We held the map tightly in our hands as we navigated our way to The Inn at Happy Adventure, where we would begin our iceberg tours in Newfoundland. I thought the name of the tour company was “Happy Adventure” but arrived to find out I was quite wrong!

happy-adventure-town

This is the tiny town of “Happy Adventure”… such a beautiful community with the coolest name ever!

We rounded the corner and stopped at what was town hall, of Happy Adventure… the name of the town we were in! “Perhaps this is where I should live” and quickly needed to find out where the town got its name. According to town folklore, pirates used to hang out in this cove as a break from the big water and one of the famous pirates boats was “Happy Adventure” and so he named the town after his boat!

the-inn-at-happy-adventures

The owners of The Inn at Happy Adventure welcomed us and we quickly boarded a zodiac and headed out for the open waters. Our whole family was thrilled to be on the “hunt” for Icebergs, but what we got was so much more!

Baby Icebergs

girl-checking-out-small-iceberg

Only a few minutes into our tour, as we quickly rounded the corner, we saw icebergs which stood about 8 feet out of the water! We were all so excited to see what appeared to us as “big” icebergs and I was clicking photos like crazy… a little entertaining for the captain who quickly said, “I’ll show you an iceberg!”

iceberg-floating

After circling around the icebergs and navigating the smaller pieces, we were quickly becoming experts on these arctic ice forms. We learned:

  • Icebergs are 10,000 years old
  • They take approximately 2 years to make their way from Greenland to our shores
  • Only 10% of the iceberg is visible, the rest is below the water
  • The ice is so condensed that it takes a long time to melt. For example, if you have a normal brick of ice in your cooler it would take 1-2 days to melt, one of these cubes would last all summer.
  • Icebergs are fresh water
  • If you turn off the boat engine and listen quietly you’ll hear the iceberg melting and the water hitting the ocean like rain
  • The increased presence of icebergs is a result of global warming

Next Stop – Search for Pirates

cavern

Check out this amazing cave! You can actually kayak right into the tunnel to discover an underwater cavern.

A few more minutes later and we felt like we were inside a Pirates of the Caribbean movie chasing Jack Sparrow himself! This cool cave wasn’t big enough for our boat to pass through but we learned that if we had been in kayaks, we could have gone under the waterfall, through a tunnel, and into an underground cavern!

The BIG ICE

large-iceberg

When our captain told us he was going to take us to see a big iceberg he wasn’t joking. As soon as we rounded the corner we could see the white blip on the horizon and couldn’t believe the size. As we got closer, which took quite a while, we realized that this iceberg’s showdown would swallow the previous babies we saw. Standing over 80 feet high by 200 feet long by 60 feet wide, this iceberg was the size of a large mansion, and we were only seeing the top 10%.

Our driver stayed 100 feet away as a safety precaution. You could see big cracks the the ice that looked as if they could fall off and make a small tsunami at any moment.

One of my favourite parts about seeing an iceberg up close was seeing the ice below the surface. The real glow from beneath the ocean’s surface signaled like a warning that there was a lot more to be told and that danger lurked! After a few loops around the icebergs, the mandatory selfie and more pictures and video than my phone could handle we were off on search of puffins!

Puffins

puffin

These cute birds were hard to see at first but then once we spotted them we quickly realized they came in teams of 40-60 birds. We loved seeing them dart around the boat, showing off their white bellies and orange beaks. Did you know:

  • Puffins can dive 120 feet deep?
  • They can hold their breath 5-6 minutes
  • They are monogamous and return to the coast every year to lay their eggs and raise their babies before heading out to the open sea for the next 8 months.
  • They are small, only about 10 inches tall

Cottage Life

cottages-in-terra-nova

Our driver took us to see where the locals like to spend their summers. This is cottage life on the ocean where owners have 10 acres, a well for water (not potable) and have to determine when their docks go in on the water based on when the ice is gone! (A very foreign concept for us west coasters!)

1st Mate

girl-driving-boat

My daughter jumped on the offer to “drive” the boat and earn her 1st mate status. While under hand and earful eye of our captain she says this was the best part of the trip. My son on the other hand was lulled to sleep and passed out for the whole ride home!