Marine Atlantic - A Truly Unique Travel Adventure

by Darrell Mercer

There is something special about a summer road trip that can make any seasoned traveller sit back and reflect upon the experience. As a child, there was always an excitement when our family would pack up the car and head out for vacation, especially when we would board the ferry and travel to Nova Scotia. The distinct smell of salt water with a hint of marine diesel exhaust always indicated that adventure lay ahead. With this in mind, I boarded the MV Atlantic Vision in Argentia on a sunny July evening heading for North Sydney, with a return trip through Port aux Basques on the MV Blue Puttees planned for the next day. Let the adventure begin!

As I drove on board the vessel, I couldn’t help but notice the diversity of our customer base as Canadian, American and European tourists seemed to be everywhere. Their excited reaction to seeing Placentia Bay on a bright summer day was very telling. Your senses come alive with the beautiful panoramic views, the sounds of waves and seabirds, the wind brushing your face, the unique ocean smell, and the subtle taste of salty air as it blows off the water.

Being a Newfoundlander, I never get tired of being by the ocean. For the many tourists on board the vessel, they were likely experiencing this for the first time. The smiling faces told a story, their amazement as they pointed out islands on the horizon, and the ongoing hope that the ripple on the water was a whale getting ready to breach.

As we headed through Placentia Bay, the outside decks became less crowded as people headed inside for food and refreshments. There were lots of happy people enjoying a meal as they looked out the window to the sun setting behind a lingering fog on the horizon. A young couple was even discussing what time they would have to get up to see their first ocean sunrise.

On the return trip through Port aux Basques, you could again feel the excitement amongst the many customers. I listened to a senior citizen who could barely contain his passion as he discussed his days at sea and how much vessels have improved over the years. There were kids standing by the railing in total fascination with the size of the boat. There were customers who felt like they were on a cruise ship. And cameras, dozens and dozens of cameras!

Whether it is the adventure, our crews who deliver the experience, or the promise of the trip ahead, there are thousands of stories that are made possible by Marine Atlantic’s service each year. As we pulled into Port aux Basques and the sheer natural beauty of its hearty landscape, I heard an American couple remark, “why would you fly, you would miss all of this.” I couldn’t have summarized a Marine Atlantic journey any better.