We awoke to a beautiful sunny day anchored in a cove near the visitor’s center of Terra Nova National Park. We couldn’t believe our luck at having such lovely weather, especially for the final excursion of our 14-day voyage. We left the ship in our usual color-coded zodiac groups, blissful in the sunshine and calmer waters of the protected cove. I looked down into the water to see what must have been hundreds of moon jellyfish bobbing just under the surface, and learned later in the interpretive center that the park is a rich sanctuary for birds and sea life.
We immediately broke off into groups and set off on the hikes of our choosing. Dad and I selected a longer loop trail that wove through thick forest, ponds, and coastline with plenty of photo opportunities. We spotted a seal from an established campsite, where we stopped to take a break and listen to our guide discuss the plants and wildlife of the area. Dad and I then broke away from the group to continue on the trail; I welcomed the chance to stretch my legs a little more and enjoy being in a familiar forested landscape again.
After a few more photo ops and another hour or so of hiking, we closed the loop back at the visitor’s center and sat in the grass for a boxed lunch in the sunshine. Our resident musician strummed a few tunes for us all, and we reluctantly made our way back into the zodiacs for one last ride to the Ocean Endeavour. It was funny how the ship had so quickly become like home, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as we steamed in to the lively town of St. John’s early the next morning for disembarkation. Dad half-joked that we should be stowaways on the ship’s next journey down to the tropics…but we left our good ship anyway feeling like we’d experienced something truly special. My only regret? I should have brought more socks.