Yes, we did a tour on a pond. But pond’s are not big you say? Well, in Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, a pond is their word for lake and one particular pond we came across was the Western Brook pond, located on the western edge of the Gros Morne National park.
To be honest, it’s actually a fjord. However this is one fjord which has been on our ‘bucket list’ for a while and when in Newfoundland, it just had to be ticked off. We booked our tickets with BonTours in advance as during the ‘tourist season’ (which runs from July to August due to the weather around these parts) it can be extremely busy, and collected them from their ticket booth located in Ocean View Hotel. It is easier to book or collect tickets from here, as we were told that the credit card machine might not work at Western Brook pond due to its location and connecting the machine to a server.
Starting early from our hotel in Rocky Harbor, we drove twenty minutes north on route 430 until we saw a signpost on the right hand sign saying ‘Western Brook Pond’. If visitors are running late and have to drive to this location, don’t speed. There are moose and bears lurking in the trees but we didn’t see any that morning. It was a splendid drive with the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to our left and the mountains appearing above the forests to the right. After parking up we can tell you know that the toilet block here came in very handy. After this point, it will take forty-five minutes to an hour to walk to Western Brook Pond.
It’s a strange pond (or lake) or even fjord. If we are talking about fjords, we are thinking this is the only fjord we have come across in the world which isn’t connected to the sea. We were walking past mini ponds and land between the sea and the fjord. Don’t get me wrong, the walk is very pleasant on the gravel track, with no sounds apart from birds in the trees nearby, but still, the fjord isn’t connected to the sea. Our minds were going into overdrive.
We arrived at the pond to see a huge crowd of people had got here even earlier than us to get the best seats on the boat. The boats were small, with two storeys and everyone wanted the top deck (as there was limited seating). I can’t be bothered to play that game anymore and just made sure we had a nice cup of tea from the cafe here (and an emergency toilet stop just in case the water got rough during the boat tour). It was first thing in the morning, a hike was done, nature was cooling and we had cups of tea. What more could make us happy….
Well, this….the view of the opening of the fjord. What a sight! I for sure had trouble to think of ways of describing this scene but simply stunning!
On the boat we met our two tour guides. A fantastic guy in his forties (I am guessing) who put so much energy when it came to describing stuff along the route and providing information. He would make a great soccer stadium announcer. The young lady did all the French (Quebec-dialect) language to which I understood and was trying to translate some words from their dialect to the French spoken back in France. It was all a learning curve. Still the two tour guides made the announcements very enjoyable to listen to.
The views were simply amazing as we rode into the heart of the fjord. This has to be one boat tour we won’t forget in a hurry, the dramatic settings made sure of that. We rode all sixteen kilometers of the lake to the eastern end (which has a depth of 165 meters) and not for one second did we take our eyes of the views. We saw waterfalls cascading down from 2000 feet, one of which is named Pissing Mare Falls (which we couldn’t stop giggling about). We tried to spot the fish here ranging from Atlantic Salmon, Arctic Char and Brook Trout. Did we see the colony of cliff nesting gulls? Sadly we did not.
We reached the eastern end of the fjord where the boat dropped off a few hikers who were going to hike for a few days to reach the summit of the mountain called Gros Morne (to which the national park is named after). Good luck to them, they had to fend for themselves. No toilets, no shops, no nothing. Just forest where the bears and moose like to play.
Arriving back after our two hour tour we decided to have some food before the hike back to the car. They do a good barbecue outside the cafe and had some of the finest hot dogs I have ever had.
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A personal note from us – the tour with BonTours was paid for by ourselves and was not sponsored in anyway by the company. The opinions in this post are our own and is totally honest. We would like to thank the staff for making the tour an enjoyable one, one we will never forget and we totally recommend anyone to do this when in Newfoundland.