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The Big Ferry to Newfoundland

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We had originally scheduled to take the morning ferry to Channel-Port aux Basques [pronounced "Basks"] in Newfoundland, but due to trailer issues we were forced to reschedule for the night crossing. We actually got there too early to get in; they said we had to wait until 7:00 pm or later. So we had to leave and kill some time. We found a shopping center outside of North Sydney and parked in a remote area for a few hours and listened to some sides.

Before you go, be sure to look up the street layout around the ferry in New Sydney. Although highway 105 dumps directly into the loading area, if you come in some other way you may be in for an adventure. Our GPS led us astray the second time we went back to the ferry so we got to participate in just such an adventure. Moral: If you find yourself on route 305 or some surface road, try to backtrack and get onto 105.

The Google Earth photo to the right should give you a good idea what to expect. Enlarge it and you will see that the yellow lines shown just past the 305 overpass are the entry lanes to the guard houses. You can also see that the road to the left is actually an exit lane.

[click to enlarge]
[click to enlarge]

Also note that as you approach the ferry area entrance, don't be tempted to go up the steep ramp on the left - that's an exit ramp. Rather, bear right and go to the guardhouses.

Once we got into the loading area around 7:30 pm, it took until around 9 pm to start loading. It took around 2 hours to complete the loading process, and I think we finally drove onto the ferry around 11. When we asked how many vehicles the ferry could handle, they said it depended on the mix of cars, RVs and semis, but it could hold up to 100 semis if there were no other vehicles. Note that semis are the principle means for getting food and supplies over to NL, so any given trip will have its share of semis.

We left our three dogs in the truck, with ample food and water. We put down lots of pee pads just in case, but they weren't used. Taking the night ferry turned out to be fortunate since the dogs probably went to sleep fairly soon. They were still sleeping in the morning when we got back to the truck. Also, the temps are much lower at night over the water.

The ferry didn't actually get under way until close to 12. The ride over to Port-aux-Basques took about 6 hours.

Speaking of dogs, There is grass in front of the building to the right of the queueing lanes [look for the flagpole] where your dogs can get a last minute pee before going onto the ferry. The big building also has a restaurant if you arrive early and are feeling peckish.

Once you get on board, there is a restaurant and coffee shop, and there seemed to be plenty of reclining seats. There is also a deck with reserved seating where the chairs are a little nicer, but you have to go down a level to get to the food area. If you prefer, there are cabins to be had but make sure you reserve early to ensure you get one.

If you think you are prone to seasickness, be sure to take some Dramamine before the trip. There are also barf bags on the walls in the passenger areas.

Here is a nice little blog about taking an RV on the short ferry over to Newfoundland. I admit the photos are nicer that the ones we took .

Click here to see photos of the big ferry to Newfoundland.

Other Ferries

As a matter of interest, besides the big ferry to NL we also took three other ferries back and forth during our time in the Canadian Maritimes. They were all interesting and enjoyable. On each we were able to take our truck and dogs along.

Click here to see photos of the ferry at Hardings Point campground.
Click here to see photos of the ferry to St. Brendan's Island.
Click here to see photos of the ferry to Bell Island.

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