Wild Winds of Nova Scotia

The Canso Causeway, Nova Scotia

When we paddled across Canada, we vowed we would come back to visit some special places and reconnect with people that were just as special. One of those places is Nova Scotia, a province surrounded by ocean, spectacular cliffs, long stretches of sandy beaches and seals sunning themselves on sand bars. 

Planning our trip to Nova Scotia, we did not anticipate the arrival of Hurricane Larry. We fully expected the hurricane to blow further out into the Atlantic Ocean toward Newfoundland before we reached Nova Scotia.

Driving into the province we encountered a day of rain with some areas predicting to receive 50 to 80 mm of precipitation. After listening to the weather forecast announcing clear skies for the next day, we chose to spend the night stretched in the back of the car with the seats folded flat, keeping us and our equipment high and dry. 

The following day with the weather moving further northward and to the east, the skies were clear and bright. We set out from the small cove at West Linwood and prepared to round Cape Jack only to be forced off the water onto a long cobble beach due to the strong wind. Here we spent the remainder of the day and night.

Our intent now was to leave very early in the morning, hoping for calmer winds. Listening to the wind blow all night we realized at 3 a.m. it had stopped. Dawning our headlights we awoke and prepared breakfast and arranged our gear to head out. Calm water awaited us and we paddled down the coast around Cape Jack and into the Strait of Canso through the Canso lock, all before noon to avoid the forecasted increase in the winds.

The Strait of Canso is a deep, narrow channel separating the Nova Scotian mainland from Cape Breton Island. The strait connects Chedabucto Bay on the Atlantic Ocean to St. George’s Bay on the Northumberland Strait, a sub-basin of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Canso lock consists of two sets of gates to compensate for the difference in water levels otherwise, strong currents would make safe navigation impossible. Water levels, due to tidal differences at either end of the Canso Canal, can vary as much as a metre.

As the winds increased, we found refuge at Pirates Harbour where we hunkered down for the rest of the day and night, nicely protected from the strong wind. This was going to be our routine for the remainder of the paddle. Arise very early in the morning and paddle in the calm covering distance before the late morning, early afternoon winds arrived. 

Lighthouse at St. Peters, Cape Breton Island

Three days and eighty kilometres later we arrived at the cobble beach at Battery Provincial Park at St. Peters, early in the morning before the winds increased again. After a planned week of rest and touring we will be heading to the 100 Wild Islands on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia where another adventure awaits us!

We had lots of fun at our book signing event at Kingston’s Memorial Centres Farmers’ Market this month! The event was hosted at the Loving Spoonful ‘Grow a Row’ booth. Not only did we sign books, but throughout the day we watched our canoe fill up with surplus garden produce donated from generous backyard growers and farmers. Then all the abundance of fresh food was distributed to Loving Spoonful partner agencies. How awesome is that! Staff and volunteers work hard at Loving Spoonfuls to ensure everyone has access to fresh, good food! If you have extra garden goodies, don’t let them go to waste! Bring it to the Kingston Public Market Saturdays from 1-5 pm; Sundays from 9 am-2 pm at Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market; and Tuesdays from 5 pm-7 pm at Raxx Billiards Bar & Grill parking lot.

No garden produce? If you are willing and able, you can also donate to Loving Spoonful ongoing support of community programs or why not consider volunteering your time!

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October 19th is the date! We are honoured to be a guest on the Canoehound Adventure Show! Be sure to join Dennis Rogers live on YouTube every Tuesday between 7 and 9 pm as he chats with enthusiasts passionate about the great outdoors. Listen as he covers some really great topics of canoeing, camping, bushcrafting and adventuring!

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