Phase 1: Part 4 – Newfoundland & Labrador Edition; North America

The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 4 Route in North America
The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 4 Route in North America

 

A Close-up of The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 4 Route in North America
A Close-up of The Voyage of Discovery Phase 1: Part 4 Route in North America

 

 

Theme: The Voyage of Discovery    Phase Phase 1: Part 4 Country: United States of America (USA)  & Canada     Language:   English      Unit of Currency: US dollars & Canadian dollars    Location: USA: Maine, Michigan, and Pennsylvania | Canada: Labrador, New Brunswick, Newfoundland,  Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario    Year: 2015   Bucket list: Reaching the Eastern most point of North America (Cape Spear, Newfoundland) and Seeing an iceberg in the “wild”

This post is a dedication to all the kind-spirited people that I met in Newfoundland & Labrador. Even after my Jeep Wrangler, Oakley, was broken into, the positivity and smiles that I was embraced with was just what I needed at that particular time.

Having someone steal from you has left me with a series of emotions – anger, sympathy, and hurt. Anger ties with the emotion of being violated, sympathy has me wondering why they felt that they needed to steal from me, and hurt has left me with disappointment. I am finding that there are many people with good intentions, but there are also those with bad ones. This event in my life has made me realize that not everyone in the world has the same values and principles as I do. And, that my expectations for how humans should behave, may not always live up to my standards.

I hate to admit it, but it was the first time in my life when I did not want to travel that day.  With the thoughtfulness of City Hostel in St. John’s, the tourist center in Deer Lake, Brackley Beach Hostel, Ocean Quest Adventure Resort, and a few humble souls that I met along the way, they all reminded me that there are awesome people in the world. Bottom line, there are going to be many obstacles that stand before you and achieving your hopes and dreams, and in the light of the moment, you have to keep pushing yourself to not only achieve greatness, but to find the inner drive to keep moving forward. With that being said, I will continue to travel around the world.

Middle of Nowhere Quote; Deer Lake Visitor Center, Newfoundland; 2015

 

ADRENALINE:

  • Driving and ferrying to Newfoundland & Labrador

In order to reach the Eastern most point of North America in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and witness an iceberg in the “wild” in Labrador, it was evident that my younger brother, Josh, and I would have to embark on our first road trip driving Eastern Canada.

Beware of Bears; Maine, USA; 2015
Beware of Bears; Maine, USA; 2015

 

To be honest, many of my good mates told me to skip Newfoundland & Labrador and just drive out to Vancouver, Western Canada. I explained to them that a “world tour” involves traveling to some of the most remote locations in the world.

Open Road; Channel-Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland; 2015
Open Road; Channel-Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland; 2015

 

Newfoundland & Labrador mostly comprises smaller towns and a few bigger cities (Conception Bay South, Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Grand Falls-Windsor, Labrador City, Saint John’s, etc.), and there were quite a few towns where not many tourists have adventured. I could go on and on about the uniqueness of the region, but instead I will post photographs for you to see just how amazing these destinations were!

Canada Border Crossing; 2015
Canada Border Crossing; 2015

 

We limited our trip to 2 main ferry routes – the 8-hour crossing between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and later a short route (2 hours) from St. Barbe, Newfoundland and Blanc Sablon, Quebec.

The weather was perfect for August – we hiked in shorts and t-shirts in the Canadian National Parks, Provincial Parks, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites during the day, and in the evenings we would put on trousers and a hoodie. Daylight was in our favor, as it stayed light for 13+ hours. The biggest concern for wildlife was moose, so I wanted to take full advantage of driving in the day time. I was able to mostly drive during the day to our destinations, but every now and again we would night drive. Josh was stoked to get a tally of 3 moose displayed at night to and from Saint John’s, Newfoundland. My 2010 Jeep Wrangler has a 2.5 inch lift, and the moose seemed to tower over the Jeep! I do not even want to think about the damage that could be done!

 

  • Driving to L’Anse aux Meadows, the Northern most tip of Newfoundland and following the Viking Trail – Vinland
Welcome to Vinland; Newfoundland; 2015
Welcome to Vinland; Newfoundland; 2015

 

The most northern tip of Newfoundland is the region that most call “Vinland.” Here European settlers of Norse or Viking heritage remained residents building sod houses and living off the land. This in result became a famous site of North America portraying the life of the Vikings and leading us onto the Viking Trail. Coincidentally, L’Anse aux Meadows is an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 and a popular tourist destination. Once you follow the end of the Viking Trail, there is a colossal sized Leif Erikson statue greeting your acquaintance.

 

 

  • Jumping on a small boat and getting close to an iceberg

Everyone onboard the ship of my recent project in Colombia will tell you that for weeks I would check the Newfoundland & Labrador iceberg website religiously every morning and night. My main focus for this particular segment of the world tour was to see icebergs in the “wild,” and with the help of this website I was able to load a map and detect icebergs within this region. The map was a clear representation of where icebergs have been seen each day, and provided the symbol of a white iceberg near the location that it had been witnessed. It had also given me ideas of how to watch icebergs (boat tours, kayak, and from land), iceberg safety (how close to approach an iceberg), and best time of the year to view them (May and June is best for viewing; notice August is not part of this list).

For several weeks, I had emailed tour excursion companies in the Newfoundland and Labrador area inquiring about iceberg viewing. Most of them told me that the time I will be arriving in the area is too late for icebergs and that they will already be melted. Then there were ones that wanted an insane amount of money to “potentially” see icebergs. The highest that I found was $350 Canadian dollars, and the lowest was $275 Canadian dollars. Thankfully I waited until I was in Labrador to find a fisherman to take us to an iceberg in Red Bay.

It was shortly after we visited the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station and asked the local taxi driver/previous cod fisherman/ and natural encounters guide of Gull Island Charters, Truman, to schedule us for an early evening tour of the iceberg in Red Bay. He excitedly said” Of course, I will take you!” And, for a deal of $30 Canadian dollars, the iceberg was soon in sight.

Iceberg viewing in Red Bay, Labrador:

With this little background about my research for icebergs, you can see why I was ecstatic in this video when I was able to approach an iceberg in the “wild” and watch it from the safety of a small fishing boat. Sometimes words cannot describe how one’s feeling, so this video and photographs were the perfect souvenirs from the day.

Thank you Truman and Gull Island Charters for an incredible experience!

 

After viewing an iceberg and interviewed on CFBS Quebec/Labrador local radio station, Josh and I both could eat a whale (but not literally)! Considering that all restaurants in the Labrador area closed early (8pm), the Whaler’s Restaurant was happy to stay open long enough for us to get food to go. The service was great, the food was delicious, and our new mate Stephanie, a local studying at Saint John’s Memorial University, was really sweet.

  • Partaking in Toronto’s CN Tower adventure, the Edgewalk

If you recall from a previous tour Phase 1: Part 2 – Québec and Ontario Canadian Edition; North America, the Edgewalk adrenaline-filled activity was not open yet. Even though I had to re-enter Canada twice (once for my Newfoundland & Labrador trip) and the second time for this particular excursion on CN Tower,  I knew that this might be my last chance to harness myself off of Toronto’s highest tower, the CN Tower. I did not have a problem entering the country twice, my Jeep tends to get a lot of attention and I usually get questions about the world tour.

In fact, in the previous year, I have had remarkable impressions from the immigration and checkpoints within Canada. I know a few of you are following along for the world tour, so thank you for your kindness and support! It’s nice to have a smooth border crossing!

EdgeWalk-2 EdgeWalk-29 EdgeWalk-11 EdgeWalk-44EdgeWalk-8

Exploring the rest of CN Tower and Toronto:

 

 

  • Reaching the Northern most point, Meat Cove, in Nova Scotia

As Josh and I took in the coastal views of the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia’s popular trail and entered Cape Brenton Highlands National Park, we found ourselves encompassed in natural beauty. There were whispers of a place where one can off-road, drive cobble stoned paths, and witness the ocean from the most northern tip of Nova Scotia. If you know me, as soon as I heard about off-roading the steep downhill and pot holed paths to the ocean, I was already putting my Jeep in third gear and driving Northwest! The location was known to locals as Meat Cove – though Josh and I never figured out why they called it this, we sure were memorized by the calm seas, camping tents on the coast, and the cliff jump to the water. I was tempting to go cliff jumping, but apparently it was not encouraged to do so. We will save cliff-jumping for Central America and the Caribbean at a later date!

 

  • Spending the day winding around the roads of Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail
The Introduction into the Cabot Trail; Nova Scotia; 2015
The Introduction into the Cabot Trail; Nova Scotia; 2015

 

The roads are known for their most amazing coastal views, and this I found very true. The same locals I spoke with forgot to conclude with, “the most challenging roads” as well. Like all things, I suppose if it was an easy route, then it would be overly populated and not as exciting. If you have not figured out from my creation of “The Voyage of Discovery,” I welcome challenges and pushing myself and my Jeep to the ultimate limits. Needless to say, I found the Cabot Trail a lot of fun to drive, and had no problems following the windy paths that laid before me.

Did I mention they were windy?

Windy Roads; Cabot Trail; Nova Scotia; 2015

 

Onwards through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, I came across a biologist like myself, and for the next 20 minutes or so I listened to him as he spoke with a Dutch couple about the whales in the area, and of course the bones that they leave behind. In this photo you will see a large-scale Fin whale vertebrate, a very tiny Pilot whale vertebrate, and baleen from the mouth of a baleen whale. The baleen I found to be very hard, almost wood-like, and the bone were smooth to touch. I managed to pick this conservationist’s brain with the knowledge of the area and the migration species coming through. I was pleased to find that he was as eager to talk about whales and dolphins as I was!

Conservationist with Fin Whale and Pilot Whale Bones + Baleen; Cape Breton Highlands National Park; 2015
Conservationist with Fin Whale and Pilot Whale Bones + Baleen; Cape Breton Highlands National Park; 2015

 

The Cabot Trail spreads itself around Nova Scotia, and with the colossal rocks, ocean beneath the cliffs, and the temperate seas, it is no wonder the Cabot Trail ranks high on everyone’s “to do” list. It tied well within our road trip around Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This is definitely a highly recommended road trip!

And to make this location more desirable, there were a few memorial sites that had beautifully sculpted etchings with moving quotations relating to the mountainous and charming landscape below.

  • Staying in a haunted room where a young woman passed away

During preparations for my travels to Labrador, it was evident that I would have to book somewhere to stay. I have to admit, there are not many choices in Labrador. I stumbled upon Grenfell Louie A. Hall bed & breakfast in Forteau.

I love horror films, psychological thrillers, and for some strange  reason, I am keen to be scared every now and again. While I was skimming through Grenfell’s selection of rooms that they have to offer, I read the words, “Ghost Room!” In an instant, I emailed Peggy and the next thing I knew I was officially booked and she was waiting for our arrival.

Here’s the background that I learned about the “Ghost Room,” compliments of the Grenfell website:

The Mary Fowler Room is dedicated to the memory of Mary Fowler, known locally as Aunt Mary at the time. A cook at the Dennison Cottage, Mary was originally from Newfoundland and moved to Labrador and married in the area. This room, is also known by many of our regular guests as the “Ghost Room!”
Welcome to Forteau; Labrador; 2015
Welcome to Forteau; Labrador; 2015
  • Swimming with whales and riding in a zodiac – Compliments of OceanQuest

As a Marine Mammal Scientist for a little over 8.5 years, I wanted my younger brother, Josh, to experience whales for the first time. After 2 unsuccessful whale watching tours to witness whales in both California and Massachusetts, I knew that I had to time this particular excursion perfectly. There is no guarantee if you see whales or not, or can swim with them.

The ride out was a constant blend of smooth and rough – my brother will tell you that it was because we were on a zodiac. I would agree with him. I love traveling on a boat, so I thoroughly enjoyed the water adventure to seek out the whales in the bay. The sunshine was right above our heads and kept us moderately warm. The passengers and I were in wet suits, and those that were geared up, were the ones that was “going swimming with the whales.”

I never thought that I could find an excursion where I could actually jump in the water with whales. From researching these creatures for the past 8.5 years comfortably and respectfully in a seismic research ship, fishing boat, oil rig, drillship, and dhow, I knew once I did get in the water with them, I had to keep my distance. I was a bit hesitant getting in the water with Humpback whales, since my whole career and existence has had me protecting marine life from humans and explaining the reasons why they should not approach to close to it (especially whales, dolphins, and sea turtles). Whales let’s face it, are massive creatures. Most of the time we are unsure if they are going to breach, blow, flipper slap, shallow dive, or deep dive. I will note that if you decide to go in the water with them, please be respectful and do not approach to close. My biggest fear is during my research on  a ship is to have a whale breach on top of me, so you can imagine how I felt in the water with whales swimming closely.

Nonetheless, I decided to take the adrenaline factor to a whole other level, and jump right in! What I am about to tell you still blows my mind, and I promise I could not make this up even if I tried! The good news is that I have GoPro footage to prove it happened! So there I was jumping in the water after 3 unsuccessful attempts to see a humpback whale underwater. I kept telling myself to keep my distance, but secretly hoping that I would be able to snorkel and see the white pectoral flippers and it’s large body a few meters safely away from me.

As I looked up, I saw a blow quite a ways in front of me, so naturally I turned on my wrist mount of my GoPro and adjusted my goggles on my face. As I submerged my face, seconds after turning on the GoPro, a large body appeared directly beneath me, few meters from where my body was floating. In the GoPro, you can see my reaction, the “I cannot  believe this is happening right now face!” I screamed very loudly, started to panic a bit, and after a few seconds just  floated on the water’s surface. For a moment, I was embracing an encounter that many have dreamed about – a look into the face of a Humpback whale. It is really hard to describe how amazing and surreal that time was, and I have tried to highlight this naturalistic encounter to all of my “whale nerd” mates. And, even that does not do it justice!

All smiles after Humpback whale encounter; Petty Harbour, Newfoundland; 2015
All smiles after Humpback Whale Encounter; Petty Harbour, Newfoundland; 2015

 

This was indeed the closest that I have ever witnessed a Humpback whale under water, and it reassures me that no matter how crazy our world gets, I can always turn to that moment in Petty Harbour and visualize how tranquil the underwater surroundings were when I laid my very own eyes on a Humpback whale.

I would like to thank the staff at Oceanquest for an adventure of a lifetime, their generosity, and their respect to the whales. The young male zodiac driver from Victoria mentioned a few times that if a whale wants to play, then we can get in the water, but if a whale shows distress or odd behaviour, then we would find another whale to observe. It is refreshing to know that people are looking out for the whales. On an end note, the instructor was great and made sure that everyone was comfortable in the water.

The dive shop staff was really cool to chat with, and they almost had me re-routing my plans to dive a shipwreck in the area! Needless to say, I do look forward to swimming with whales when I return to Saint John’s, Newfoundland in the upcoming summer months.

Fishing Village; Petty Harbour, Newfoundland; 2015

 

Contact Information for Oceanquest; Petty Harbour, Newfoundland; 2015
Contact Information for Oceanquest; Petty Harbour, Newfoundland; 2015

 

  • Visiting my best friend of 28 years, Stephanie, her husband Tony (also one of my good friends), and their first born son, Roman James
Holding Roman James for the first time; Michigan; 2015
Holding Roman James for the First Time; Michigan; 2015

 

It is not everyday you plan to visit a very pregnant best friend a week before her due date, and you discover that she went into labor early and had her first newborn son a few days before you were planning to drive to see her. I suppose that mixes well with my lifestyle of adrenaline, spontaneity, and surprises around every corner. This in fact, was a huge surprise to me, and I could not wait to get to Michigan to see my 2 best friend’s and their adorable baby boy!

Maggie (mom), Stephanie, and Roman James; Michigan; 2015
Maggie (mom), Stephanie, and Roman James; Michigan; 2015

 

I knew that I wanted to end this segment of the world tour visiting friends and family – my Gram means the world to me, I cherish my family and our time together, and my good friends always seem to make time to see me when I come through their cities and towns. It was only fitting to visit my second-to-oldest best friend and her new bundle of joy!

Joshua talking to Roman James; Michigan; 2015
Joshua Talking to Roman James; Michigan; 2015

 

As a surprise, I was picking up Stephanie’s mom (my mom’s best friend) and bringing her to Michigan with Josh, mom, and I. Of course, once Roman James was born, it was no longer a surprise! I was proud to keep it a secret for at least a week! Anyways, it is a blessing to be part of their newest chapter in their lives – that little one surely is loved! Congratulations again guys, I love you both!

Welcome to the world Roman James Langlois!

 

  • Watching a US Women’s Soccer World Cup Friendly Match – US vs. Costa Rica (8-0)

Sometimes working on a ship has its disadvantages – the internet connection is slow or non-existent (dependent on project) and you physically cannot get off the boat until your rotation or scheduled time is up. In this particular case, I knew that the US Women’s Soccer team that won the World Cup this year was playing a post game close to the city where I grew up! In return, I spent almost 8 hours on ticketmaster.com trying to obtain tickets while the ship I was working on was down for weather. Unfortunately, I kept getting timed out of my connection, and that would cause ticketmaster to boot me off their site repeatedly through the early morning hours.

Group Shot; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA; 2015
Group Shot; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA; 2015

 

Long story short, I finally got tickets, and I was re-routing my Newfoundland & Labrador plans to compensate returning to the states in the middle of August (instead of the original end of the month date). I purchased 6 tickets for the event – 2 for my best friend’s in Pittsburgh, PA, mom, Josh, me, and my youngest brother, Jake. It is always nice to spend time with your family, especially since we are all soccer lovers. This is my first official soccer match to witness, and I could not think of a better one to be my first!

Though Alex Morgan did not play in that game, it was still awesome to see her on the field holding up a banner with the team stating, “Thank You Pittsburgh – Victory Tour!” The crowd was amazing – 44,028 fans were roaring during the match, and happily screaming “USA” from the top of their lungs. American flags were hung from the stands, and thousands of t-shirts supported America in one way or other (including our decked out red-white-and blue colors & our American themed gear).

US Women’s Soccer Team; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA; 2015

 

Meghan Klingenberg is one of my favorite team players, not only did she grew up close to where I did, but I have never seen a player more dedicated to her roots than she is. In her goal against Costa Rica, she picked up Pittsburgh’s terrible towel and ran around the field with it, causing thousands of fans to holler, “USA USA USA!” I for one, was happy to be part of such a special event.

Matt & Leslie (Skerponator) Foell; Pittsburgh, PA; 2015
Matt & Leslie (Skerponator) Foell; Pittsburgh, PA; 2015

 

I have a few best friends that I try to get my annual visits in with, but I am finding that harder as I prep for my cross-country road trip to Vancouver and Alaska. My Pittsburgh best friend, Leslie aka Skerponator, and I met at the Pennsylvania State University during our undergrad. When I heard about the soccer match, I automatically thought of her and her husband, Matt, to join me for this event. It is always amazing catching up with her, and I am really proud of the life that she has built in Pittsburgh. I look forward to visiting with her every time I pass through.

Leslie & Jessica; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA; 2015

 

Ironically out of 44,000+ fans, a great childhood friend of mine, Shawna, rushed up to me and gave me a huge hug. I had not seen her for many years, but we both are as close as we were growing up. This moment with her, reminded me of the pride that I have for my hometown and the strong support system that I continue to have.

Jessica & Shawna; Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA; 2015

 

CONSERVATION:

  • Learning about Labrador’s ongoing whale hunting practices at Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, and speaking to Visitor Experience Team Leader, Cindy Gibbons

Ever since I started prepping my road trip to Newfoundland & Labrador, the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station was the first destination that popped into my head! And, for good reasons!

Jessica Posing in the Museum; Red Bay, Labrador; 2015
Jessica Posing in the Museum; Red Bay, Labrador; 2015

 

This particular UNESCO World Heritage Site really hit home for me. Whale hunts have always made me question our existence as humans. How can an individual hunt a creature, so majestic and gentile? During my travels in western Africa, I spoke to a Norwegian that still hunts whales in Norway. Every summer, he applies for a whale hunting license, and it’s valid for 3 months to only hunt a specific size and sex of a Minke whale. The hunting practices try to keep the females alive, and kill off some of the larger males.

I was happy to hear that during the whale hunting season, there are biologists like myself that count the number of Minke whales. If at any time, their numbers decline, then the whale hunt is called off. It does not matter how early it is in the hunting season. In the Norwegian’s eyes, he mentioned that, “This is a great way to make sure that the species does not go into extinction.” I agreed, that it is favorable that these practices are carried out. Though secretly, I am not a fan of whale hunting or harvesting, I realize that this is an act of survival for most cultures and a “game hunt” for others. And, as much as I never thought I would hear myself say this (or at least say this out loud), if the whale hunted is for survival means and the whole whale is eaten (liver, brain, etc.) then I am okay with this. I suppose that is what traveling does to you; it opens up your eyes to a whole new world of non-judgement.

Let’s fast forward to my present time at Red Bay Basque Whaling Station. The site was very well put together, and the information on the Basque culture was incredible to read about. Though in those days, whale hunting was a means to survive and feed their families. And, in most cultures today that is still the same situation. The interview that I had with Cindy Gibbons, a Visitor Experience Team Leader, was my very first interview with a team leader and one that I will always remember. I was able to talk to her about the Basque culture, our impressions on the whales in this specific area, and most importantly, we were able to have a serious discussion about the whales that were and are still hunted.

A Traditional Basque Whaler; Red Bay, Labrador; 2015

 

Due to the confidentiality of our discussion and to withhold the promise that I made to Mrs. Gibbons, I can highlight a few interesting facts that I found fascinating.

A) In Red Bay, there is no official start date of when whaling first happened. Thought it is suspected that it had started in the 1530’s.  B)The peak of the whaling hunt was between 1560-1570’s. C) When people are referring to Inuits, there are referencing  a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada (Northwest Territories, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut, Nunatukavut), Denmark (Greenland), Russia (Siberia) and the United States (Alaska). The Inuits traditionally still hunt Bowhead whales and partake in their “traditional hunts” every year. D) The whales that were hunted by the Basque whalers were the Greenland right whale and the North Atlantic right whale. E) The Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is called an UNESCO World Heritage Site because, “In a nutshell, it represents the first place where whale oil hunting and production on a large scale commercially based. And this is when whaling became a profit.”

Perhaps one of the more interesting facts that I learned was that Mrs. Gibbons was responsible for the whaling station to become indicted into an UNESCO World Heritage Site. As she explained the process, she mentioned that it started with them as a 2004 candidate, took 5 years of submission and paperwork, and made it official UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, but in the end it “was well worth it.” She emphasized that they are #17 on Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I can honestly say that I was in my element at this site, I absorbed so much information that I never knew, and I was surrounded by replicas of whales!

Thank you Cindy Gibbons for making my experience more memorable, and the perfect outing at the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station! Do not be surprised if I stop by before the end of the year!

Red Bay; Labrador; 2015
Red Bay; Labrador; 2015

EDUCATION:

  • Eating and learning within the Lobster capital of the world, Shediac

  • Meeting a future Marine Biologist, 13-year-old Miranda from Somerset, PA, USA
Miranda - Future Marine Biologist; Somerset, PA; 2015
Miranda – Future Marine Biologist; Somerset, PA; 2015

 

Over the past few years, I have had a flood of emails and facebook messages pour into my inboxes. Most of these messages come from young aspiring Biologists that are keen to talk to someone whom is working in their field. I am proud to say that I have guided dozens of young men and women into the relevant courses and universities around the world to assist them to achieve their dreams on becoming a Marine Biologist. To be honest, this is something that I love doing – helping others, especially when it comes to building more minds to preserve our natural habitats and surrounding environments.

I was flattered when my mom’s other best friend, Pastor Kathy, told her about finding a time for me to meet one of the young girl’s in her church. She went on to say that this particular young girl, Miranda, is eager to learn more about my role as a Marine Mammal Scientist, as she is an aspiring Marine Biologist.

Jessica, Miranda, and Joshua; Somerset, PA; 2015
Jessica, Miranda, and Joshua; Somerset, PA; 2015

 

As Pastor Kathy will tell you, it was certainly fate that had us both meet on a sunny afternoon. I started the conversation and asked her what her favorite animal was – and she responded with “dolphin.” We discussed ways that she can help with her local community through the lakes and streams programs provided by the PA Fish & Game Commission during the summers. At such an impressionable age, I gave her insight on how I learned about marine life through books, documentaries, and encyclopedias. We both agreed that living 6 hours from the beach was hard, but in the upcoming summer months she will convince her parents to take her to the beach and the aquariums nearby.

It is always nice to hear that even individuals a lot younger than me, are keen to help the environment in any way that they can. To sum up the conversation and before snapping a photograph in front of my Jeep, I told Miranda of the different conservation strategies that children from Europe, Africa, North America, and South America have adapted in their communities. One in particular that I find remarkable are kids in Tanzania and Mozambique getting together to encourage the community and villages to pick up their trash on the beach. They call these events, “beach clean-ups” and they have started a wave in other African countries illustrating the same methods. I was amazed of how quickly this concept caught on, and I am always eager to tell the younger generation stories about children like themselves and their preservation efforts.

Pastor Kathy & Miranda; Somerset, PA; 2015
Pastor Kathy & Miranda; Somerset, PA; 2015

 

Miranda, I really enjoyed meeting you – please let me know if you have anymore questions! And, I will send you the dolphin vocalizations and photographs that I promised soon! It was a pleasure to meet you, and I wish the best of luck on your path to becoming a Marine Biologist!

Thank you Pastor Kathy, Richard, Ashtin, and Chelsea Hay for the wonderful visit! Lauren, sorry we missed you; hope to see you next time! And, thank you Pastor Kathy for making sure that Miranda and I crossed paths while I was in town! Sheer dedication!

  • Participating in National New Brunswick Day and talking to the  Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site interpreters
Welcome Sign; Sugarloaf Provincial Park; 2015

 

The occasion was special, and it was not like any other that I have ever experienced. A dozen or so of locals came together to educate others and outsiders, like myself, about the Battle of the Restigouche. The reenactments that each section on the campground of Sugarloaf Provinical Park was well-done and very interesting. In the summer, costumed interpreters portray the Acadians, Micmaq, sailors and French soldiers who participated in the 1760 battle.

Tent and Supplies; Sugarloaf Provincial Park; 2015

 

The Battle of the Restigouche, according to the historical site enthusiasts was a naval battle fought during the French and Indian War (the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War) on the Restigouche River between the British Royal Navy and the small flotilla of vessels of the French Navy, Acadian militia and Mi’kmaq militias.

Over the course of the morning, I was able to discuss the roles of each of the interpreters and learn more about this significant event. I even learned that in light of the reenactments, few slept in the tent below.

Camping in Sugarloaf Provincial Park; New Brunswick; 2015
Camping in Sugarloaf Provincial Park; New Brunswick; 2015

 

The first gentleman we came across was one who worked on ship – he was enthusiastic to show everyone the paddle and ball game that the crew would play onboard and on land.

One of the coolest families that we came across was a family of blacksmiths, ship’s crew, and naval officers. We could have spent the entire day talking with them about their passion to portray this moment of history.

Mike, Jan, and Anthony Portraying their Roles in The Battle of Restigouche; Campbellton, New Brunswick; 2015
Mike, Jan, and Anthony Portraying their Roles in The Battle of Restigouche; Campbellton, New Brunswick; 2015

 

It was an incredible day to be able to talk with the locals about this particular battle and to learn more about the last naval battle between France and Britain for possession of American territory.

If you want an adventure filled with history, check out this event next year! Be sure to also stop in for a visit at the Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site! As their caption reads, “It’s an extraordinary journey that will take you all the way back to 1760!”

The Machault Flag; Sugarloaf Provincial Park, New Brunswick; 2015
The Machault Flag; Sugarloaf Provincial Park, New Brunswick; 2015

 

  • Submerging into Canadian National Parks, National Historic Sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and United State National Parks

For years I have been intrigued to visit every United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site around the globe, and this world tour has given me the chance to do so. The idea is for every segment of the world tour I will visit and experience these magnificent cultural and natural properties. And, if I am awarded the opportunity, I will set up interviews with the directors and cultural departments in a few UNESCO destinations that I visit. There may be some confidentiality agreements from time to time, but with permission, I will put in bits and pieces when I can.

Each destination is marked as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, National Park, National Historic Site, or most of all the above!

I am happy to announce that I already conducted my first official interview! Please scroll down to Labrador’s Red Bay Historic Whaling Site to get the inside scoop on the ongoing harvesting of the whales!

1) Cape Breton Highlands National Park = Canada National Park

2) Cape Spear = National Historic Site & The Most Easterly Point in North America!

Eastern Most Point of North America; Jessica's Signature Jumpin' Photograph; Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Eastern Most Point of North America; Jessica’s Signature Jumpin’ Photograph; Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Eastern Most Point of North America with Joshua; Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Eastern Most Point of North America with Joshua; Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015

3) Flight 93 Memorial National Park = United States National Park

4) Gros Morne National Park = UNESCO World Heritage Site & Canadian National Park

5) Kouchibougac National Park = Canada National Park

6) L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site = National Historic Site

7) Miguasha National Park = UNESCO World Heritage Site & Canadian National Park

Crossing Canadian Provinces: New Brunswick to Quebec; 2015
Crossing Canadian Provinces: New Brunswick to Quebec; 2015

8) Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville = UNESCO World Heritage Site

9) Prince Edward Island National Park = Canada National Park

Barn Hostel; Brackley Beach Hostel, PEI; 2015

Barn Hostel; Brackley Beach Hostel, PEI; 2015

 

10) Red Bay Basque Whaling Station = UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

11) Shenandoah National Park = United States National Park

12) Signal Hill = National Historic Site

Signal Hill; Newfoundland; 2015
Signal Hill; Newfoundland; 2015

Newfoundland Dog (Most Honest Dog Breed); Signal Hill, Newfoundland; 2015

Newfoundland Dog (Most Honest Dog Breed); Signal Hill, Newfoundland; 2015

 

13) Terra Nova National Park = Canada National Park

 

 

INTERACTIONS AROUND THE WORLD:

  • Visiting a region where tourists may fly or sail to Newfoundland & Labrador, the love and support that we received was amazing. Everyone seemed eager to snap a photograph with the “World Traveler” and her Jeep. I managed to get Josh to take photographs with our new friends as well. Not to mention, that both Josh and I scheduled visits with our close friends and family.
An English Teacher, Good Mate, & Role Model; Bakersville, PA; 2015
An English Teacher, Good Mate, & Role Model; Bakersville, PA; 2015
Old High School Friend, Amy with Jessica; Somerset, PA; 2015
Michael and kid brother, Colin James (Brianna is missing from the photograph); Wellsboro, PA; 2015
Michael and kid brother, Colin James (Brianna is missing from the photograph); Wellsboro, PA; 2015
Erin & Eric; Wellsboro, PA; 2015
Erin & Eric; Wellsboro, PA; 2015
One of Our Best Mates, Heather & Jessica; Somerset, PA; 2015
Troxler Stylin'; Brooklyn, NY; 2015
Jessica & Best Mate, Troxler; Brooklyn, NY; 2015
Jessica & Best Mate, Troxler; Brooklyn, NY; 2015

 

Hostel Encounters:

 

New Brunswick:
Jessica & Nick; Lighthouse Campbellton Fare - Auberge Hostel, New Brunswick; 2015
Jessica & Nick; Lighthouse Campbellton Fare – Auberge Hostel, New Brunswick; 2015

 

Joshua & Nick; Lighthouse Campbellton Fare - Auberge Hostel, New Brunswick; 2015
Joshua & Nick; Lighthouse Campbellton Fare – Auberge Hostel, New Brunswick; 2015

 

Prince Edward Island:
Joshua & Angie; Brackley Beach Hostel, Prince Edward Island; 2015
Joshua & Angie; Brackley Beach Hostel, Prince Edward Island; 2015

 

Newfoundland & Labrador:
Jessica, Joshua, & Sarah; HI City Hostel Saint John's, Newfoundland; 2015
Jessica, Joshua, & Sarah; HI City Hostel Saint John’s, Newfoundland; 2015
Globetrotters:
Eric the Well-Seasoned Traveler; Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Eric the Well-Seasoned Traveler; Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Igor, Jessica, & Eric (Motorcyclist); Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Igor, Jessica, & Eric (Motorcyclist); Cape Spear, Newfoundland; 2015
Hannah & Siobhan; Saint John's, Newfoundland; 2015
Hannah & Siobhan; Saint John’s, Newfoundland; 2015
Amy & HJ; Somerset, PA; 2015
Amy & HJ; Somerset, PA; 2015

 

Penn State (My Alma Mater):

MAJOR TRAVEL HICCUP:

Posted on Facebook, on the morning of the incident:

There’s a highlight post coming soon from our time in Newfoundland & Labrador, but first the cons of traveling – this morning my Jeep Wrangler was broken into. Camera gear, along with a book bag & bag of souvenirs were stolen.

Attack of the Thieves; Saint John's, Newfoundland; 2015
Attack of the Thieves; Saint John’s, Newfoundland; 2015

 

Josh and I are okay, but really disappointed that this had happened, especially in Canada. This experience has made us more aware of our surroundings, and more alert of the belongings that we have with us.

Gower Street; Saint John's, Newfoundland; 2015
Gower Street; Saint John’s, Newfoundland; 2015

 

Our spirits are hurt, but not ruined. We will continue to travel.

We want to thank L’anse Aux Meadows Historic Center for sending us a few complimentary souvenirs, the Deer Lake Visitor Center for their positive energy, and HI City Hostel St. John’s for their awesome hospitality and good-natured spirit.

Deer Lake Staff & Joshua, and I; Deer Lake Tourist Center; 2015
Deer Lake Staff & Joshua, and I; Deer Lake Tourist Center; 2015

 

Deer Lake Staff & and I; Deer Lake Tourist Center; 2015
Deer Lake Staff & and I; Deer Lake Tourist Center; 2015

 

I was debating if I should write more about my break-in, and I have decided last minute that I will. This advice is for the travelers driving their vehicles to various destinations and for those that leave valuables in the vehicles on occasion. Do not let my break-in deter you from traveling, those are certainty not my intentions, just beware of your surroundings.

Believe in Karma; Newfoundland; 2015
Believe in Karma; Newfoundland; 2015

 

I notified the Saint John’s police and am still waiting for their response. Once I returned to the states I called my insurance company, filed a claim, and phoned a few pawn shops in the nearby Saint John’s area. Unfortunately, none of the pawn shops had my camera. You may ask, how do you know that is yours and not just another one that they are selling? My Canon EOS Rebel T2i camera with a Canon 18-55mm Image Stabilizer lens is missing the eye piece on the body of the viewfinder and has a large indent on the lens from getting knocked into a cave during an expedition in Belize. To be honest, that camera means the world to me – it has been to 60 countries with me, and I have had it for 5 years.  Another lens in the Overboard Waterproof grey camera bag is a Canon 55-250mm Image Stabilizer lens. The 32gb SanDisk SD card would also be awesome to get back, since some of my sponsorship material is on it, and photographs of Red Bay and Point Amour Lighthouse. I am willing to pay to get it back, if that will help me secure what is rightfully mine.

A red bag of souvenirs ranging from pins, patches, post cards, and other “scrapbook” items were grabbed. We getting all our friends around the world to sign our travel journals. My younger brother’s book bag and Ray Ban sunglasses that I bought him for his 25th birthday (they were sentimental since I gave them to him when I told him that we are going Sky diving for his 25th and that he would need them in Key West for the start of the world tour). Anyways, and it rained the night before, so most of my Jeep was soaked, and the valuables (most of them locked up) that were left were wet and damp.

I anticipated a hiccup would happen eventually on my world tour, but just not as substantial as this one. I will admit, this incident has made me a lot wiser of the equipment that I bring and aware of those around me. I still will continue to travel, and that certainly has not changed! If you know of anything about this break-in, please send me a Facebook message – International Travelingmarinebiologist. Thanks!

In the meantime, any ideas for what camera I should buy next? Nikon or Canon?

MEDIA COVERAGE:

Helpful Tip; Blanc Sablon, Quebec; 2015
Helpful Tip; Blanc Sablon, Quebec; 2015

 

I was amazed to see the media coverage and attention that we received during our time in Newfoundland & Labrador. My good mates and family have been supportive from the start, and I would like to take a minute to thank them for pushing me to reach my full potential in times when I needed it.

Here’s the line up of a TV appearance, 2 radio stations, and a newspaper that all has taken my world tour to another level. Thank you everyone for publicizing “The Voyage of Discovery!” It’s incredible that an idea that I started building 8.5 years ago is not only getting domestic attention, but now it’s making international news!

A) New Brunswick, 95 CKNB (Radio Station)

Welcome to New Brunswick; 2015
Welcome to New Brunswick; 2015

 

Kaitlin was kind to give us a shout out on the radio station during New Brunswick’s National Day and later gave us the facebook post below.

Thank you Kaitlin for your support and highlighting our goals for the world tour!

Featured on 95 CKNB Facebook’s page:

This is Jessica and she and her brother Josh (who took the picture) are traveling around the world with a goal to visit all 7 continents, including 221 countries and as many UNESCO world heritage sites as possible! It was pretty exciting to meet them here in little ol’ Restigouche County! For more information on their amazing journey, visit www.travelingmarinebiologist.com -Kaitlin

Jessica & Kaitlin; Sugarloaf Provincial Park, New Brunswick; 2015

 

B) Blanc Sablon, Quebec – CFBS (Radio)

I stopped in to see if they would be interested learning about the world tour, and there was an immediate, “Yes!” It was scheduled to meet up at 1600 or 4pm Quebec time, so we drove to Red Bay Historic Whaling Site and popped in for a few hours before making our debut on the radio.

This was the first time that Josh and I were able to sit next to each other and answer questions that were provided by the radio host. The main questions were where are you from, describe “The Voyage of Discovery,” favorite destination on the world tour so far, where are you going next, and a few others to end the segment of the night.

Unfortunately, the ferry from Labrador was super early in the morning, so we were unable to hear our interview; however, the radio host mentioned that he will send the audio clip to my email address. Once I receive it, I will post it here.

C) Prince Edward Island – “The Guardian” Newspaper

Officially made it! We’re in Prince Edward Island – 40+ hours driving was well worth it!

The best news yet – not only were Josh and I featured in the morning segment of 95 CKNB of New Brunswick, Canada, but with the help of Brackley Beach Hostel we were in “The Guardian” newspaper of Prince Edward Island!

Jessica & Angie; Brackley Beach Hostel, Prince Edward Island; 2015
Jessica & Angie; Brackley Beach Hostel, Prince Edward Island; 2015

 

Needless to say, Phase 1: Part 4 Newfoundland & Labrador had an amazing start!

Josh said to me earlier, “Jessica this experience has been incredible so far and ready to venture around Prince Edward Island’s National Park!”

After just arriving in Toronto and making final preparations for CN Tower’s adrenaline activity Edgewalk, I stumbled upon this newspaper article from “The Guardian!” Thank you for the lovely article Jocelyne Lloyd! My brother, Josh and I will be making another appearance in PEI later this year!

D) Saint John’s – CBC (TV Appearance)

Colored Row of Houses; Saint John's, Newfoundland; 2015
Colored Row of Houses; Saint John’s, Newfoundland; 2015

 

My very first TV interview on “The Voyage of Discovery” with CBC of St. John’s – Josh and I have had an amazing support system in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. In the last 2 weeks we have been interviewed for 2 radio stations in New Brunswick and Quebec/Labrador, asked to be published in Prince Edward Island’s newspaper “The Guardian”, and now been featured on TV with CBC of Saint John’s! We want to thank the newspaper reporters, radio broadcasters, and the CBC camera team for their continued encouragement during our travels around Eastern Canada.

After such a disheartening morning, I was amazed to find that I was featured in one of Saint John’s most popular radio/TV stations that same morning. Here is the link for that particular TV interview. Or please view this URL,  http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2673332424/.

After the Jeep was broken into, I promised myself that I would find some good out of this situation. What I did not know that the “good” was all along right in front of me – the Newfoundlanders are absolutely incredible, and their hospitable nature is inspiring.

With that being said, I posted this on Facebook:

“It has been incredible to have so many friendly faces around Newfoundland & Labrador giving their blessings, especially after my Jeep was broken into. And, for that reason the next post of Phase 1: Part 4 Newfoundland & Labrador is a special dedication post to all of the locals and expats from this region that we met. It is refreshing to see the progress of this world tour not only domestically, but also internationally! Never give up on your dreams!”

Thank you Josh for joining the world tour, and even on the worst day, still remaining positive. This has definitely been an adventure of a lifetime!

Red Bay; Labrador; 2015
Red Bay; Labrador; 2015

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