Early morning is my favourite time to sea kayak on Bonne Bay. With each paddle stroke you effortlessly skim along the water’s surface. Peering through the water you can see fish scooting along the seafloor, brightly coloured sea stars grazing on blue mussels, and kelp swaying in the gentle ocean swell. If there is a minke whale around you’ll likely see it as you will hear its exhaling WHOOSH sound as it surfaces, giving away its location.
Bonne Bay is a fjord comprised of three arms or inlets that extend well into the interior of Gros Morne National Park. The Main Arm is the large inlet from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This arm splits into the East Arm and the South Arm near the communities of Norris Point and Woody Point. This protected fjord is over 20km in length, is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, and has relatively warm water with the surface temperature often reaching 20°C by mid-summer. The shoreline is punctuated by numerous beaches and coves, perfectly suited to picnicking and camping.
The typical wind pattern on Bonne Bay is light winds in the morning and a westerly or south-westerly breeze sweeping in the bay through the afternoon. With this predictable scenario we often run our morning tours out into the Main Arm of Bonne Bay and in the afternoon explore the more sheltered East Arm.
The Main Arm gives you a real sense of being on the ocean as you often experience a gentle ocean swell and it is where we seem to have most luck spotting Minke whales. The fir trees along the shoreline provide favourite morning perches for bald eagles, so if we don’t catch a glimpse of the whales our guests are very satisfied with their close up views of these beautiful birds. The East Arm of Bonne Bay includes the sheltered coves of Gadd’s Harbour and Norris Cove and between them, an incredible rock outcrop of layered limestone called Shag Cliff. On the far shore you can enjoy great views of three very distinctive mountains Killdevil, Bill Hill and Gros Morne.
If you choose to extend your outing for a full day or an overnight, we often suggest paddling all the way down the East Arm to Stanleyville. A sawmill was located here at one time and now all that is evident of this human history is a grassy meadow. Parks Canada has established a primitive campsite in this location and a lovely 3km hiking trail links this cove to the Lomond campground.
Thinking of sea kayaking on Bonne Bay this summer? Find out more information on our guided tours
If you an experienced paddler and wish to explore on your own, go here for information on our sea kayak rentals.