Nova Scotia & Newfoundland – Late Summer 2016 Road Trip – Day 9 – A 18 Hour Ferry Boat Ride

We casually started our day with breakfast at our hotel then we were off on our drive from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. We traveled Route 6 to the Visitor Center when we entered Nova Scotia, there the guides advised us to drive the scenic way through towns rather than take the freeway.

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Nova Scotia names towns in English and also the Celtic language. We passed through Amherst, Pugwash, and Tatamagoush; driving for 5 1/2 hours until we arrived at Cape Breton Island, technically leaving the North American mainland.

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Cape Breton looks similar to Pennsylvania with the high ridges, which makes sense as we are where the Appalachians meet the sea. Midway across the island we lunched at the Red Barn Restaurant on lobster roll and shrimp pasta.

As we reached the shore of Bras d’Or Lake we came upon a small (population 833) native community of Waycobah where the street and stop signs were printed in their first nation language. The stop sign was a red octagon shape but NAQA’SI was written on it rather than STOP.

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Our destination for the day was the north end of the island, North Sidney, where we were going to catch a Marine Atlantic ferry boat to Newfoundland.

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We arrived in North Sydney about 2:30 p.m. and lined up our car in Lane 9. We waited inside the terminal for awhile then readied ourselves and the car at 4 p.m. The first line of motorcycles started to board for the ship scheduled to leave at 5:30 p.m.

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We drove onto the ferry with a few hundred other cars (the boat has a capacity of 660 cars) on the G5 deck and took the elevator to deck eight to our cabin. Our cabin had two twin beds and an ocean view. We also had a private bath with a shower.

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After we put away our luggage, we went out on the open deck as the ferry started to pull away from the dock. The sun shone and a soft breeze blew. We wandered about Deck 7, the main deck, and its two restaurants, bar, and lounge. The top deck, Deck 10, gave us a last look of land as the ferry moved into the Cabot Strait.

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The ship has a restaurant that offered a buffet, which was mediocre and expensive. After dinner we walked back and forth on Deck 10 for some exercise for about a mile against a stiff breeze. We stayed out until the sun set for us to get colorful sky photos. Our cabin seemed too warm so maintenance came in to adjust the damper in the ventilation system making it more comfortable.

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After dark, we went onto the top deck to look at the stars but the lights of the ship masked the sky and only a few stars were seen. We went to bed as the ship sailed smoothly except for its vibration with its movement, even though we could see three to six foot white caps on the water. Thankfully we had a smooth ride all the way from Cape Breton Island to Argentia, Newfoundland, during the eighteen hour trip.

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