Lyndsey Thomas is a down-to-earth, witty blogger who writes about lifestyle, being a mum, and all things travel-related. She lives with her family in Yorkshire and blogs about life up’t North, as well as her adventures across the pond. We’re delighted to have her share her St. John’s experience with us. Find out more about her on girlaboutyorkshire.com
My eyes darted back and forth as I stood on the edge of the most easterly point in North America. Scanning the North Atlantic Ocean with anticipation – eager to see a glimpse of a humpback whale breaching in the icy waters. And then all of a sudden, there it was, a spurt of air and water, and then a long shiny black spine slicing up the water and immersing itself back under the black of the ocean.
I held my breath, praying for it to reappear. Seconds later it resurfaced. The immensity and power and the incredible noise it made as it sprayed water from its blowhole. There it was… my first humpback whale encounter just ten minutes outside the city of St. John’s at Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. This was one of several whale encounters that I was to witness over my three days in the city of St. John’s.
The Canadian Province of Newfoundland & Labrador claims to be one of the most spectacular whale-watching places in the world. Between May and September I was told that one can expect to see 22 species of whales, including the minke, sperm, pothead, blue, orca, and the world’s largest population of humpbacks, all of which feed on capelin, krill and squid along the coast.
My experience was a huge ‘WOW’ moment and my feet were firmly on land… I can only begin to imagine how mind-blowing it is for those who get up close and personal with these majestic mammals on a boat tour, sea kayaking right by them, or even snorkeling with, in some cases, all 70ft of them! What’s more, you don’t have to travel for miles in a hire car or on a coach trip to tick a whale encounter off your bucket list – you can do it right here in St. John’s.
St. John’s – The San Francisco of the East Coast
Perched on the steep slopes of a small harbour with a rainbow of colourful wooden Victorian-era houses known as jellybean rows lining the steep streets, my first observation was that this Canadian city on the Island of Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast has all the makings of a miniature San Francisco.
Bergs and Bars
In fact, there are no skyscrapers – well certainly not of the concrete kind. But hike up to Cabot Tower on Signal Hill, the city’s most prominent landmark about a mile from Downtown St. John’s, and from April onward, marvel at Mother Nature’s skyscrapers – 10,000 year old icebergs travelling down the North Atlantic Coast from Greenland, some as high at 80 meters!
I travelled to St. John’s with Westjet from London Gatwick. Flight time is less than five hours and with a time difference of just 3.5hrs, the 11am WestJet flight got me into St. John’s just after lunch which makes it a great short break destination.
Downtown St. John’s is just a 10 minute taxi ride from St. John’s International Airport and it costs $25 CAD (approx £14 for a one-way trip)
I travelled to Cape Spear with McCarthy’s Party on a half-day private guided tour of the Greater St. John’s area. Andrew my guide and chauffeur, and co-owner of McCarthy’s Party collected me from my hotel in Downtown St. John’s and tailored the tour to my interests to including the best places for urban and wildlife photography. This is a great way to get to learn about the history of St. John’s, in the comfort of a luxury vehicle and with some fabulous Irish/Canadian humour along the way. Private tours can be tailored to your interests and range from a few hours to multi-day tours.
For whale watching and iceberg viewing boat tour trips from St. John’s, contact O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Boat Tours (Bay Bulls) or Iceberg Quest (St John’s).
I stayed at The JAG Hotel in Downtown St. John’s. A fabulous luxury boutique hotel that has been designed around the theme of Rock and Roll.
Read the full article here Canadian Affair.