September 24, 2010

Way out West in Nova Scotia

Our ridgetop Whale Cove Campground site is on a long skinny peninsula with two islands at the  west end, umbilicled by ferries. On the sunset side we’ve a view of the Bay of Fundy. Southeast there’s a sliver of St. Mary’s Bay. Eons ago, the deep Bay of Fundy was a fissure line when the supercontinent Pangaea land mass fractured and the continents began a long slow move to assume their positions and wait for mankind to come along. 
A short but steep dirt road ends at Whale Cove on the Fundy shore. If you’ve not been raised here, the huge Fundy tides are mighty intriguing. I imagine French cartographer and explorer Samuel de Champlain who first mapped Nova Scotia, sailing into the Bay of Fundy to anchor for the night. “Well, mateys, the tide will soon begin to drop.”  Then… “Zounds! When will this stop!? Move her farther out, me boys!” Here’s the Whale Cove at high tide and low:

We drove up the road a piece and took the ferry to Long Island.

There was a little harbor – there always is! We wandered around and had a chat about travel and weather with three guys who looked like they’d been working on a boat engine for days at a slow pace. The driver asked Chuck what work he did. I asked him the same…“aw, fished a little.”

Whale C Long Is Guys in a Truck

We arrived at Lavina’s for lunch. It’s a Nova Scotia favorite and unanimously recommended, right next to the Brier Island ferry dock. At 1:30 a few people were chatting at the bar, but what?! Lavina gently let us know that today was the first day of the winter season, and lunch would not be served. Stanton smiled hugely. We’d had nothing to eat, so begged for dessert and coffee, and had a treat that sustained us ‘till a grocery store sandwich on Brier Island.

Like other Nova Scotia seashore communities, fishing was a huge industry on Brier Island, but is now much reduced due to fewer fish in the sea, an industry collision of greater capacity ships with climate change. The scallop business is one that carries on in this area and nearby Digby (where we are today), but tourism is more vital. Everywhere, local history is promoted and fascinating, and B&B’s abound. A salmon farm is anchored in the bay, and many fear the pollution impact.

One of sailing’s great heroes grew up on Brier! At Hooking by the Sea, a rug and craft shop, we found that the building was housed in the old Slocum Shoe Shop! Joshua Slocum was born in 1844 - almost exactly 100 years before my birthday - and raised right here! As a lad, Slocum was drawn to the sea, but his dad forced him to learn a cobbler’s trade in this building. Young Joshua ran away to sea at 16 and later became the first to singlehand a sailboat around the world in the Spray, 1895-1898. He and the Spray just kept sailin’ and together were lost at sea in 1909. 

whale c temp slocumUntil it was destroyed in a 1970’s storm, Slocum’s family home was still on the nearby dock (to the left). The Slocum Society has installed a monument overlooking a western passage to the ocean.

Brier’s Western Light is as close as you can get (without a hike) to most western tip of Nova Scotia. Joshua Slocum’s grandfather John spent a spell as lighthouse keeper here.
Back around two islands and two ferry rides later we were back home.We ended our day with a fine sunset view at the campground.


Anonymous said...

gig, these places are so beautiful that they don't even look real!

love 'em!


Anonymous said...

Hey there, maties!
We were so happy to read that you enjoyed your time out in Digby Neck and the islands. Really hoping you had some time to share with Vaughn Tidd, the campground owner. He is a TRUE GEM!
Did you make it to Bear River?
Where are you kids now???
It sure has been fun having you visit our province, share time with you and read your adventures. You and Chuck are great spirits & mighty fine folks!

Continued happy trails! Paula & Jerry xo xo
ps The truck camper caravan buddies were very happy to have your expertise on board for the sail of Lunenburg harbour and all said to tell you "thanks!". It was a fab sail, for sure! :o)

C and G Taylor said...

Barb, these pix do not lie! But maybe they understate. It's a wonderful country!

P&J, we couldn't have had all this fun without your help! Have loved every minute (except our TV antennae blowing off yesterday). Yes!about Vaughn & Bear River. Sadly, we're in NB on our way south.