New Foundland

Mine Quest 2 Expedition

Scene from the engine room of Bell Island Mine, Newfoundland, Canada. Photo by Jill Heinerth.

Last summer, my path led me for the first time to Newfoundland, Canada, more precisely to the town of Conception Bay South. Cave explorer Jill Heinerth invited me along with Rick Stanley, the owner of Ocean Quest Adventure Resort, to dive some wrecks in the bay. On this occasion, Stanley told us about a project whose realization he has been working toward for several years.

Diving the Arrow

It’s an unsettled kind of morning on Chedabucto Bay of Canada’s east coast. The sun is shining—it’s really quite pleasant—but there’s a brisk wind blowing from the southwest. What that translates into here in the waters between Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia is heavy seas. We’re pounding through four to six foot swells in a 25-foot rigid hull inflatable boat.

Bell Island Wrecks

Just knowing that Vikings started a settlement here a thousand years ago and that the first fishermen from Europe began arriving in the 1500’s adds to a sense of history that cloaks the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a sense that I’m acutely aware of on this sunny day in June on board the vessel, Ocean Quest, as the skipper, Bill Flaherty, navigates across Conception Bay towards Bell Island.

Discover the underwater charms of New Foundland

Many millions of years ago, a piece of a land broke away from the ancient continent, Gondwanaland, from the place we now know as Morocco, and traveled a long journey westward until it collided with the North American continent a bit to the south of Greenland. The first Europeans who visited this new world in 986 A.D. were the Icelandic Vikings under the command of Thorfinn Karlsefni, but the newcomers did not settle the area for a long time.