Newfoundland: Petty Harbour Whale Snorkel, Cape Spear & St. John’s

A few months ago, I was blessed enough to be able to snorkel with wild dolphins in their natural habitat of Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta.  The whole idea behind the snorkel was that the dolphins would choose you, and would only swim around you if they were interested.

Today was that, only several hundred times bigger.

We snorkeled with Humpback Whales!

Well, ONE humpback whale, for a few minutes, before it lost interest and swam away.  But I digress.

OceanQuest Adventures does these Zodiac tours out of Petty Harbour, just outside of St. John’s, where you get fully suited up for the cold Atlantic waters for the chance of snorkeling with Humpbacks, again, if they are interested in you.  Today, they were interested in our Zodiac, and we even had one whale breach for us about ten times, as well as the fortune of seeing a mother and its calf, plus a ton of seabirds, including puffins!  After hanging around the mother and calf, we found another solo whale who seemed to be interested in us and, after a few minutes, the marine biologist onboard figured it was safe for us to get in the water.

Shortly after entering the water, the whale lost interest.  Such is nature.

Regardless, fun experience, and we were very close to whales in our little Zodiac, plus seeing one breach in the wild was insane.  I guess you can’t control if something 14 metres long and 40 tons is interested in you.  And you have to respect it if it isn’t.

So after getting out of our form-fitting wetsuits, we decided we’d hit up Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America, to check out its lighthouse and walk as close to the easternmost point as we could (they’re doing some renovations on the observation point at this time.)  Definitely a beautiful view and worth checking out, if for nothing else than its geographical importance.  A quick Tim Horton’s lunch, shower and some downtime at the hotel, then on to downtown Newfoundland.

After a stop at the Terry Fox Statue, we spent most of our afternoon looking at Newfoundland’s “Jellybean Houses”, so named due to their vibrant solid colours.  Reminded me a lot of the houses in Valparaiso in Chile, except even more hilly, if you can believe it.  We slowly meandered our way towards George Street, which is St. John’s version of Bourbon Street, which was actually closed down for the George Street Festival, which sounded like fun, but not $40 cover charge fun.  Hey Rosetta! was playing, and as much as I like the songs of theirs I’ve heard, not sure if it would have been worth the price tag.

Besides, at that point, we had dinner plans at the Yellowbelly Brewery with Daina’s old work friend Susan, which involved another delicious meal – St. John’s has its food game on point – and some really solid craft beers!  We then wandered to a dive bar named Fiddler’s for a round of Kitty Glitter on a gambling machine (lost $5 but won so much more in experience and glittery kitties) before heading home.

I like St. John’s.  It’s a smaller city but you can feel a bit of big city cool permeating it.  We’re going to see a few more of the sights tomorrow, but overall, I’m pretty sold.

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