Gulf of St. Lawrence cruise returns this summer

A 10-day cruise of the Gulf of St. Lawrence last summer was so successful the company behind it will be back again this year.

One Ocean Expeditions departs from Louisbourg for 10-day wildlife tour

The research vessel Akademik Ioffe spent 10 days last summer taking 120 people on board on a tour of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Courtesy of Jocelyn Pride)

It was a trip of a lifetime for 92-year-old Harvey Lewis, who cashed in the interest on his life insurance policy and last July took his family on a 10-day tour around the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

"Oh wonderful, seeing all these places that I heard of before, but hadn't seen," said the former mayor of Louisbourg

Lewis, his three children and their spouses, were among 120 people on board the research vessel Akademik Ioffe. 

They kayaked and hiked around Sable Island, St-Pierre-Miquelon, the Magdalen Islands, the Gaspé Peninsula and Newfoundland and Labrador.

'The best tour we do'

The tour was so successful, the company behind it, One Ocean Expeditions will be back again this summer.

The company is based in British Columbia and much of its business is scientific research in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Managing director Andrew Prossin said although there are no polar bears or penguins in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the islands tour is in some ways better.

"Minute-by-minute, it's the best tour we do because there is lots of wildlife right there," he said. "It's one of the best places to whale watch in the whole world."

Good press

There were a dozen travel writers on the expedition last July, and articles have been written in publications in Europe and Australia. 

This month's feature in Air Canada's Enroute magazine has already brought the company business.

"Within 48 hours we had already received more than a dozen phone calls, people inquiring about the voyage and several of them have already booked a trip," Prossin said.

There are only a few berths left for the 2016 tour, which will depart Louisbourg on July 16.

Prossin said there's no question there is an interest in this type of tourism. "It's a great attraction if packaged properly for the nature seeker."

He said he has had good co-operation from Cape Breton and is eager to work with local people. 

Prossin said the one tour last summer and another this summer are only just the beginning. "I'd like to be running several a year if we can build up the business," he said.

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