Just say the words ‘Atlantic Canada’ and you can virtually feel the sea-spray on your face, hear the clank of jostling masts and smell the bracing air. The eastern coastlines of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Québec are steeped in maritime heritage, and very much places of the sea – as evidenced by everything from the traditions of their inhabitants to the colourful architecture along their shores. They are also a haven for wildlife, from puffins and gannets in thousands-strong colonies to curious seals and a whole host of whales.
Consequently, it is a region best seen by ship. To sail between its lively ports, national parks and little-known islands is to get a real feel for maritime Canada. Win this nine-night expedition with Exodus Travels, and you could be doing just that.
Eastern Canada is magnetic to wildlife. Here, the waters of the Atlantic, Arctic and Gulf of St Lawrence meet, churning up nutrients: a feast for an enormous array of species. Several types of whales come to gorge on this super soup, so an expedition in this region might elicit sightings of breaching humpbacks, arcing minke and even the mighty blue – the planet’s biggest creature. Anticosti Island – a mysterious isle at the mouth of the St Lawrence – is a good place to keep a look out. Grey and harp seals are common companions in these waters too.
Bird-lovers will be in their element. For instance, the well-named Bird Islands off Cape Breton are home to huge, squawking colonies of great cormorant, Atlantic puffin, Atlantic razorbill and black-legged kittiwake; you might even see majestic bald eagles, swooping down to catch fish. Île Bonaventure, on Québec’s Gaspé Peninsula, is a protected reserve that can be visited by small Zodiac boats, allowing close encounters with one of the largest northern gannet colonies in the world, numbering over 120,000 birds. And on St-Pierre et Miquelon, a little-known island still under French control, there is a heaving puffin colony, where you can watch hundreds of the comical birds dashing around, their colourful bills crammed full of fish.
People of the sea
The landscapes of Atlantic Canada mirror the ocean itself: wild, windswept and untamed. There are vertiginous cliffs and strange, sculptural rock formations, perilous sandbars and marooned, unpopulated isles. Only a small population of resilient people live along this shore, their lives closely entwined with the sea, their towns dotted with bright clapboard houses and piles of lobster pots.
For instance, visit the remote Îles de la Madeleines, in the Gulf of St Lawrence, to explore unique fishing communities, pretty harbours and spectacular ripples of sandstone. Meet up with the locals in Bonne Bay, deep in Gros Morne National Park, to hike up into Newfoundland’s dramatic Tablelands. And in tiny, isolated Francois, perched on the edge of an eye-watering fjord, be prepared: you might get invited to the local community hall dance.
The perfect ship
The sturdy Akademik Ioffe, an ice-strengthened Polar Adventure ship, is the perfect vessel for an Atlantic wildlife expedition. Stable and quiet, the Akademik Ioffe carries just 96 passengers, ensuring an intimate experience. This also means all guests can enjoy Zodiac excursions to get closer to the epic wildlife, landscapes and culture that make Atlantic Canada as essential as it is unique.
Adventure tour operator Exodus Travels offers over 500 trips across 90-plus countries. For more information, call 0845 527 1436 or visit http://www.exodus.co.uk
How to Enter
Exodus Travels is offering one lucky Wanderlust reader and a companion an incredible nine-night Maritime Wildlife Adventure aboard the Akademik Ioffe, voyaging around Atlantic Canada. The prize includes flights, full-board accommodation, all transport and activities. To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question:
Q: The Latin name for the Atlantic puffin is: a) Fratercula arctica b) Uria aalge c) Sterna paradisaea
Answer -a) Fratercula arctica
One entry per person.
Closing date for entries is 11.59pm (GMT) 11 February 2015.
The prize includes: A 9 night voyage on the Akademik Ioffe; a Polar adventure ship. (excluding travel time), Flights included, dependent on availability; Full Board; All accommodation; All transport and listed activities; Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
The prize departure date is strictly limited to 7th July, subject to availability.
Flights are subject to availability.
The prize cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative.
The promoter reserves the right to provide an alternative prize of similar value should the
specified prize become unavailable for any reason.
The Promoter (Exodus) nor any other person or party associated with this promotion shall be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered (including, but not limited to, indirect or consequential loss or damage) or personal injury suffered or sustained in connection with either participation in this promotion or with any prizes offered.
The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms of this prize and without
notice in the unlikely event of a major catastrophe, war, earthquake or any actual, anticipated or alleged breach of any applicable law or regulation or any similar event or if circumstances arise outside of its control.
Those entering after the competition close date will not be counted.
The winner will be selected randomly.
Attempts will be made to notify the winner by the email provided at the time of entry.
If the promoter, having used reasonable efforts, is unable to contact the winner, then the prize is forfeited and further draw(s) will be conducted.
The winner may be required to take part in reasonable publicity as specified by the Promoter (Exodus).
The prize is non-transferable.
The Promoter (Exodus) cannot be held liable for IT system failures or delays or loss of entries.
This promotion is operated under the rules and regulations of the UK sales.
Optional activities and travel insurance is not included in the prize. It is strongly advised that you take out travel insurance for the relevant period.
Employees of the promoter (Exodus), all other prize partners, its agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion, and their families, are excluded from entering this competition.
The organizer reserves the right to cancel this competition, or to change any condition of this competition, without notice.
Acceptance of these terms and conditions is a condition of entry.
No purchase necessary