Tourism: the backbone of many economies, allows our communities to be more diverse, and lets us embark on adventures we may not know how or be able to enjoy otherwise. Newfoundland is known for its rocky coast, peppered with puffins and gulls and pounded by waves. The waters in the Spring teeming with icebergs. O’Brien’s Boat Tours, located in beautiful Bay Bulls, Newfoundland, is the perfect way for tourists to safely explore and learn about our unique coastline.
We recently had the opportunity to be tourists in our own community (one of our fave activities!) with O’Brien’s on their Award Winning Boat Tour. Wow guys, seriously, what a morning! We drove out to Bay Bulls around 11:00 am and climbed on board the Atlantic Puffin. On the drive out, it snowed and snowed…in May. As soon as the boat started to sail out of the harbor, the clouds parted and revealed a sunny, blue sky. It was meant to be! The first thing we saw was a huge iceberg, grounded right in the harbor.
The tour takes you to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, home to half a million puffins! And let me tell you guys, puffins are the cutest creatures you will ever lay your eyes on. Their tiny bodies flutter awkwardly through the air but glide gracefully through the water. There are so many of them and they fly so close to the boat, even the most amateur photographer is bound to get a good shot. Did you know that puffins are the provincial bird of Newfoundland?
The tour guide, Matthew, and Captain Justin were very knowledgeable and were able to answer any question we had about puffins, icebergs, and anything Newfoundland. The bartender, Duncan, was so accommodating and fun to talk to. We enjoyed the whole ride out snapping photos, enjoying the scenery, and chatting with Matthew on the top deck, which in my opinion provides the best view. On the way back to land, we hung out on the lower deck, which is heated (thank goodness!!), and mingled with other tourists. The Atlantic Puffin offers everything you will need and more, including local beers.
Altogether, we saw three icebergs. They are beautiful and fascinating…and old. 10,000 to 15,000 years old! Newfoundlanders, I think, tend to take them for granted. After touring with O’Brien’s, I think everybody should add “seeing an iceberg” to their bucket list.
You might notice in the photo above that for May, I am dressed pretty warmly. Well turns out that May in Newfoundland feels more like October and when you’re sailing in the Atlantic Ocean, it feels even colder. I bundled up in layers upon layers, topped off with a sweater knit by Nan, my ‘Froze ta det’ beanie by Figgyduff Dory, and my locally-made puffin mittens. This was the perfect ensemble for our O’Brien’s adventure.
There really is something about hearing the waves crashing and watching the gentle swell of the ocean. We could not have asked for a better Springtime adventure. This was a perfect day! Educational, exhilarating, and all-around enjoyable. Thanks a million to the team at O’Brien’s for having us and for working their hardest to ensure we had the best time possible; it is easy to tell that they take pride in what they do.
Pro-tip: when your boat tour ends, enjoy lunch at their on-site restaurant. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we were there. So if the same thing happens to you, take the short and scenic drive over to Petty Harbour and get some grub at Chafe’s Landing. The atmosphere is so quaint and warm, and they will fill your belly with delicious (and so affordable!) local seafood.
Have you been to O’Brien’s out in Bay Bulls? Tag us in your O’Brien’s photos and tell us your story! What tourist-y things do you do in your home province/state/city/country? Drop us a comment! We love hearing from our readers!
Be sure to check out O’Brien’s on social media, @obrienstours!