Since we’ve gotten things out of sequence I guess it doesn’t matter what order we use to post the rest of our Canadian Maritime adventures. Both Steve and I had independently done whale watching trips from the Digby and Brier Island area (western end) of Nova Scotia on previous trips to Nova Scotia. Both of us had fabulous experiences. On my trip we’d seen 10 Humpback whales and Steve saw the endangered Right whale. While there were other places we could have done whale watches we chose to wait and come back to this area.
We were camped in Kejimkujik NP (more about that in another post) and had made reservations with Mariner Cruises. This company had been recommended by the couple who joined us for dinner at the Red Shoe Pub on Cape Breton. They didn’t mislead us. It was a great day … except for the weather. As we drove the hour and a half from camp to Brier Island the weather went from overcast, to drizzle, to a steady rain and raw wind. Fortunately we carry rain gear in the car and had dressed warmly for the open water. I was complaining about the weather when Steve said “Whales don’t care if it rains, they’re already wet!” With that I perked up and had a great time.
Brier Island is a small island off the tip of Digby Neck. The road to it is a designated scenic highway. You need to take two very short ferries as well. Being on time for the ferries is critical to reaching the island in time for the trip. When you call to make reservations they will tell you to be at the second ferry by a certain time in order to make the whale watch on time. There is a twenty minute drive from the second ferry to the wharf. The boat left Brier Island and headed into the Bay of Fundy with about 16 passengers. The owner of the company comes along and acts as naturalist and guide. Even after years of doing this you can tell she loves whales by the excitement in her voice. It wasn’t long before we spotted some in the distance and headed their direction. They were demonstrating tail slapping behavior. As we approached they stopped slapping. Later we hit the jackpot with a family of humpbacks: Mom, Dad and baby. While I’ve yet to see a breach these three whales entertained us for over an hour. They stayed very close to the boat. The baby was especially curious and came over to spy hop and check us out. Then he dove under the boat and resurfaced on the other side. Mom kept a sharp eye on her little (10-12′) baby. Who was watching whom? Rain or no rain our cameras were clicking away. We also saw Greater Shearwaters out fishing for their dinner and a few dolphins. There is another whale watch company that offers whale watching by Zodiac and they came over our way to watch these three whales perform. We’d considered doing this but Steve felt our photo ops would be better from a boat. On a raw day like this we were glad to be a bit drier and warmer. Mariner served us hot beverages and homemade cookies too. Boy did that feel good!
As we headed back to shore the skies cleared and the day turned sunny. We spent another hour or so roaming the island and photographing the working harbor and other scenic spots. When I’d visited here in 2004 it was the first time I’d been to a rural fishing village. I was enchanted. At that time I had only a basic digital point and shoot with 3 megapixels. This time we found several picturesque scenes. Don’t you think the colored ropes would make a good jigsaw puzzle?
Steve has put together a video of the trip with some of the commentary and background music by Judy Collins singing “Farewell to Tarwathie”. There are sounds of whales in the background.