Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Cape Breton Island has a varied geography. It is dominated by rocks and trees, waterways and lakes, but dotted with farmland. There are a few well known (at least in Nova Scotia) sandy beaches but I discovered a couple more on the weekend. Having lived in Port Hawkesbury right after university (when God was a teenager), I used to go to Port Hood Beach, about a half hour to the west. It faces Port Hood Island.

The beach runs to the left and right of the breakwater.

Moving on to Mabou, I discovered a Wildlife Reserve I had not previously known. The picture shows the beach on the edge of the land and in the distance is the entrance to the Mabou harbour. There are endangered plovers that nest on the beach.

I also discovered the beach at Inverness. I picked up several pieces of beach glass for a co-worker who collects it and saw my first gannet (sadly not alive) with a beautiful baby blue beak (picture not taken out of respect for my readers). Mabou and Inverness are both mining towns, though no longer is mining viable.

And the last pic is of one of the many beaches in Ingonish, a resort town on the northeast part of the Cabot Trail. You have to literally crawl over the beach stones to make it to the sand, but it's worth the sprained ankles.

I love going to the beach, especially in the off season. With fall winds and winter storms, all kinds of interesting things wash ashore and I can spend hours looking through batches of seaweed and driftwood for victims of the weather. My best find was at the entrance to the Halifax Harbour several years ago in a spot called Eastern Passage. A whale had washed ashore, though what kind, I'm not really sure. It wasn't a toothed whale so possibly a finback. I was able to tear a 3 foot long piece of baleen from the creature's jaw bone. When I got it home I put it in the tub with some bleach to clean it and it now sits on top of my bookshelf. Baleen is a hard material, made from the same stuff as our nails and hair, that whales use to filter seawater in order to trap krill, shrimp, and fish for food. They take big mouthfuls of water, then push it out with the aid of their tongue, food becoming trapped by the baleen.

Weird. I know. But cool.

Next up: odds and sods from the trip including a mama and baby moose.



Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures. I love walking on the beach in off season too. I am most at peace when I walk the beach.


Beaches are my solace and rescue...the last frontier (besides the human brain) left undiscovered and mysterious.

Linda D. in Seattle