Our first glimpse of Newfoundland! Entering the harbor
at Port aux Basques
We’ve been wanting to see Newfoundland for years, but we wanted to do it in our motorhome.
Wait a minute, Newfoundland is an island, and our little RV may do a lot of things, but driving across the North Atlantic is not one of them. Yet there is a way to get a motorhome — or any other vehicle — onto the island… Marine Atlantic operates two ferry routes from North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
We began our journey with the shorter of the two passages, a daytime six-hour cruise of about one hundred miles, leaving from the northeast edge of Nova Scotia and arriving at Port aux Basques on the southwest tip of Newfoundland. Our ship, MV Blue Puttees, was more than big enough to carry any motorhome. In fact, at over six hundred feet long and a whopping 28,000 tons, it can carry hundreds of motorcycles, cars, big rigs and RVs with ease — and did.
Above the vehicle decks we found big, comfortable reclining seats and were ferried across the Cabot Strait smoothly and in style.
After lunch we found a spot in the panoramic lounge where we discovered a Newfoundland original, Iceberg beer. Beer made with water from melted icebergs — we felt pretty darn special drinking that.
Back to our seats for a comfy nap, and next thing we knew we were driving off the ship on to Newfoundland.
On our twelve day odyssey across the island we covered over fifteen hundred miles, from the northern tip, where the Vikings landed at L’Anse aux Meadows; to the southern shore, where thousands of birds have taken up residence on the rocky cliffs of Cape St. Mary’s. Sure glad we had our little home on wheels with us, it made it so we could stay just about anywhere.
We weren’t sure what to expect as far as availability of services, but it turns out that Newfoundland is extremely RV friendly. There are tons of Provincial and National Parks, and private campgrounds, as well as lots of free services like dump stations and places to boondock. The locals call it gravel pit camping, named for the roadside gravel areas left over after highway construction, but it applies to overnight parking almost anywhere that it isn’t expressly forbidden… often in amazing, picturesque oceanside spots.
We ended our trek in the southeast corner of the island, so we could catch the other route that Marine Atlantic serves, from Argentia back to North Sydney in Nova Scotia. This is a good-bit-longer crossing, almost three hundred miles, so we booked a stateroom where we could sleep away the bulk of the overnight trip aboard the MV Atlantic Vision.
The largest ship in the fleet, Atlantic Vision is designed with passenger comfort for longer voyages in mind, including roomy cabins featuring full baths and satellite TV. This is no typical ferry, she is more like a cruise ship, with several dining options, from a snack bar, to The Atlantic Vision Buffet, to the elegant Flowers A La Carte Restaurant. There was even entertainment in the lounge.
WATCH: David shows you around our cabin aboard the Atlantic Vision!
So after stuffing our faces at the buffet, we slept like babies rocking on the waves. In the morning, we drove back on to the good old North American continent rested and refreshed.
And with mountains of amazing memories that will last a lifetime from our visit to Newfoundland.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
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