At midnight the Explorer was at 56°40’N / 59°55’W on a southeast heading bound for Quaker Hat on the southern part of Labrador. Just after sunrise, a pod of white-beaked dolphins greeted the National Geographic Explorer as we ploughed through the calm sea. This beautiful morning at sea was spent being on deck and bridge watching the seascape and enjoying the almost balmy temperature (45°F/7°C). Our historian David Barnes primed us about the world of the Norse, as we sailed along the coast of Markland (the Norse name for Labrador) en route to Vinland (the Norse name for Newfoundland). During late morning we were seeing our first real forest (with tall, upright spruce trees) on this voyage. We have come south of tree line and are definately out of the Arctic and into the boreal climate zone. Before lunch, National Geographic photographer Michael Melford, gave us a good introduction to the technical basics of digital photography.
Since we passed White Bear Island last evening we logged 277 nautical miles before we stopped in the afternoon at the tiny settlement, Indian Harbour, that was once home to a few fishermen. After meandering in the archipelago along Cut Throat Island, Run-by-Guess Island and Ice Tickle Island, the National Geographic Explorer anchored in a bay, and the kayaks were launched and populated with guests who preferred to explore the local waters that way. Others went zodiac cruising between and around the small islands and still others took a long hike on the adjacent Mundy Island.
The vegetation was very lush and berries were very, very abundant all over: black crowberries and bearberries, orange cloudberries, red bunchberries and lingonberries, as well as blue bilberries.
We had a true Indian summer afternoon in Indian Harbour. The weather was balmy (above 50°F) until we finished the outings, then the wind picked up and clouds moved in. We heaved anchor 5:00 p.m. and sailed south towards our next destination along the Labrador coast: Battle Harbour.After recap and dinner, the photo team hosted a session in the lounge where photos from this voyage could be submitted for comments and reviews.