The Captain & His Girl(s)
A day spent on the water is a quintessential experience when travelling to Newfoundland & Labrador. Set sail from St. John’s harbour and witness the world’s largest concentration of humpback whales, 12,000 year old icebergs and stately seabirds feeding in our coastal waters. Iceberg Quest’s award winning tour has been departing from St. John’s and Twillingate showcasing Newfoundland’s unique charm for over a decade. I sat down down with Captain Barry Rogers for an unforgettable hour as he regaled me with tales of his childhood on the water, the beginnings of Iceberg Quest and a sneak peek of some of their new product offerings for 2014.
Newfoundlanders are known to be storytellers and Captain Barry Rogers is no exception. His father worked as a merchant marine in Twillingate, Newfoundland – a small island in the North Atlantic and one of the province’s most popular rural outport destinations. When Captain Rogers turned eight years old he joined his father on the sea. They would sail to remote areas, bring in the daily catch and bring it to the processing plant in Twillingate. After 30 years his father retired but Captain Rogers was just getting started. He met his wife, Carol Anne, in Corner Brook where she worked as an RN. Safe to say she’s also heard the call of the sea – she’s now V.P. of Sales & Marketing for Iceberg Quest. They began to take notice that the pristine ocean air, playful humpbacks and majestic icebergs – all sights he saw daily growing up – were becoming a tourist commodity. So, from humble beginnings, they opened a small kiosk at the end of Pier 52 in Twillingate and the rest, as they say, is history.
Heading into their 14th season, Iceberg Quest has expanded to offer tours in both Twillingate and St. John’s. Captain Rogers stresses that both areas present two distinctive offerings. Twillingate is a picturesque outport community on the north east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. An island accessible by highway, it is the perfect image of rural Newfoundland with stages and stores, its own unique culture and rugged coastal landscape. An Iceberg Quest Tour in Twillingate is truly an outport experience.
St. John’s is North America’s oldest city and the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has an eclectic sophistication yet retains its small town charm. Beautiful unspoiled wilderness is only minutes away from the thriving downtown district. You will learn about St. John’s storied past on a tour leaving from the St. John’s harbour. However, both tours carry with them the opportunity to view humpbacks, icebergs and puffins in season and when Mother Nature cooperates.
Iceberg Quest offers more than your traditional boat tour. Their crew are more than just able-bodied hands — they are ambassadors of the ocean and true citizens of the deep blue yonder. They strive to create a unique experience for each and every tour. The complete Newfoundland “experience” was the notion behind opening Canvas Cove Bistro. Heading into it’s third year, the bistro is located on the Iceberg Quest Premises in Twillingate and delivers a sophisticated take on traditional bistro style dining. In addition to the bistro, they have teamed up with The Newfoundland Chocolate Company to open a small satellite shop on their wharf. As you walk to your tour you can smell fresh, pan seared cod followed by the scent of locally made chocolate. Combine that with an ice cold Quidi Vidi beer and you’ve got yourself one heck of a boat tour – and you haven’t even left the wharf yet.
2014 brings two new “girls” into the Captain’s life – The Cappo D’Espera – a new 100 person vessel and The Growler – a diesel zodiac that seats twelve. With these additions they’re hoping to expand the tour season into the fall – stay tuned for more info as I take a spin on The Growler this summer! In the meantime, tour season opens May 1st! Journey with Iceberg Quest to a place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the edge of the earth. Experience a land where charisma and hospitality meet in harmony to create a tour that has attracted visitors from around the globe. Book your tour, today!
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