I can't remember too much about actual crossing we made in this ferry. We'd driven and camped our way from Montreal in our old Dodge B150 window van in July 1989, with our three sons aged 5, 4 and 11 months. Great fun, but not without its stresses and distractions.
We'd boarded in North Sydney and settled in for the nearly 7 hour trip. We'd found a convenient set of seats for the family with a view outside, and our minds were somewhere between wondering where we'd camp that night and looking after our 11 month old. And then came that message that all parents dread hearing over the public address system. "Would the parents of… please come to… ". Yup, our 4 year old had gone off exploring and managed to find someone who cared enough to make sure he was safe!
Once we'd landed on The Rock
we drove quickly to the J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park just a few miles along the road to camp for the night. All I remember was that despite being in the middle of nowhere this was one of those parks that was party-central for the locals!
But Newfoundland was great. We headed first to Gros Morne, and then up to L'Anse-aux-Meadows and St. Anthony, before heading back to the ferry via Twillingate. But boy, do they have some hungry black-flies at that time of year. And they are especially partial to the tender face of an 11 month old.
We returned to Nova Scotia on the same ferry, but were surprised when they washed the underside of our van before embarking. A precaution against agricultural disease spreading from Newfoundland.
It took us 15 years to return to Newfoundland. This time we flew to St. Johns, and rented a car to explore the Avalon peninsular that we'd not reached on our earlier trip. Looking down from a plane can give a great perspective of the geography of the country, and I love doing that. But having to drive for several days, pitching your tent every night and then finally taking a 7 hour ferry crossing gives a much stronger feeling for how remote Newfoundland is from the rest of Canada—and we started our journey in Montreal, already in the east.