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  • Writer's pictureSal Schmidt

Hurtigruten Pole to Pole - Week six

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

From Halifax to Boston - History, Seafood and Nature Reserves - Canada, United States

Week six on our 13-week bucket list Pole to Pole cruise on the MS Roald Amundsen with Hurtigruten Expeditions. This week, a new cruise segment commences, and a changeover of passengers as we enter the Halifax to Boston leg.

Day 36 - Sea Day, Labrador Sea

Lazy day today at sea!

Lovely, clean, and healthy steak and chicken lunch at Fredheim. The afternoon we spent blogging and launching week five of our adventures.

In honour of Queen Elizabeth II, today's afternoon tea was scones, which was very thoughtful of the ship to provide a special moment to respect the Queen.

A special mention out to two remarkable and hardworking cabin stewards, Sharon and Francis, whose smiles and banter continue to bring smiles to our faces while working tirelessly to ensure our suite is always immaculate.

Day 37 - Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

Today we arrived back in Canada; this morning, we woke to a foggy and misty day as we crept closer to Red Bay late in the afternoon.

The day was spent relaxing, having morning coffees and lunch, and enjoying the green landscapes as we approached our new destination. Wayne was a gem and cleaned our doors, and we had crystal clear views; hopefully, the sun kept on shining for a while now; we are heading South.

We anchor side at 3.30 pm; the Canadian customs are back onboard to clear the ship; after two days in Greenland, everything was approved. At about 4.45 pm, we were on the tender boat across to Red Bay.

Tender trips take about 5 minutes to cross the water to the piers. When the team have all their ducks lined up, it can be very efficient and have little waiting time.

The sun was shining; it was a gorgeous day, about 14 degrees. We were all warmly greeted by the friendly locals as we walked off the boat; they were an absolute delight and were happy to see us all.

We were given a little map with places of interest to visit and strolled around the beautiful petite village. It was quaint, with a warm community vibe. Very green, clean and well maintained, with lots of flora and a pocket of nature with stunning views.

Red Bay is home to a few friendly Canadians, just shy of 200. Red Bay is a fishing village in Labrador, notable as one of the most precious underwater archaeological sites in the Americas. It was a central Basque whaling area between 1530 and the early 17th century.

As we walked, we had many flies and insects join us, so to become prepared; our face masks were an advantage to avoid dining on these little creatures.

We all had a few hours to enjoy the outside world and loved basking in the views, local village sites, museums and history.

Back on the ship for the evening to make our way to Corner Brook for the morning.

After catching up with fellow passengers, the boat tour as you come ashore with Whaler's Quest was a huge hit, be sure to look them up for an insightful cruise on the history of Red Bay, a taste of local beer and heating from the locals firsthand.

Day 38 - Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador

We woke to beautiful rainbows across the skies; the ship was buzzing as we had a full day to spend in a city. It had been a while since we docked anywhere with a population of more than 5,000. So Corner Brook would be a perfect city to explore for the day, and after one month on a ship to stock up on those everyday items that were running low.

Corner Brook is a city home to 30,000 and the fifth most significant settlement in the province.

It is also the last destination for about 350 passengers who will depart in Halifax after 27 days on the ship, followed by a few of the hardworking crew that have been on the ship for six months now, so they are looking forward to a few months at home, and a well-deserved rest.

Our goal today in Corner Brook was to get a haircut; after 38 days, we looked a little shabby and needed a tidy-up. As soon as we arrived in town, our first goal was achieved. We enjoyed the city by exploring and enjoying the local vibe and community. Being from tiny country towns of Moama and Elmore in Australia gave us similar vibes as growing up.

The homes were all neatly maintained, with no fences between them, so it was a very neighbourly town.

We also took advantage of having access to larger stores and stocked up on our day-to-day products, so we are now set for the next two months onboard.

It was nice to sneak into a Chinese restaurant for lunch called Dragon Restaurant and to enjoy a different cuisine after over one month on the ship. The starters worried us, but they made up for it with the main; the beef and black bean was fresh, with very tender meat, and Wayne was in his element with fried rice.

Corner Brook is next to Captain Cook's trail and other magnificent lookout spots and scenery. A hikers' delight and excursions were available to those who wanted to explore nature.

Once back onboard the ship, we were treated to a local trio performance by The Sharecroppers; we enjoyed listening to their beautiful stories of life and the history of Newfoundland through songs.

One of the songs they sang was about a "one room school'" this brought back memories of my primary school in Elmore had four classrooms, now has 26 enrolled students, and was established in 1875. Another song was a tribute to the Dr of the North who introduced hospitals to Newfoundland

Fun facts:

  • Doctor of the North 'Grenfell' answers the prayers of the people in the North. In 1892 the only way to access all the villages was by water, so a travelling hospital ship was born, and the Doctor of the North's healing hands could reach those that needed them most.

  • Mummering or mumming is still a tradition in Newfoundland, where everyone dresses up in disguise to keep their neighbours guessing as they knock on doors at Christmas time. If the mummers are welcomed, they perform a dance, music, jokes, or recitations. The hosts must guess the mummers' identities before offering them food or drink.

Day 39 - At Sea, North Atlantic Ocean

Last day for our passengers, apart from 56 (36 of the 56 passengers are leaving in Boston, as there are only 20 pole-to-pole guests).

It was a winding down day at sea; she was a bit edgy today as we ventured from the Gulf of St Lawrence into the Atlantic Ocean, but very enjoyable all the same; we do enjoy our sea days.

Lots of farewells and chats with fellow guests who are leaving us; we always enjoy hearing everyone's stories and their future adventures. A special thank you to our fellow suite guests who could not finish their special anniversary cake; it was a very delicious surprise when we returned to our cabin for the evening!

The Captain's farewell was this evening, and the video produced by the resident photographer Oscar was shared; it was great to reflect on the moments of the past 23 days.

We sailed some waters at 5,500 nautical miles and covered many new destinations! Magical!

Day 40 - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Early arrival in Halifax today was a new beginning for many excited new passengers embarking on a seven-day cruise. We were even up early enough to capture a pic of the sunrise! Super proud of us!

We bid our farewells to our fellow passengers who had sailed the NW Passage with us over the past 23 days and our lovely crew, Belindah and Nenad; we will miss seeing them both around the ship but are excited they have a few months off.

We were up bright and early to explore Halifax, a city of over 400,000, the capital of Nova Scotia.

Our first impressions were full of excitement as we disembarked our home, the Roald Amundsen, for the day to become lost in a city; we always loved a vibrant city, and Halifax did not disappoint.

It cuddles the coast and has a beautiful waterfront with a 3km boardwalk on the harbour esplanade, where you can stroll along and feel part of the city.

Infectious young energy filtered through the city as you immersed yourself. It was well balanced, not too intense, but a steady flow of locals and tourists—a popular education hub for students with the number of universities in the city.

Many city events were scattered around the city, keeping everyone busy and entertained for the weekend. We came across a Farmers Market, a local craft beer festival; they also have a maritime museum on the harbour front with a large Titanic exhibit.

Sneaking in a few cocktails and some new cuisine, Spanish food today. We enjoyed watching the people go by while we soaked up the sunshine. Canada is still training hard for the gold medal in the most expensive country, at CAD 150 for a cheap and cheerful and a few cocktails, plus your 18% tip.

We returned during the afternoon to the ship; it was buzzing with new energy; the new passengers had embarked and were familiarising themselves with their new home for the next seven days as we sailed to Boston. The demographic has changed; we see many more from the states, and the average age is under 60.

We left at 6 pm and enjoyed our first sail away on the pool deck with the sun joining us as Halifax bid us farewell in the distance.

We love the change of weather back around 20; after the past four weeks being in 1-5 degrees destinations, it feels like a new cruise!

Day 41 - Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sable Island was always going to be an attempted landing; unfortunately, due to the large swells, it was unsafe to take the passengers across in the Zodiacs.

The Captain decided to circumnavigate the Island, and everyone enjoyed the new view and beautiful island landscape; we were blessed to have the sunshine sail with us and binoculars to catch a glimpse of the horses and seals (apologies for the poor imaging, but the phone wasn't good enough to capture the moments). There is an unidentified object in the first pic below; could it be a fin or a buoy? Morning coffees on the balcony were a relaxing start to the day.

Sable Island sits far out in the North Atlantic, a 42km isolated and decorated coastline of over 400,000 grey seals and 500 wild horses. Sand and grass were the landscape, with the Island surrounded by beautiful clean sandy beaches.

It is a life undisturbed; it was fascinating and must be a researcher's heaven, understanding how the horses can survive on the Island for so many years without assistance and be self-sufficient and healthy. Horses were introduced in 1760, and surprisingly each horse has a name.

Fun facts:

  • Sable (French: "sand") Island is inhabited by only a few families and a few hundred wild ponies

  • Since 1583 there have been over 350 recorded shipwrecks on Sable Island. Very little now remains of the ships that were wrecked on the Island: a shoe buckle, a few coins, ship name boards, timbers buried in the sand

  • It's the ideal winter home for the world's biggest breeding colony of grey seals. In 1960, only 8,000 in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Now, more than 400,000 seals come to Sable's beaches during the winter months to pup and breed.

Captains welcome this evening where we met some new fellow passengers who we have been chatting with via Facebook, so it was nice to put a friendly face to the names. Thank you, Kim and Jill.

Catching up with the lovely Laszlo this evening, we will miss our daily chats when he leaves us in Boston, but he also needs his family time and a well-deserved break from us all.

Followed by dinner in Lindstrom and our first time sampling the vegetarian free-flow mince ravioli. It was so good Wayne had a second serving like he needs more food!!

Day 42 - Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Today we arrived in 'Lunenburg', literally a postcard waterside fishing village.

Lunenburg is a port town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. It was founded in 1753 and was one of the first British attempts to settle Protestants in Nova Scotia. Home to just shy of 2400 people. Think Dawsons Creek for those in the era or Chesapeake Shores; this town is perfection.

Everywhere you looked was a sensory delight. The homes are immaculate, the architecture is stunning, and the an instant feeling of calmness. You just wanted to settle on the balcony of one of the charming homes with a glass of red and enjoy the majestic views.

The streets were sprinkled with beautiful stores that were all maintained and just gorgeous. It is indeed filled with a historic charm.

We loved the vibrant colours of the stores, and the people were a ray of sunshine. It has a warm and buzzing community and is well visited by tourists.

It is a coastal town nestled on sparkling blue waters, with sailboats floating just offshore. Lunenburg is also the proud home of the Bluenose, which was once the world's fastest racing schooner, built in 1921, undefeated for 17 years. A national icon, it also appears on the Canadian dime.

We loved getting lost in this small town and felt at home as we took in the views, crystal-clear waters, and shoreside homes. This is the place you have been searching for your whole life and just want to settle and stay to enjoy.

We only had a few hours to appreciate the beauty, but it is at the top of our list if we return to Nova Scotia and say hello to 'Jake', the magnificent Belgium horse, again.

Fun facts:

  • The most noticeable vernacular building element in Lunenburg is the "Lunenburg Bump", an enlarged dormer extended out over the eaves, either five-sided or rectangular. Most are situated in the centre of the front façade over the entrance, which may be in an attached storm porch.

  • In 1995 UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site. UNESCO considers the site the best example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America, as it retains its original layout and appearance of the 1800s, including local wooden vernacular architecture. UNESCO considers the town in need of protection because the future of its traditional economic underpinnings, the Atlantic fishery, is now very uncertain.

'Week seven' will be exploring the United States East Coast to the city of Boston.

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