesn’t have earthquakes and eruptions like the Azores, and they speak our language. Sort of.
    Have fun!

    • John Jul 12, 2018, 7:09 am

      Hi Jim,

      I agree. As to Chris, see my comment to Eric above.

  • David B. Zaharik Jul 11, 2018, 12:40 pm

    Fabulous pictures John… contemplating my return from the Med in two years, instead of the run down to the Canaries and across, I am seriously considering England, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland and finally Newfoundland (import the boat in St John’s I guess), Nova Scotia then the ICW south… what a Boreal is built for!

    Newfoundland and Nova Scotia are gems…

    I picked up some of the “Newfie” language when I used to fly there frequently… Say these quickly and you’ll be speaking Newf….

    Hoof hearted, Ice melted…

    Whale oil beef hooked

    Cheers

    • John Jul 12, 2018, 7:14 am

      Hi David,

      Phyllis understands Newfoundland dialect pretty well have lived here, albeit in Town, for 10 years. By the way, if you do visit again, don’t use the diminutive for Newfoundlander. Although Newfoundlanders may occasionally use it themselves in jest, they really don’t like it when us come-from-aways use it.

    • Dick Stevenson Jul 14, 2018, 9:24 am

      Hi David,
      We did that trip across from Scotland to The Faroes to Iceland to Greenland and on to Newfoundland last season taking the whole season so we could get to know each area. It was a wonderful choice for us and worked out great. If it works out for you, Northern Europe was also fabulous cruising grounds for those interested in history, cultures, nature and people. After 5 years in the Med we quite surprised ourselves by 5 years in Northern Europe and were quite regretful to leave.
      My best, Dick Stevenson, CCA

  • S&S Rut Jul 11, 2018, 8:29 pm

    Any plans on sailing to Lewisporte? Great marina (Lewisport Yacht Club) with all the services plus lots of interesting people stop here. Sailing the Notre Dame Bay on the NE coast of NL is spectacular. Cheers

    • John Jul 12, 2018, 7:17 am

      Hi S&D,

      Yes, all going well we will get to Lewisporte since our current plan is to spend at least a couple of weeks on Notre Dame Bay. It will be interesting to see the changes in Lewisporte since I have only been there once before, and that was 25 years ago.

  • Mike Evans Jul 12, 2018, 12:09 am

    Hi John & Phyllis,
    Sorry we’ll miss this season on the NL Coast. We’re tuning up our new boat here on Lake Ontario. Plan to be back down east next year.
    We tied to you last season in Occasional Hrb.
    Mike

    • John Jul 12, 2018, 7:17 am

      Hi Mike,

      Congratulations on the new boat.

  • Dick Stevenson Jul 14, 2018, 9:36 am

    Hi Phyllis,
    I believe we missed you in Fortune by only hours.
    As an fyi for those who use the AAC harbor notes as a guide, there is a nice walk (walk, not a hike) upstream from the harbor, maybe 1.5 hours round trip if you stroll. If coming in from St. Pierre and in need of Border Control, they want you to tie up on their wharf to clear in. Our guides did not mention this and we found a spot in the marina in 30+ knots so we were very relieved (and appreciative) when the BC officials agreed to come to us on the dock.
    My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John Jul 15, 2018, 7:24 am

      Hi Dick,

      Yes, we did the walk at Fortune, and very nice it was too.

  • Joseph P Dillard Jul 26, 2018, 8:27 am

    We are currently land-visiting Newfoundland now, staying on Fogo Island, Joe Batt’s Arm, at the Fogo Island Inn. If you get a chance, this would be a nice place to hang for a few days. There is moorage on the town dock or the fish coop, and the Inn is a remarkable place, owned by
    the Shorefast Foundation foundation, a Canadian non-profit with the purpose of sustainable development, spawned by a fisherman’s daughter who made good in the tech industry, and returned to help the community survive the fishing crisis. A remarkable piece of architecture, the Inn welcomes visitors for meals, and is walkable from the docks.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/VGz7VPpVbmKeNzx57

    We hope to get back here in a boat (currently looking, and taking in all of the good information you have provided) next year. At least on Fogo there is very little recreational boating visible, just one guy, a local, who has an older trawler, hailing from Lewisport.

    I asked a local why so little pleasure boating was apparent, and got the reply, “we never associated boats with pleasure, just work”.

    • John Jul 27, 2018, 8:26 am

      Hi Joseph,

      Yes Fogo is a great place. As Atlantic Canadians much interested in rural community development we too have long watched Zita Cobb’s efforts with interest and admiration.

      And yes, that is generally the attitude to recreation boating here in Newfoundland, but that’s changing. For example there are several active yacht clubs around the island including a very dynamic one in Lewisporte, Notre Dame Bay.

      • Dick Stevenson Jul 29, 2018, 8:52 am

        Hi Joseph,
        You are entirely accurate that Fogo is a special place with a unique feel. Recreational vessels, ,sail and power, are quite common in Fogo in season, but tend to go to the other side of the island. I include my harbor notes for Fogo below.
        My best, Dick Stevenson. s/v Alchemy
        Seldom Come By, Fogo Island:
        The name of this community captures a certain sensibility of Newfoundlander’s which I have found hard to delineate directly. The name, as I understand it, refers to the attraction the harbor exerted on fishing schooners returning after a voyage who “seldom passed by without stopping” to this well protected, easy to enter, harbor. The sensibility is a mix of directness and plain spoken-ness, with a quirky twist that leaves me both charmed and a bit curious about other mysteries being referred to.
        We tied up at the F.U. (Fisheries Union) wharf which is set up for recreational vessels, power and water and bathroom/shower. It is just on the S side past the fish factory docks and easily apparent. Plenty of water on the face and we tied on the west side with good water for our 2m depth and weathered a 20-30 knot northerly comfortably.
        Casual observation of Fogo and Joe Batts on a car tour indicated a recreational vessel would likely find safe haven but might be sharing or rafted with fishing vessels.
        The FU wharf also houses an excellent museum focused on the quite interesting history of the island. As the first boat of the season, we were fortunate to get a tour of the museum by Ann, who had grown up around the cast of characters who had made the cooperatives (and their successful efforts to return control of the fishing to the fishermen) and the working/management of the island come into existence, no small feat for a small island cut off from the mainland. Many would have just closed their doors and been “re-settled”.
        If you can wangle a wander around this island, it is well worth it. Lots of fabulous views, terrain differences, inland to shore and wonderful harbors. The harbors of Fogo and of Joe Batts are as picture worthy as any I have seen. That said, neither looks to be as welcoming to recreational vessels as is Seldom Come By and I believe neither has a designated area for non-commercial vessels so you will be among the fishing fleet with all the joys and hassles that can entail.

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