Friday, July 24, 2015

Cape Breton Island and the Bras d'Or Lakes

Cape Breton Island is a huge island NE making up the NE third of Nova Scotia.  It's split by the gigantic saltwater Bras d'Or Lakes.  The lake is surrounded by hills on each side and the area has a quiet rural feel to it.  There are some large towns on the outer shores of Cape Breton Is, but we didn't go there.  The area has a very long history of European habitation and conflict.  In the 1600s, French settlers arrived, and the area was attacked and ultimately taken over by the British in the 1700s.   Somehow some of the First Nations natives managed to survive and still have a small presence today.

We entered via the St Peter's locks at the south end, near the village of St Peters.  As with some of the big locks on the St Lawrence, there is also a bridge associated with the locks.  This one is very small, a one lane bridge and the lock tenders operate both, so it takes a little while to get through.  The water is clean and warm, so local kids jump off the sides to swim.....
Entrance to St Peters Locks, Cape Breton Island

After a night anchored in St Peters and some shopping, we sailed up to Maskell Cove, which is a terrific protected little bay.   Oh, look!  Another lighthouse, they're everywhere.

The town of Beddeck is part way north up the lakes.  Beddeck's claim to fame is Alexander Graham Bell had a large summer home nearby.  So there's a fine museum about all of Bell's technological research and inventions.   
Bill in Beddeck, with lighthouse
We went to a music session at the local yacht club, but unfortunately wasn't nearly as good as the performance we attended on PEI.  And Bill bought some new Keenes (watershoes) in town, since a jug of engine oil burst and ruined his old sandals.

The weather turned rainy and a good set of wind conditions arrived  for us to sail along the main coast of Nova Scotia towards Halifax.  So we decided we better move on.  We had another good sail south through the lakes, back out the locks and across Chedabucto Bay 50 miles to Canso Harbour, dropped the hook and had a quiet evening before starting our coastal passage to Halifax. 

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