In the 18th Century, the French used the port of Louisbourg as their base while their fleet patrolled the Gulf of St. Lawrence guarding against foreign incursions. On this special itinerary aboard the M/V Akademik Ioffe,
we too will set forth from this historic port and travel through this region that offers an abundance of bird life, marine mammals and fascinating landforms in addition to unique fishing and Celtic cultures. Beaches and lagoons provide ample viewing opportunities for shorebirds and as we cruise towards the mouth of the St. Lawrence River we hope to see baleen whales such as the Humpback, Minke and Blue Whale as well as Grey Seals and Harp Seals. At Bird Island, we will look for a concentration of Bald Eagles along the beaches. In Gaspé, we will see the famous Percé Rock and visit the immense and internationally important colony of the charismatic Northern Gannets at Bonaventure! A bonus of this tour is a visit to Sable Island, home to the famous Sable Island Ponies, breeding Roseate Terns and the almost exclusive nesting ground of the Ipswich Sparrow.
This is an area rich in wildlife and our onboard naturalists will be spotting, identifying and interpreting the wildlife around us. As we sail, we will be accompanied by a Cape Breton fiddler and an East Coast musician with a focus on the musical culture of the small fishing communities. On the occasion of Canada’s sesquicentennial year, we are including a day in Charlottetown, a place of particular significance in Canada’s history. Join us on this circle-tour of the distinctive region in the heart of Canada’s Atlantic region!
Itinerary at a Glance
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Day 1: Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Day 2: Sable Island
Day 3: Bird Island and Englishtown
Day 4: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Day 5: The Magdalen Islands (Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
Day 6: Bonaventure Island and the Gaspé Peninsula
Day 7: Anticosti Island
Day 8: Gros Morne National Park
Day 9: François
Day 10: St-Pierre and Miquelon
Day 11: Disembark in Louisbourg
The M/V Akademik Ioffe is a Russian-flagged vessel built in 1989 in Finland. She is 117 metres long and travels at a maximum speed of 14.5 knots. She carries 96 passengers and 63 crew. An extremely experienced captain and crew and an ice-strengthened hull provides an exceptionally safe combination for expedition cruising. Designed as a scientific research vessel, she has undergone extensive refitting and refurbishment over the last five years oriented towards her role as an expedition cruise vessel. This small number of passengers, matched with 10 Zodiacs and an equal number of experienced expedition staff, means that excursions are in depth and up close.
Aaron Lawton, alumnus of the University of British Columbia, develops the Polar program for One Ocean Expeditions, bringing a strong commitment to conservation in the Polar Regions. Over the last decade, Aaron has been expedition leader or kayak guide on about a hundred trips to the Canadian Arctic, the Antarctic Peninsula and Svalbard.