2014  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
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   EXPLORING BRIER ISLAND & DIGBY, p. 2

SATURDAY, AUGUST 23

 

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 it:

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 pet them:


Poor puppies!

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 2 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 we went)

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 there.

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)

 


Big Pond


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 off:

 

We enjoyed lots of other flowers in bloom all over both Brier and Long Islands today.

BRIER ISLAND:  NORTHERN POINT 

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 than aesthetic.

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!!

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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