When we woke up on Sunday morning Saint John was shrouded in a thick fog complete with driving rain and gusty winds. After braving the weather long enough to scamper around the grounds of the Carleton Martello Tower we made a spur of the moment decision to try and catch the 11:45 p.m. ferry to Newfoundland. We figured that we might as well spend a rainy day driving and hope that the weather would improve once we got a bit further east. However, we didn’t have tickets for the ferry so we would need to arrive at the ferry three hours in advance of departure. That gave us only about eight hours to drive 627km to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
After stopping for lunch and then a couple more times for the kids to use the restrooms we were really short on time. Luckily the sun came out and there was very little traffic as we traversed the Trans Canada Highway. It was hard passing so many cool places that we wanted to check out but we knew that we would stop back again later this summer. It was even harder for the kids to be strapped in their car seats for so long but it was all worth it when we pulled into the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal with just 10 minutes to spare.
The boarding process was pretty long but the kids could be unstrapped while we waited and it was fun to watch the variety of cars and trucks being loaded on to the ferry. Unfortunately Five Ball’s fingers getting closed in the car door just as we were about to take the elevator up the seating area didn’t start our boat ride out on a smooth note. However, the children’s play area aboard the ferry quickly helped turn things around and soon we were sailing to Newfoundland.
Due to the high cost of cabin accommodations we chose to stick to the standard seats. All in all we were pretty comfortable and got as much sleep as could be expected when surrounded by other passengers. The ferry interior was very nice and offered lots of space to move around and a variety of sitting areas. The only downside was the number of televisions mounted all around the ship that kept the kid’s eyes open much later than they should have been staring at horrible reality TV programs.
By 5:30 the next morning the sun was up and we could get a view of the water and then the coast of Newfoundland. Disembarking was a much smoother process and we were driving off to explore the province by 7:30. From start to finish it was definitely a bit of a rush but it felt totally worth it when we took in the first stunning vistas of Newfoundland.