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Cruising Labrador

Cruise Nunatsiavut in Labrador to experience unique aboriginal culture and breathtaking Arctic scenery.  Find yourself in the adventures and mysteries of the Labrador Inuit as you cruise through their homeland.

The Northern Ranger ferry service links the small, remote communities of Nunatsiavut during the summer months with a 5-day return trip: Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Nain.  Passengers have a choice of accommodations ranging from a dormitory bunk to a deluxe cabin with ensuite.

The return trip affords you a rare opportunity to learn the history and culture of this region and the Labrador Inuit lifstyle. During each community visit you will witness how vibrant traditions and culture resonate within modern communities; all under the backdrop of a wild and majestic sub-arctic Labrador environment that profoundly contrasts with the island of Newfoundland.     

Day 1

Departing Happy Valley-Goose Bay at noon, you will cruise out Lake Melville with the Mealy Mountains towering in the southern skyline.    This evening as you arrive in Rigolet, the most southerly Inuit community in the world, keep alert for Minke whale (locally called Grumpus) sightings as the ferry navigates through the islands near the community.  At the community Net Loft museum in Rigloet you will learn of how important this area was for trade in fish, fur and whales with early European settlers and merchants. The community is also well known to have expert crafts people and artisans producing handcrafted saltwater grass pieces and authentic seaslskin garments. 

Day 2

Overnight you will sail north.   Awaken your senses with an early morning stroll on the Poet’s path when you dock in Makkovik.  Back onboard the ship and headed to your next stopover, Postville.  Take the opportunity to interact with local residents known for their grasswork and the smoking of wild char and salmon flavored with locally harvested blackberry bushes. If you’re lucky, someone may have some to share with you. You may also be fortunate to talk to someone about their Labrador husky dog team that still honours the traditional practice of winter transportation.

This evening you arrive in Hopedale and learn first-hand the incredible Moravian Mission legacy of historic buildings, artifacts and museum exhibits from their work in the 18th and 19th century. Browse through the Hopedale Mission National Historic Site of Canada to learn more about one of the best European – Inuit contact stories on the Labrador coast.

Day 3

At midday you arrive in Nain, a thriving Inuit community where Inukitut conversations between elders bring old traditions, mysteries and adventures alive and boast of recent hunts drying in the sun next to their homes.  Nain, the largest community in Nunatsiavut and the most northerly community in the province, is the administration capital for the Nunatsiavut Government and the gateway to the Torngat Mountains National Park.  You can tour historic Moravian buildings, fish for arctic char at the ferry dock or tour the craft shops and home studios of famed professional artists and artisans creating pieces of traditional Inuit art from materials such as soapstone and caribou antler. 

 

Day 4

Discover more mysteries of the Labrador Inuit when you stop in Hopedale, Postville and Makkovik again on the southbound journey.    Tour the Nunatsiavut Assembly building, visit the White Elephant museum, shop for arts and crafts, take a community tour or walk on one of several community boardwalks that offer terrific opportunities to view whales, icebergs, seals and seabirds.

Day 5

Spend your last morning in Nunatsiavut with a short hike along a portion of the second longest boardwalk in the world or visit the Strathcona House museum, the resurrected home of Donald Smith, 1st Baron Stratchona, one of the British Empire's foremost builders and philanthropists and iconic Canadian railway builder.  Enjoy the remainder of your day sailing back in Lake Melville.  Take some time to chat with locals to learn the history of the many “cabin communities” that dot the coastline.