Continued from the previous page.
We took our second ferry ride from the town of Freeport at the SW end of
Long Island across Grand Passage to the town of Westport on the eastern
side of Brier Island.
This time we had just one low car in front of us so we had more of a view
as we crossed the channel:
Approaching Westport on the ferry
Harbor view as ferry docked at Westport; tip of
Long Island is to the right.
BRIER ISLAND: BOOKING OUR WHALE CRUISE
After taking the ferry to Brier Island we ordered lunch at the cafe
across from the office of the whale cruise company where we made
reservations for tomorrow morning.
We picked up our food and sat across the street along the wharf to eat
The dogs were in the truck with the windows down, about 25 feet away,
while we ate. They looked so cute that two middle-aged women stopped to
It was very windy (see those flags?) and chilly along the rather
protected harbor, reinforcing the cruise companies'
admonitions to passengers to wear warm clothes on their cruises. Point
taken. It's bound to be even more windy out in the Atlantic and the Bay
of Fundy tomorrow morning.
Based on recommendations by fellow campers and our campground hosts, we
booked seats for the 9:30 AM trip with
Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruises. This company is the oldest whale
cruise on Digby Neck and the islands. They have researchers and
naturalists who collect data and photograph all the whale species and
seabirds that are spotted on each cruise.
We saw a large chart in their office that shows which whales were
spotted when. Because each whale has a unique trail, the researchers
have named each whale and can tell who is who. Cool!
The company has a boat that holds up to 50 people, the M/V Mega Nova. While
we were eating lunch we
could see it out in the passage between us and Green Island between
cruises. (We didn't know it then but I could see the name when I later
downloaded and enlarged the photos.)
Supposedly we're the last two people allowed on tomorrow's morning cruise
because it's full.
The company has a senior rate and also honors Whale Cove
Campground's 10% discount. However, we lucked out and hit one of the
company's special-rate days. They are
advertised on their
website (not just a sales gimmick) but
we didn't realize that until we made our reservation. It's an even lower
rate for tomorrow's morning and afternoon cruises, which is probably why
our cruise is full. Price for all adults tomorrow is $28 + tax = $32.20
CA each. Regular adult price is $48.
BRIER ISLAND: GRAND PASSAGE TIDES
As mentioned earlier, Brier Island is only about
2½ miles wide and 3
miles long. It has
four roads and we explored two of them.
The first was Gulf Rock Road, which goes out the SE end of town to to
tip of the island near Big Pond and Pond Cove. Along the way we passed
some cute houses overlooking the harbor. These two are near the wharf
where we'll get on the Mega Nova tomorrow:
Most of the houses have pretty flowerbeds. One has a lovely little pond
behind it with water lilies:
We had to stop at an overlook and trail on a bluff overlooking Peters
Island because the views were so spectacular back to the harbor, across
to Peters Island and Freeport, and up to a grassy field with views to
the Atlantic Ocean from the top:
View to Westport Harbor
Trail to Big Cove and the Joshua Slocum monument
View to the Atlantic (the trail goes farther than
The monument honors Joshua Slocum, a Westport native who was the first
man to sail solo around the world. His journey on The Spray
lasted a little over three years from 1895-1898.
Peters Island, which lies in Grand Passage between Brier and Long
Islands, has an interesting lighthouse:
This lighthouse was built 1850 and boasted twin lights above the light keeper's house.
It appears to have a large solar panel powering it now.
Not only are the views fantastic from this point -- the lighthouse,
Westport's harbor area, Freeport's harbor across the channel -- but
the fast flow of water from the Bay of Fundy through Grand Passage toward
the Atlantic Ocean was also a sight to behold:
You really can't get the full effect from a small photo but trust us, it
looked like someone pulled the plug out of a tub full of water!
The tide in the harbor
looked to be about four feet down -- and falling rapidly.
So much water rushes into and out of the Bay of Fundy every twelve hours that
it's just astounding to think about it. Seeing the rush of water
outbound in Grand Passage as the tide receded was spectacular. I hope we can see it
rushing in tomorrow morning before our cruise leaves the harbor.
Gotta check tidal charts when you're in an area like this . . .
BRIER ISLAND: BIG POND
& POND COVE
We continued driving on Gulf Rock Pond Road to the SE end of the island
and parked near Big Pond so we could see more scenery and let the dogs
run around some more. We saw just one other couple hiking while we were
The lake is mostly fresh water from streams on the island but it is "brackish"
because salt water sometimes goes over the natural causeway between the
pond and the ocean at Pond Cove:
Above and below: trail to the causeway
between Pond Cove (L) and Big Pond (R)
The beach at Pond Cove has some sand but much of
its perimeter is rock.
There were numerous large wild brier rose bushes along the path to the lake and
beach. The Brier Island brochure we picked up earlier in the day said
the island may have been named for these roses.
Some bright pink and white roses were still in bloom, and there were
lots of fat red or orange rose hips where the petals had already fallen
We enjoyed lots of other flowers in bloom all over both Brier and Long
BRIER ISLAND: NORTHERN
We drove back to Westport on Gulf Rock Road and observed that the water
was noticeably lower in the harbor in the hour that we'd been gone:
We drove out the other end of town on Northern Point Road to guess where
-- Northern Point!
Our last stop was at the Coast Guard station and odd-looking lighthouse
called Northern Light. This is still a working light. It lies at the NE end of island where the Bay of Fundy begins its
flow through Grand Passage to the Atlantic Ocean.
Whatever works! This lighthouse was built in 1901 and is more functional
About half a mile to the west of the lighthouse is Seal Cove, where
about 300 harbor seals are reported to be visible within about a ten-minute
walk along Seal Cove Trail. This scenic view of the Fundy coastline from
the lighthouse looks toward Seal Cove but doesn't show it:
We saw a young couple coming back to the parking area and asked them if they
saw any seals. They said they walked out for about 20 minutes and saw
only three seals.
We were getting tired by then and decided to go back to Westport to
catch the next ferry. We were the only vehicle on the outgoing ferry and
only one vehicle was on it when it came over from Long Island. The ferry
guys said they have to stick to their schedule even if no one is there
to ferry across.
Even though we had a "front row seat" we couldn't see much over the
front of the ferry, which you can barely see behind the GPS:
I found it amusing to watch the little ferry on the GPS make its way
across Grand Passage.
When we got to Tiverton Harbor the tide was so incredibly low in one end
of it that we wondered if there was enough water for the ferry to get us
back to Digby Neck and our campground!
There was, and we did.
DINNER IN DIGBY
Since our best opportunity to see the town of Digby was this afternoon,
Jim and I drove 25 miles for dinner at Captain's Cabin. This restaurant
was recommended by a gal in our campground office.
Digby bills itself as the scallop capital of the world so we ordered
scallop dinners. The sauteed scallops were OK but the veggies (canned
corn and peas, dry mashed potatoes) were nothing to write home about. We
were disappointed in the quality of the food.
We walked along the harbor, where Jim noted "O'Neil's Seafoods"
. . .
. . .
and we walked down the plank to see the private sailboats and yachts:
At that time of day the tide was down about 20 feet.
We didn't see much of anything else in town. We were more interested in
going back to our campground at Whale Cove and relaxing. Several campers
left during the day and we practically had the place to ourselves the
rest of the weekend.
Next entry: let's go see the whales!!
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil