It's been an exceptional year for whale and iceberg sightings across Newfoundland and Labrador, and one tour operator says these kinds of conditions are turning the province into something of a wedding destination.
Con O'Brien, with O'Brien's Boat Tours in Bay Bulls, said it's fairly standard to see whales throughout the summer, but it's been an unusual — and amazing — year.
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"Whale watching this year has been spectacular. We've had those double breaches — we've had three sets of double breaches in a week. That's unheard of for us," he said.
"The orcas have been around, the humpbacks are magic this year, so when you get up alongside that big whale and you have that experience, if you've ever been out there you know people just get bitten by that bug and they come away awestruck with what they've seen."
'All of a sudden, we're this new place to come and get hitched up' - Con O'Brien, with O'Brien's Boat Tours
O'Brien said the province's reputation for offering breathtaking scenery on the water has always been a draw for tourists, but it's started to attract a different kind of attention.
"You always see families home from away or home to get married, but this has been a strange year. I've had three different groups on the boat where both the bride and groom were not even from here, and they decided to show up and get married in Newfoundland and brought all their friends and family," said O'Brien.
"All of a sudden, we're this new place to come and get hitched up."
'Perfect storm' of attractions
According to O'Brien, the unique combination of things you'll spot on a tour in parts of the province can't be seen anywhere else in the world.
"In our particular case, the islands off Witless Bay and Bay Bulls with the whales and the sights and sounds of that, if you go anywhere else in the world you won't very often get that opportunity to see something as awesome as that," he said.
"When you take those things and put them all together, Newfoundland is certainly a destination that people always want to come to, when you put that together with our hospitality it's a perfect storm for anybody who wants to have a good time."
O'Brien said being able to marry couples while out on the boat is an option that may be worth exploring.