I also wanted to mention that One Ocean has the best non golfer itinerary that I have ever seen on any golf tour. Non golfers spend their days enjoying a terrific range of activities such as cruising in the zodiacs, hikes on shore, town and village visits, wildlife viewing, cycle touring, sea kayaking and even stand-up paddle boarding – all in the company of One Ocean's expert team of guides. We experienced the delights of Atlantic Canada from the comfort of our floating ‘lodge’ - then we relocate to a new place every day! You will get to know all the staff, appreciate them and become friends for life! They are the best at what they do because they love what they do and it totally shows in the way they interacted with us. We were all one big family with the staff looking out for us on and off shore so a special SHOUT OUT to all the One Ocean staff! You are all special people and we totally appreciate all the personal attention you gave us to make this journey the best experience of my life!
What I will remember most about this journey are all the travelers, including media, and the One Ocean staff. I would play golf with different people, have family style dinners and breakfasts with other travelers and I left with a feeling that we were all one big family that experienced something that we will cherish forever. One Ocean invited me to join the cruise as a travel partner, so we can share our first-hand experiences with everyone to get you excited about joining next year's cruise. I will be there for sure next Summer with many of our American golf travelers. Just call me anytime at 949-245-9397 so I can share my experiences with you!
This 7-night voyage departed from Louisbourg, Nova Scotia and returned to nearby Sydney - a 30 minute flight from Halifax and three easy connecting flights for us from LAX. It's so far east that there's a one hour time difference ahead of Boston! Our partner and host, One Ocean Expeditions, is a world leader in polar exploration. With a steadfast commitment to safety and sustainability, for years they have provided clients unique polar marine experiences that showcase pristine ecosystems. One Ocean empowers guests to safely experience the world's most extreme regions while contributing to the responsible stewardship of wildlife and natural habitats.
Now a new voyage - a World first in expedition cruising – blending a unique cruise experience, full of wildlife encounters, visits to colorful coastal villages plus exciting
off-ship excursions, while providing easy access to several of Canada’s most spectacular golfing locations. We have Andrew Prossin to thank for his insight in expanding expedition cruising to include golf at some of the most spectacular ocean and forest courses I have ever played. I also had the pleasure of cruising with Andrew, One Ocean Expedition's Founder and Managing Director, who is also an accomplished Polar region adventurer and ocean racing enthusiast. In 2014, he was part of a team that discovered HMS Erebus, one of the pair of Sir John Franklin's ships wrecked more than 150 years ago in an expedition to the ice-choked Northwest Passage. Oh yea, I forget to mention that he also loves to play golf and accompanied us on the entire 8-day journey. Thank you Andrew for your vision to combine expedition cruising with golf at four spectacular courses. It was great to meet you and spend time with you and your fiancée!
Upon arrival, we overnighted at luxurious Cambridge Suites before boarding the expedition ship. The nearby Governors Pub and Restaurant served great local brews and local seafood delicacies. When I visited the Pub, I met the head chef on our ship who proudly told me about all the great cuisine he has planned for our journey. We became friends throughout our journey. Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, with a visit to the historic Fortress, a National Historic site of Canada and an 18th century French fortress. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. After our visit to the fortress, we boarded our expedition vessel, the One Ocean Navigator / Akademik Ioffe. We board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh, local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse and along the beautiful coastline of Cape Breton. I am from Boston s I have a special appreciation for fresh lobster!
We played four spectacular golf courses, including Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links, both championship links courses. We also play at the Links at Crowbush on Prince Edward Island and the wooded Highland Links- Ingonish, Nova Scotia. Co-designer of the celebrated Cabot Cliffs layout, Ben Crenshaw, claimed this “was probably the finest location for any course I have ever helped design”. From tee to green, the dramatic par-3, 16th is the signature hole, playing from one cliff edge to another. And like the famous par- 5 closing hole at Pebble Beach, the 18th at Cabot Cliffs plays along the coastline
the entire length from tee to green. (Golf Digest course ranking for Canada = 1). On the second day we played Cabot Links. This classic coastal layout is considered by many to be the finest links course outside of Scotland. Exposed to the winds of the Gulf of St Lawrence, the expansive layout presents a superb challenge for players of all abilities. Every hole offers an ocean view and it is impossible to not feel connected with the landscape. Six holes are located directly adjacent to the white sand beaches and rolling dunes. (Golf Digest course ranking for Canada = 5) We also played the famous Links at Crowbush, a gorgeous championship links-style layout which earned a 5-star
rating by Golf Digest when first built. This is undoubtedly the jewel in crown of
Prince Edward Island’s renowned golfing scene. The expansive layout features deep
pot bunkers, plenty of water hazards, knee deep rough in some locations and a constant sea breeze, this can be a tricky place to shoot a low score. (Golf Digest course ranking for Canada = 12). Our final round was played in the forest at Highland Links - Ingonish, N.S. Designed by the renowned golfing architect Stanley Thompson, Highland Links was built in the 1930s. The layout runs from a rocky promontory and is set entirely within the National Park. Flat lies are uncommon here and shot making will be tested. The undulating terrain offers wonderful ocean glimpses. (Golf Digest course ranking for Canada = 15). It was also a pleasure to play a round at Highland with Peter Ellegard, International golf travel writer with our organization , IAGTO, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.
Following our second round at Cabot, we were hosted by Glenora Distillery for a tour of their whiskey plant and delicious dinner. Being North America's first single-malt whiskey distillery is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It all began in the early 1800’s when Scottish immigrants flocked to Cape Breton Island. Its beauty resembled the Highlands and Islands of Scotland so much that they decided to settle there and make it their permanent home. Many traditions and secrets travelled across the sea with those pioneers. One of those secrets was the making of spirited whiskey.
On one of our two non golfing days, we went sea kayaking, visited spectacular beaches and even toured a cheese factory on the French Island of Les De La Madeleine (the Magdalen Islands of Quebec). I bought my wife a beautiful original painting of the spectacular island lighthouse perched up on a nearby cliff! It is extra special to make my purchase directly from the artist!
On the final day the ship sailed many miles overnight to Sable Island which was recently designated as a Canadian National Reserve. Seals were popping up everywhere as we landed our zodiacs on the beach. The island is home over 450 wild horses released in the late 18th century and soon became feral. You could choose from a relaxed hike along the beach to an extreme hike into the islands sand dunes and fresh water pools. Despite some back soreness from four rounds of golf, I choose the extreme hike with ski poles and was so happy with my decision. We hiked many miles into the sand dunes and found several wild horses surrounding the island's natural fresh water pools. It's a total mystery how these horses survive in this extreme environment eating only sea grass! Sable Island was the most beautiful adventure into the wide that I have ever experienced. It was amazing to hear that only four National Park rangers and researchers live on Sable Island at any given time and that probably no more than 100 people visit the island all of last year.
All good things must come to an end, but I hope that the experiences I have shared will convince you to call Emerald Tours so we can get you on board for next June's golf cruise expedition. I can guarantee that it will be the ultimate experience of your lifetime.
Please contact us so we can share more firsthand stories with you so you can join us next year for the experience of your lifetime. By the way, I forgot to mention the fiddler and mandolin players who accompanied us throughout our journey and played great music throughout our Fiddles and Sticks Journey.