Cruise Labrador's North
Have you ever felt the rush before boarding a ship for an adventure into Canada’s North?
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. This return trip affords you a rare opportunity to learn the history and culture of this region and the Labrador Inuit lifestyle. 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.
Accommodations include a deluxe cabin with ensuite. All meals provided in a communal dining hall offering three meals a day.
Traveling in the company of a local tour guide, your arrival in each community will be enriched with the expertise of a resident describing their homes to you.
Nature/wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant. For centuries, Inuit communities have relied on Labrador’s sea for survival. During your voyage be sure to keep a close eye to the sea and shoreline in search of black bears, seals, puffins, various migratory bird colonies dolphins, and the humpback and minke whales that call this coastline home.
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 available at the dockside craft shop.
Overnight you will sail north. Awaken your senses with an early morning stroll to the White Elepant Museum, explore the history of the community through hundreds of artifacts provided by the residents displayed in a turn of the century Moravian building. Listen and learn of the archeological significance of Makkovik in the establishment of the Moravian Church in Labrador.
Back onboard the ship and headed to your next stopover, Postville. You will be introduced to ‘Uncle’ Douglas Jacque, a local gem who at eighty-two years of age continues to maintain a Labrador husky dog team, honouring the traditional practice of winter transportation. A respected storyteller, enjoy first hand stories of community settlement and youthful adventures.
This evening you arrive in Hopedale and learn first-hand of 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.
At midday you arrive in Nain, a thriving Inuit community where Inuktitut conversations between elders bring old traditions, mysteries and adventures alive and boast of recent hunts drying in the sun next to their homes. Welcomed by a performing brass band, tour historic Moravian buildings with a local chapel servant. Home to nationally recognized artisans, tour the craft shop and their home studios where they create pieces of traditional Inuit art from materials such as soapstone and caribou antler. Nain, the largest community in Nunatsiavut and the most northerly community in the province, is the administrative capital for the Nunatsiavut Government and the gateway to the Torngat Mountains National Park.
Continue your discovery of the Labrador Inuit and the adaptation of culture in modern living when you stop in Hopedale, Postville and Makkovik again on the southbound journey.
Hopedale offers a tour of the Nunatsiavut Government Assembly Building, the centre of decision-making for our Inuit Self Government. While in Postville, take the opportunity to interact with local residents known for their handmade crafts 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. Your Makkovik stop over highlights the use of traditional knowledge in modern activities. Enjoy an escorted tour along a boardwalk offering an ocean view with young academics discussing the coastal flora and fauna or stop at the craft centre, the creative backdrop to the budding young artist community.
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, philanthropists and iconic Canadian railway builder. Learn of the World War II military role or of the pioneering Inuit that went to perform at the cultural showcases exhibited during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. 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.
Booking Your Trip
Cruise Labrador’s North is available from July 7 - September 12, 2014.
The M/V Northern Ranger service is owned by the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador and is operated by Nunatsiavut Marine. For further information, including schedule, rates, or to book to your trip, please visit the Torngat Base Camp http://www.torngatbasecamp.com/home/northern_ranger_package.htm