Monday, July 19, 2010

Cape Breton - Port Hood

We made our drive up from Pictou, had a great look at a lone coyote crossing the highway in front of us, and crossed the causeway onto Cape Breton Island. From there we wound up the west coast of the island to Port Hood, and settled into a space in the open beachside campground of Sunset Sands. We look across a mile or so of the Northumberland Strait to Port Hood Island, and in just seconds can walk onto a beautiful sand crescent beach. We continue to be amazed by the gorgeous sand beaches and the amazingly warm waters of this part of Nova Scotia! Unlike Pictou, there are very few stinging jellyfish, so swimming is awesome.

Great sunsets, too:

A looming thunderhead foretold a violent thunderstorm which swept though in the afternoon. As we huddled in the sanctity of our snug little home, wincing at the crashing thunder and comforting terrified and shaking Toby, we watched our neighbor’s trailer’s awning ripped apart and thrown up onto his roof by the gale. After the storm passed, I joined the unfortunate couple in retrieving and untangling the contraption. Apart from one of its hinge points being mostly torn from the trailer, the pieces were able to go back together, and we were able to get it rolled up in its home position.

So, its been a very beachy several days, with warm wind and clear skies. We walk the beach, swim in the ocean, kayak the clear waters and look down at a myriad of seaweeds waving in the current, crabs, fishes, sand dollars, and starfish. A local market provided us with lobster for another dinner of sumptuous lobster rolls, and some of the best atlantic salmon we’ve ever had, cooked over a smoky wood fire. Wow, this doesn’t suck at all!

We attended a ceiligh (kay-lee) in the nearby town of Mabou. This is a celtic social gathering, primarily focused on Cape Breton style music. It was really great: there was a constant rotation of musicians: fiddle, guitar and piano, plus a couple of step dancers. The music ranged from hauntingly beautiful to can’t-stop-from-foot-tapping. Particulary amusing was how unlikely looking the characters were who emerged from the crowded community hall seating to play their instruments or stamp their feet – overweight middle aged women, gawky teenaged boys, stiff elderly men, but this made for more of a gift of their music.

The hills of Mabou:

And we went back to Mabou to a little pub called the Red Shoe, where they have live music every night, and good pub fare. The musicians were young but skilled, and the young woman fiddler bore a strong resemblance to my childhood violin teacher!

So, a great start to our Cape Breton experience. Next, we brave the serpentine Cabot Trail as we drive to a campground near the northern end of the island. It'll be a great spot, if we make it...


  1. Dear Matthew and Nancy
    I loved your photographs and all the wonderful descriptions you incorporate in your blog. I have been ( still am very busy this summer) but had a chance to reconnect with your blog. It is certainly very good! Good and entertaining writing Matthew!