One of the problems with visiting ‘wilderness’ destinations is that they are rarely suitable for people with accessibility issues. So when we anchored outside St Anthony this morning, we faced a dilemma.

St Anthony is a very small town, population circa 2200, located in the extreme north of Newfoundland (so small it only has one Tim Hortons restaurant). It’s a functional place with little of interest for tourists other than unpaved hiking trails across the rugged landscape. There are just three geocaches nearby, none of which are mobility-scooter accessible.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, we decided not to disembark. There is simply not enough to do in town to justify the hassle of tendering into port. And it seems we made the right decision.

A picture of Linda and Ben with St Anthony visible in the background
This was as close as we got to St Anthony – but the view of the whales was better from the ship anyway

Tender nightmare

When visiting a small port, the queues to catch a tender from ship to shore tend to be quite long. Usually, you collect a ticket and wait until your number is called. By about 10am the queues have shortened and tickets are no longer required.

Not so in St Anthony. Today we were still hearing announcements for tender tickets and queues at 2:45pm. And the last return tender was scheduled for 5pm. We could see the queue for people hoping to return to ship from our balcony – fellow cruisers claimed it was a two-hour wait. Anyone leaving the ship this afternoon would have had a matter of minutes on shore before having to come back.

What is there to do in St Anthony?

  • Iceberg and whale watching
  • Coastal hikes and walks
  • Grenfell House, former home of St Anthony hospital founder Sir Wilfred Grenfell
  • Some generic shops

Unfortunately, even the Newfoundland and Labrador tourist board struggles to promote the St Anthony.

For a town with little to offer, this seemed far more trouble than it was worth. Sorry St Anthony.

Staying onboard Island Princess

Rather than add to the madness, we spent the day sat on the sun loungers in the Lotus Pool area on Deck 14. This allowed me to catch up on some work and make good progress on my third novel, Misrepresented.

Better yet, we were able to watch whales frolicking off-shore as we relaxed, which was very cool.

Top tip: A pair of binoculars is a cruise essential. Without them we would not have been able to watch the whales or to fully admire the beauty of the Newfoundland landscape.

Apeman BC70 binoculars

Linda spent a long time researching binoculars before buying me a pair of Apeman BC70 binoculars. These are compact, lightweight and can be easily thrown into a backpack for travelling on- or off-shore. The Apeman BC70 seems to be hard to come by these days, but the same model is available under various brandnames – including OYU like the ones shown here.

These are excellent for whale watching, iceberg viewing and scanning coastlines and city skylines.

Well-worth a few dollars/pounds.

Bad news after leaving St Anthony

As we pulled away from St Anthony, the Captain made a ship-wide announcement. Our next two ports, Qaqortoq and Nanortalik, have been cancelled because both harbours are blocked by icebergs. Our ship will not be able to get into port safely.

In a change of itinerary, the Captain has negotiated a visit to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, instead. It’s a 900+ nautical mile journey almost due north, travelling at just 10 knots.

We’ve never been to Nuuk, which is cool, but I doubt it has the same tiny village charm of the smaller ports. We had been really looking forward to our return visit.

But as one of our fellow cruisers noted, ‘It’s an adventure!’. Given that the captain has never been to Nuuk either, I think he may be right.

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