Icebergs and whales galore! Take a virtual tour of Bonavista Bay

With an early season for whale and iceberg sightings, tour operators in Newfoundland and Labrador would typically be taking boats out into the bay by now, while tourists make their spring and summer bookings.

Instead, there are only calls of cancellations — if the phone rings at all.

For Trinity Eco-Tours, it’s an unprecedented time. If it weren’t for the COVID-19 crisis, skipper Bob Bartlett said, his company Trinity Eco-Tours would have already started its season.

“It’s definitely going to affect our revenue. The government is trying to help out as best it can … but it’s not the long-term solution. And the effects are going to be long felt.”

With flattening the curve and safe social distancing in mind, CBC NL teamed up with Skipper Bob to bring you a stunning tour around Trinity and Bonavista Bay.

The first stop on the tour is Ragged Rock Cove. 

Bartlett and his first mate, Bonnie McGrath, pull up alongside a pair of icebergs that tower more than 20 feet high — pretty impressive, considering 90 per cent of that iceberg is hidden below the water’s surface. 

From there, it’s a cruise over to Cape Bonavista to see another berg that’s grounded off the coast.

“This snow [in this iceberg] actually fell somewhere between 15 and 30,000 years ago,” said Bartlett.

According to the skipper, this massive chunk of ice cracked off the west coast of Greenland and likely floated for two or three years before arriving in his backyard. 

More than 90 per cent of this iceberg, grounded near Bonavista Bay, lies beneath the surface. (Submitted by Trinity Eco-Tours)

Tour operators have Iceberg Alley to thank for the bergs. The deep water channel runs from the coast of Labrador down along the southeast coast of the island.  

“They more or less get locked in with the tides so they stay for the duration of the season, usually.”

We’ve all got to pull together.– Skipper Bob Bartlett

As for what the rest of the season has in store, Bartlett remains hopeful that people in his home province will step up to support the local industry once it is safe to do so. 

“We’ve all got to pull together. Everybody can have the best time right here in the Atlantic provinces and support each other. I can’t emphasize that enough,” he said. 

“People from all around the world come here because of what we have … so get out there and enjoy.”

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