As an island, placed in the Atlantic Ocean, with the majority of our population surrounding the coastline, there’s no wonder so many of our songs are saltwater loving related. Most of us have been born and raised by the water and want to share our passion with others. The folks at Ocean Quest Adventures have perfected a Newfoundland ocean experience that is full of wonders and hidden treasures.
Dubbed the most photographed town in Newfoundland, it’s very easy to see why Petty Harbour is often listed on must see small towns to visit in Canada. Located about 20 minutes from downtown St. John’s, you’ll take a winding scenic road through forests and along the shoreline to get here. Follow the road along the coast towards the harbour and you will soon find the Ocean Quest Adventures facility.
Stepping out of your car, the saltwater hits you right away, a scent most Newfoundlanders describe as home. Allow yourself a moment to take in the beauty of the charming town of Petty Harbour including the colourful punts and dory’s docked in shore, before you make your way towards the dock. Once inside, you are greeted by none other than the “Chief Happiness Officer”, John Oliver, or Johnny O. Here you will sign your waivers, get fitted for your life jacket and be debriefed about your adventure that day.
After you are helped into the zodiac boat, Johnny O will give you his speech on the “Four Pillars of Adventure Success”. The first pillar is the “Foundation of Trust” where he discusses the safety procedures regarding your adventure that day. The second pillar being “Respect” which relates to your fellow boat patrons and the rules of the boat. He also discusses the respect for mother nature and the wildlife you might see on your tour. At Ocean Quest they have what they call the “Zero Impact Adventure” which is all about making sure everyone’s comfortable and guests can have a greater understanding of the creatures that surround us.
The third pillar, which is probably one of the best pillars is “Fun”! Johnny O’s official title really is “Chief Happiness Officer” and it shows. He is there to make sure everyone is having a great time! The last pillar of success is “Education”. They believe that every great adventure has an educational component. These four pillars will guarantee that if the rules are followed, you are bound to have a great time out on the water.
After Johnny’s speech, he’ll start up the zodiac and you’ll make your way out to sea. Watch the waves splash along the weathered coastline. See the seabirds soar in the morning sky and even spot a puffin or two racing on top of the water. Depending on the time of year you may even see icebergs, whales, orcas, or dolphins!
The first stop on the tour is Kittiwake Cove, home to hundreds of Kittiwakes on the cliffs. Spot this year’s Kittiwakes waiting to learn to fly while a symphony of squawking is heard. Johnny O explains how this section is perfect for the kittiwakes to raise their young as it is separated and protected from natural predators.
Onward you’ll go along the coast to view the East Coast Trail from a new perspective. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a bald eagle stalking the sky along the way. Here you will also see a bevy of beautiful waterfalls; however, the best is yet to come.
Ocean Quest will zip through Pirates Cove where you squeeze past adjacent cliffs and catch a glimpse of The Spout from the ECT. So far it has been an incredible journey, but you aren’t even at the most famous location yet, “Jurassic Park”.
South of The Spout, is a location nicknamed “Jurassic Park” by the staff of Ocean Quest, it is one of the most magical stops on your adventure. Here, you’ll be greeted by sea stacks that scrape the sky and an eagle’s nest perched on top. If you look closely you may be able to see the large bird resting with its young. Just at the mouth of the sea stack is a cave that looks as if it were carved by Poseidon himself.
At the entrance of the cave is a curtain of water — hiding the secret of the mesmerizing cove behind. Be sure to snap a few photos with the waterfall before venturing into the cave. The boat will gently crawl into the cave where the feeling is enchanting and other worldly. The mist of the waterfall slowly rises off the sea and the sound of waves splash against the walls; it seems as if a mermaid could pop out at any moment.
You’ll finish your tour with one last look of the seabirds, the never ending horizon, and the craggy coastline on your way back to the harbour. Stepping off the boat you will feel sea drunk with a day well spent out on the North Atlantic.
Things to note:
This 90 minute tour can be extended to 3 hours for those who are craving a whole day at sea. You can also book other incredible ocean adventures like snorkelling and cod fishing through Ocean Quest. For more information about Ocean Quest Adventures click here or check out their promo video.
Accessibility: This adventure would not be considered fully accessible as you will need to be able to climb into the zodiac boat from the dock.