Bond vs. Ranger – how to get to Goose Bay?

Becky awoke at 7 am and figured she’d go for a walk around Cartwright rather than wake Scott up. We wanted to be at the ferry terminal when the office opened so that we could get on the appropriate wait list for the ferry. When she got to the terminal, she discovered the office didn’t open until 9 pm, so she went for a wander-around town.

Becky soon came upon Debbie, whom we had met the day before in our wanderings. Debbie was standing on the porch enjoying a cup of coffee, so Becky asked if she could possibly have a cup. Debbie invited her in and she had a great visit with Debbie and Mik. Debbie and Mik live in Goose Bay and were in Cartwright visiting Mik’s sister Sharon who works at the weather station in Cartwright. Mik grew up in Paradise River – this was interesting because both Adrian and family (where we stayed last night) and Barb (at the B&B in Port Hope Simpson) grew up in Paradise River. We were amused by the number of people we met from Paradise River given that it currently has a population of 18!

We had not yet decided which ferry we were going to take. One option was to take the Northern Ranger to Black Tickle, and then up to Goose Bay. This would mean departing Cartwright at about 5 pm and arriving in Goose Bay at 10:30 pm the next evening. If we could get a cabin on the boat, the trip to Black Tickle would be interesting and give us a point of comparison from our trip on the Nordik Express up the North shore of Quebec.

The other option was the overnight ferry (the Bond), which left at 7 pm and arrived in Goose Bay at 8 am. This is the same boat that would take us to Lewisporte on Tuesday. When I called from Port Hope Simpson, the reservation agent told us the boat was sold out and we couldn’t make a reservation even to walk on. When talking to the locals, they all said we would have no trouble walking on, but it was highly unlikely we would get a cabin. Given the fullness of this boat, the Northern Ranger looked like a more interesting option.

The Northern Ranger arrived at 3 pm, and we looked into getting on it. Unfortunately the purser could not guarantee us a cabin and we would not know for certain until after the boat sailed. The boat did not have a decent loading ramp, so we would need to load our bikes by lifting them over a 4 foot gap between the wharf and the boat. In addition, a lot of the folks from the boat entered the Northern Store in Cartwright and proceeded to clear out the beer, wine and liquor section. This did not bode well for a peaceful trip to Black Tickle. Given that, we decided to pass on the Northern Ranger.

In the end, we had no issues with getting walk-on tickets for the Bond for the evening sailing. We were very low on the room list, so we knew we needed to find our own place on the boat for the night.

The boat (MV Bond) has a very negative reputation with the locals, but we didn’t find the experience too bad. The food, however, is awful. If you plan to take this boat, also plan to bring enough food to last your journey. It was good that we only needed one meal on the way to Goose Bay.

We spent the first part of the evening hanging out in the bar with Kraig and Kara from BC. They were on a two month road trip visiting all the provinces for their honeymoon before Kraig starts practicing medicine, and Kara goes back to her Physiotherapy clinic. Scott got creamed by both of them in crib, while Becky took advantage of the free wireless Internet to do some blog updates. The free wireless on the boat will come in handy during the 36 hour trip to Lewisporte. At one point in the evening Becky noticed an iceberg in the distance. It was really cool to actually see an real iceberg. Unfortunately, it was rather far away, so it was difficult to capture in a photo.

We didn’t have a cabin, so we setup the tent on the upper deck and slept in it. It worked out pretty well, except we foolishly moved it around with a bag in it (so it wouldn’t blow away). The rough deck surface and the heavy bag made several small holes in the floor, which we now need to repair. For some reason we thought it would hold up OK without being anchored. Given the winds on the deck, that was a foolish assumption. After setting it up, we tied it down to various pipes and benches, but it still flapped a bit. Next time we’ll anchor the corners down before setting the tent up.

We slept quite well on the deck and awoke to the smell of bacon. Unfortunately we had placed the tent a little too near the galley exhaust. For the next trip – if we don’t get a cabin – we’ll need to find a better location. There is a ton of deck space, so we shouldn’t have an problem finding a better spot. We’ll have two nights on the Bond on our way from Goose Bay to Lewisporte.

2 thoughts on “Bond vs. Ranger – how to get to Goose Bay?”

  1. Hi from Arctic Bay, Nunavut. Back working again. Nice meeting you in Cartwwright, Labrador. Look forward to reading your blog. Good luck on your travels. Take care. Mick

  2. Hi Mick,

    Thanks for the note. It was great meeting you and visiting with you and Debbie while in Cartwright. We had a great visit in Goose Bay and have now made it back to the Rock!


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