North Sydney/Port aux Basques Ferry

August 4, 2019

Here are photos of the ship I rode on Saturday to sail from Port aux Basques, Newfoundland to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.  My seat was on Deck 9, the highest level passengers may go to indoors (and there is an open sun deck on top). I paid extra for a reserved leather recliner in a limited access area (next to window and with an electric outlet so I could use my laptop to draft posts to cut & paste into the blog – same thing I did coming north).



My seat was right next to, but slightly above, the highest orange lifeboat (enclosed to protect riders from the cold water). I was on the opposite side of the ship and my seat was facing the back of the ship as we sailed.  When slightly standing I could see the top of the lifeboat but when fully seated I couldn’t.  The young man who had made my smoothie at the snack bar on our deck mid-afternoon told me that in the winter months they sometimes cancel the ferry if the seas are too rough (and this is a BIG ship).

A thunderstorm had just passed through Port aux Basques as we were leaving.  This was the view from my window as the ship began to move:


And further out at we neared the open water:


Here is a view of part of the private seating area from my seat:


And out my window once we were at sea:


Again, that orange lifeboat and white crane mechanism wasn’t visible if I was fully seated.

Once we were underway you could barely tell the ship was moving.  The ride was incredibly smooth, especially when we sailed north 10 days earlier, and Saturday the only time I really sensed movement was when I got up to walk.

Here is the view of the Leif Ericson, located at the next dock over when we arrived in North Sydney.  It is a slightly smaller ship and sails to Argentia, Newfoundland, which takes 16 hours.  The ticket costs more and many people book a stateroom (even more expensive) to sleep in while the ship sails.  The tradeoff is that Argentia is much closer to St. John’s, which is where most people want to go.  Those people have a choice – a less expensive and shorter boat ride but a 9 1/2 hour drive to St. John’s, or a more expensive boat trip and less driving time & distance.


Going north my trip took 6 hours and coming back took 6 1/2.  Round trip cost $ 250 USD for me and my car.  The distance between the two towns is 114 miles.

Compare that with a ferry ride I took across Lake Michigan in the mid 80’s.  I had taken my mother and two younger brothers to central Wisconsin to visit my grandmother and aunt in the town where my father is buried (and now Mom, Grandma and Eileen are as well).  We drove out through Chicago, where I was born, but came back via ferry from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Ludington, Michigan – a distance of about 60 miles, taking 4 hours.  Today it costs around $180 one way.  We made that crossing to visit a friend of ours, the guy that got me my first accounting job in Pennsylvania who, shortly after I started working, returned to Michigan with his wife and kids to be near his wife’s parents.

We sailed on an old, clunker, rustbucket workhorse of a ferry (ah, the memories…..) on what had to have been the highest waves on Lake Michigan EVER!


Booooyyy was I sick!  I remember Dave was cooking BBQ chicken on the grill and I couldn’t possibly conceive putting anything in my mouth.  All I wanted to do was lie down and be quiet.




One thought on “North Sydney/Port aux Basques Ferry”

  1. Guarantee I’d have felt it, seated, even on smooth waters. The recliners do look comfy though, but no riding backwards allowed. 🤢


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