Iceberg, Right Ahead!

Moving here for work, and making friends with people who have lived here all their lives, I didn’t do a lot of touristy things right off. However, I love touristy things. I’m a sucker for museums. And tours. And seeing the sights. Loves it all, I does. So when people come to visit me, I thrill at the possibilities.

My first summer here, I lucked out – a friend from vet school, who was still in school, got a summer job out in Clarenville, Newfoundland. This is only a few short hours from St John’s, and so there were plans to meet up and do some touristy things she didn’t get to do when she first arrived with her dad. The big thing on our to do list? WHALE WATCHING BOAT TOUR.

This is something that was totally on my bucket list, I can’t even begin to tell you.

So we booked ourselves on a tour with O’Brien’s for Saturday, June 6, 2009.  These tours promise a chance for icebergs, whales, and puffins. The only guarantee is that you’ll see puffins, but seeing puffins was super high on my Newfoundland Wish List, so I was pumped!

We head out to Bay Bulls, find the place, and attempt to have a snack at the cafe. . . where we received the worst service I’ve ever experienced. We literally watched every table around us get service while we were full on ignored. Pretty sure we weren’t wearing invisibility cloaks, but whatever. A waitress eventually took our order, but then food never arrived. When we went to inquire/complain we found out our order never got put through. At that point it was too late, we had to get on the boat. They gave us a free muffin each for our trouble, but in the future I’ll plan to eat AFTER the tour. Just to be safe.

That was the ONLY grey cloud on the whole day. The boat tour itself? AMAZING. Un-freakin-believably amazing.

This was the boat we road on! Atlantic Puffin for the win!

On the boat there are a few guides, who regale you with all kinds of tidbits, stories and factoids. They even sang us a few songs at one point. I’m pretty sure I learned stuff on that tour, though I maybe at this moment can’t remember overly much of what I learned . . . but I remember it all being very interesting!


First goal: an iceberg in the harbour. Ever seen an iceberg close up? They are EPIC.

I'm on a boat! In front of an iceberg! YOU WISH YOU WERE ME!

We did a nice turn about the iceberg, learning all about how awesome icebergs are (and how dangerous they are if you get too close.) My pictures don’t even do justice to how amazing it looked. Just going through them to write this entry has made me sad that I didn’t see any icebergs this past year. . . I might have to go on an iceberg hunt this year to make up for it!

When you go on these tours, there either is an iceberg, or there isn’t an iceberg. There’s no question, they don’t hide, they don’t move that fast. The whales, however, the whales are the tricky bit. You never know if they will be about. There are a few tours a day, and at the headquarters they have a board that says how many whales have been spotted that day, that season, etc. The boat before us hadn’t seen a whale. You hope for at least one. The iceberg was awesome, I was pumped for puffins, but no whales would’ve been a bit sad.

We didn’t get just one whale. We got about SIX.

I have spotted whales a number of times, and I NEVER GET TIRED OF IT. Seriously. These are some seriously epic animals.

We spotted a whole pod having a time, and went right near ‘em, and they showed off for us. Flipping their fins, not going far . . . one even breeched for us! It was AMAZING. I could have sat out there all day. They are so gorgeous, and HUGE, and graceful, and powerful . . . and just, just, just… AWESOME. Seriously. There are no words.

We did eventually have to leave the whales and move on to the puffins. I had no idea how small they are!

They're so round! And little! An black and white! And have sad faces! GAH! SO CUTE!

They are like potatoes with wings! SO FRICKIN’ CUTE! And there’s so many of them! Weeheeheehee! My true bird love is the penguin. All of the penguins. However, puffins are pretty darned close to penguins! And they live in Newfoundland!

To recap, puffins remind me of potatoes, and penguins – two of my favourite things – and they live in Newfoundland, JUST LIKE ME. 50 million bonus cool points for Puffins! WOOT WOOT!

All in all, an AMAZING day. I have yet to go again, but I would love to. Come visit me, and we’ll go on a boat tour!

About dottiemaggie

A veterinarian living and working in St John's, Newfoundland. I love my job, and I love my home. Professionally I am passionate about critical care and client education. Away from work I am passionate about enjoying life, spending time with friends, enjoying hobbies of all sorts, and exploring this wonderful province I call home.
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14 Responses to Iceberg, Right Ahead!

  1. Susan says:

    May I visit you without having to go on a boat tour?

  2. JaniceP says:

    Ooh – I’d fly out there just for the boat tour. I saw whales when I was in Bamfield… will always regret that I didn’t go on a boat tour while in Les Iles de la Madeleine.

  3. Kana says:

    Although I can honestly say “wish-I’d-been-there,” I’ve had my fair share of icebergs, whales and poor marina service. Haven’t seen puffins though; WAY COOL! They look pretty cute.

  4. linlah says:

    Are there enough penguins in the world for both of us to love them.

  5. Kate says:

    I’m totally taking you up on that. The iceberg looks AMAZING! And you are so adorable. If they could clone you, I would totally order one! 😉 It’s been such a long time since I went on a whale watching adventure…it was awesome (as a teen I think, but in the summer on the East coast around NY or CT). I could be totally wrong.

    As I was watching the whale video I was thinking what it would be like for you to take care of that kind of animal? Do you ever take care of large animals? The vet that we go to (since I was 6, so more than 2 decades) does large animals 4 days a week (well really 6, because as far as I can tell he’s about 100 and works 24/7) and then on Thursdays he does 12+ hours for cats and dogs and such. Whenever I call he’s on the road going to deal with a horse about to give birth or a sick cow. As fascinated as I am with your stories of vetting (that sounds like a dirty word) I would think providing care for big animals would be a whole different ball game.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      I don’t do large animals… I do learn about horses and cows and such in school (not whales, though… that’s a bit too exotic!). It is a rather different kind of medicine, and I didn’t hate it… bit I didn’t love it. There aren’t so much “mixed animal vets” in newfoundland (vets who do both large and small), just small animal vets and large animal vets. In the large animal world, in some areas, it’s often also further broken down as food animal vets (cows) and equine vets (horses) – because farm animals vs sport animals can be very different!

      If I had to treat any species, I could, the knowledge is basically there. . . or, at the very least, the resources 😉 But I wouldn’t be my first choice for any large animal issue!

  6. omawarisan says:

    As much as I live by the principle that ice belongs only in beverages, I think I want to come see an iceberg

    • dottiemaggie says:

      have you ever had a beverage with iceberg ice in it? OR made with iceberg water? 😀 We have iceberg beer here. It’s pretty good.

      Sadly, the Jolie is not here for iceberg season, or I’m sure we’d go hunt one up together…

  7. Audubon Ron says:

    Spectacular!! You vets always get the best gig.

    • dottiemaggie says:

      haha, I think so! ;D Someone recently asked me to come back to Ottawa to be their vet… to which I responded “I’ll return to Ottawa when Ottawa gets an ocean!” ;D

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