Unexpectedly, I ran into my Calgary photography instructor from SAIT while eating breakfast at my B&B in Trinity, Newfoundland a few weeks ago. (It’s such a small world.) He spoke with passion about a whale watching tour he and his photography group were doing out of Trinity. He’d done it before & told me I absolutely shouldn’t miss it. But I tell him I’ve already got a tour planned and I can’t possibly change it.

I’m off for an afternoon with Bruce Miller – the Skipper and Owner of Rugged Beauty Boat Tours – and it too turns out to be a tour everyone should do if they’re in the Trinity area. While this boat tour includes icebergs, whales and rugged, coastal scenery it also speaks to the history of the resettlement of outlying communities. 

"The boat used in the Rugged Beauty Boat Tour - out of Trinity Bay"

The boat used in the Rugged Beauty Boat Tour – out of Trinity Bay

Of course, we did get as close as one can safely get to a couple of icebergs – where humpback whales were feeding – and it was a fantastic sight. A few bald eagles and loads of seabirds only added to the visual interest.

"A couple of the big icebergs we checked out"

A couple of the big icebergs we checked out

"The icebergs look so different from every angle"

The icebergs look so different from every angle

"A couple of the other guests enjoying the view"

A couple of the other guests enjoying the view

We also made a quick pass by the film set for Random Passage. It’s based on a wonderful book written by Bernice Morgan.

"Checking out the Random Passage film set from the boat"

Checking out the Random Passage film set from the boat

But the highlight for me was hearing the heartfelt stories from a man who had been resettled as a baby in the early 1960’s. Not only did we boat into three of the former settlements – Ireland’s Eye, British Harbour and Kerley’s Cove – where you can see the remains of the odd house – we saw the before photos where 200 plus people once lived in these small but thriving communities. We heard stories about Joey Smallwood and the love/hate relationship the people he knew of felt for the man. (Many of the women loved the Baby Bonus checks!) We listened to the fishing stories and what locals think should have been done about the industry. We heard the lament for all the young – and even middle-aged people who have left the province in search of work. But never were his words sour or negative. They were just the facts.

Because so many of Bruce’s family had been affected by resettlement, we learn firsthand what Aunt Lizzy and Uncle Jo endured, not to mention his grandfather and countless other aunts and uncles. We certainly didn’t get the whitewashed version. His stories made you think about how resettlement was handled – and how it could have been done better.

"Resettlement coves in Newfoundland"

Checking out some of the coves where resettlement has taken place

"The before shot of what the bay looked like before resettlement"

What the bay looked like before resettlement

Before heading back to Trinity Bay, we stopped for tea and cookies in a cabin Bruce owns – where we saw more photos and listened to the stories that went with them. History comes alive when you experience it through someone who has lived it. All of it – thought provoking.

"Tea and cookies were served in this cabin"

Tea and cookies were served in this cabin

Three hours passed in a flash. And our experience exceeded our expectations many times over.

If you go, dress in layers as the wind whips up once you’re out of the harbour. There is a bathroom once you get to the cabin. Rates for the three hour tour are $70/adult and $50/child.

Should you be anywhere near Trinity, do this tour. If you want a full whale watching tour, do that too. But this one is unique and it was a fantastic way to learn the local history.

The Rugged Beauty Boat Tour out of Trinity Bay, Newfoundland - for whales, icebergs and Newfoundland stories

Thank you to Legendary Coasts for making this trip possible. All thoughts as always are my own.

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • I want to go on this tour too! At first, I would have totally done the whale watching tour too but I really like the uniqueness of this tour. Those icebergs are something else. Just beautiful! But, I really love the history and personal connection Bruce had. Priceless!

  • It looks like a fab boat tour all around, but I’m particularly taken in by those icebergs. Must be awesome to see them up close and personal like that.

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