A Journey HomeBy Newfoundland & Labrador
Getting here is definitely part of the adventure.
Traversing the ocean by ferry can land you in any of three prime locations: Port aux Basques, Argentia, or St. Barbe. Or you can travel as the crow flies and catch an Air Canada flight into any of our airports. Once you arrive, there's lots to see; and with over 29,000 kilometres of coastline to explore, every route is the scenic route. Some people, however, like to take the experience just a few steps further…
A homecoming can be an emotional experience. Especially when the trip involves piloting a mini helicopter across 45 kilometres of the wild North Atlantic. This was the experience for Becki and Chris, native islanders who piloted their copter, a 2007 Robinson R44 Raven II back to Newfoundland. In breathtaking footage, we watch as the shores of the Great Northern Peninsula come into view, wild waves lashing its strand. This was a huge moment for the couple who've flown from their new home in Buffalo, New York, across the border and through the Quebec wilderness to get here. And you can hear the emotion in their voices; feelings of awe that continue as they fly through incredible gorges and across fantastic landscapes, making their way across the island. This is Becki's ultimate travelogue; a six-part YouTube adventure, Cold Island.
There's nothing cold about their welcome into the southern community of Francois, however. Around these parts we pronounce it Fransway, and it's one of the few completely isolated outports remaining in Newfoundland; accessible only by boat, snowmobile, or by helicopter ride through an amazing fjord. Its population of less than a hundred open their hearts and homes to Becki and Chris. Homes that dot the hillsides, connected by concrete pathways and boardwalks. Francois doesn't have any roads but traffic’s not a problem; there aren't any cars either.
From Francois, the pair head east to one of the most historic towns on the island, Trinity. Located an hour off the Trans-Canada Highway from Clarenville on the Bonavista Peninsula, Trinity features gorgeous historic architecture, numerous accommodations, fantastic restaurants, and world-class theatre. The biggest feature for Chris and Becki, however, was seeing their families for the first time in over a year. That and the chance to fly alongside a pod of beautiful humpback whales!
Now begins the long trip home across Newfoundland, with Quirpon as their last stop. With fog in the background, a towering lighthouse and waves crashing against the cliffs, landing on the helipad here was, in Becki's words, “quintessential Newfoundland.” And staying in the historic 1922 Lighthouse Inn on a secluded island was just the piece of vacation their vacation needed! This piece of paradise is the very meaning of getting away from it all, and you can feel the satisfaction and relaxation pour over our storytellers as they drink it all in.
And the why of it? Chris “...always fantasized about being able to fly around Newfoundland; to see the most remote parts of it from the sky.” Mission accomplished. Now, personal helicopter isn't the normal vehicle our visitors take, yet when asked what advice they might have for travellers to Newfoundland and Labrador, Becki and Chris had lots to offer. Most importantly, Chris says, is to “...come with an open mind, knowing that this is off the beaten path and the appeal is that you're getting a totally unique experience”.
And he’s right. This is a place where the weather can change in an instant. Where there's beauty in a drizzly, foggy day, the sound of a foghorn in the distance, and the gentle spray of a humpback in the harbour. And that's where Becki and Chris really shine – these videos don't just tell you the story, they make you feel it.
And the best part is, you don't have to land a helicopter on a dime to get here.
To check out the Cold Island mini-series, click here.