A seat-mate on the aircraft taking us to St. John's, Newfoundland, had explained that there were many excellent bird and whale watching tours in this maritime province. On June 29, 1996, our host arranged for a 2 1/2 hour trip with Captain Murphy's Bird Island Boat Tours. They are located at Witless Bay which is approximately 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of St. John's. To get there, you can follow scenic Route 10 from St. John's or travel west on the Trans Canada Highway and turn south when you see the Witless Bay Line sign.
A party of 17 people in all, including our 7 week old grandson, gathered at 10:00 am in the Witless Bay Restaurant, many of us slightly tired from singing countless Newfoundland folk tunes the evening before! We were also pleasantly surprised to learn that as we were in a party of more than 15 people, we all received a discount on the regular $20 per person fare. Captain Murphy has two vessels, the "Newfie Puffin" and the "Pursuit" and soon after we were all underway on the Pursuit. Our tour guide, a jolly Newfoundlander from the south coast, broke into a rousing song about the fishing lives of Maritimers. His singing enthusiasm was enough to overcome all of the sea going noise including the steady pounding of the big diesel engine. As well, his colourful descriptions of bird and whale habits and habitat were filled with liberal doses of unique Newfoundland humour!
After two hours of exciting bird and whale sightings (we must have seen 100 whales!) the Captain turned the Pursuit towards the Witless Bay anchorage.
A young Newfoundland lady, in the best of local tradition, treated us to some lively folk tunes with her fiddle as we headed in, everyone well pleased with our memorable Atlantic trip!
There are many boat tour operators in Newfoundland offering services similar to the trip that we enjoyed. For more information, you can call Captain Murphy's Bird Island Boat Tours at 1-709-334-2002, Historical Harbours Boat Tours at 1-709-464-3355, Dee Jay Charters at 1-709-753-8687, Gatherall's Boat Tours at 1-709-334-2887 and O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours at 1-709-753-4850.
Your comments are welcome at dhaaheim at telus dot netHttp://www.tourcanada.com -- Revised: May 29, 2008
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