Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9-14 Rainy Nova Scotia- Ingonish to Baddeck

Tuesday- Mostly cloudy turning to grey drizzle.

Ann writes:

Everywhere we go now, the story is the same: locals claim that Hurricane Earle changed the weather like a light switch. Hot and sunny before Earle; cold and rainy afterward. Some even claim that the hurricane's salt spray killed all the leaves before they could gain their wonderful fall color, so we may not see any this fall.

We slipped past the narrow entrance to Ingonish Bay around 9:45.

Will Anomaly squeeze through?!
Anyway, the tiny bit of sun quickly disappeared and after sighting a few seals, we plunged into drizzle which continued unpleasantly until we got a ways down the Greater Bras d'Or Channel. The weather improved a bit and we had a nice trip down the channel and finally into Baddeck about 4:30. Two staff members welcomed us onto the dock of Baddeck Marine.

Approaching Baddeck
Finally a town ready for tourists. Lots of cute shops and even a coffee shop for Jon. We had a great Roast Turkey dinner at the Telegraph House which interestingly is owned and operated by fourth and fifth generations of the Dunlop Family- any relation David?.  It was also great to be in a real Marina where we could have  a nice hot shower, our first real showers since Port aux Basque 2 weeks ago!

Jon writes:

We left Ingonish in grey weather and threatening rain. The forecast southwest 10-15 never appeared and though I optimistically set the main when it rose to 7 knots from the northeast, I took it down awhile later in 2-3 as we approached the Great Bras d'Or channel. The Bras d'Or lakes occupy nearly 500 sq miles of the interior of Cape Breton island and are really a bay off the Atlantic with two very narrow entrances at the north end - the Great and Little Bras d'Or channels. The Little one has been blocked (for sailboats) by a fixed bridge, but the Great is navigable. It narrows to less than 1000 ft wide at the entrance which limits the tidal range inside the lakes: even with a current of 6 knots flowing through the channel at peak ebb, not much water can leave! There is a very narrow isthmus at the south end and the St. Peter's canal has been blasted through it to allow small craft to enter and leave to the south. There is a tidal lock in the canal to compensate for the difference between lake level and ocean level, but the rise or fall is only a few feet. 

The Bras d'Or Lakes on Cape Breton Island and our route to Baddeck (click to expand)

We motored down the Great Bras d'Or channel and into Baddeck, passing Alexander Graham Bell's grand estate on Red Head. He spent his summers here and ran many of his experiments on aircraft and hydrofoil boats out on the lake. 

Alec Bell's estate on Red Head near Baddeck

In Baddeck was the first espresso shop we had seen since Charlottetown. It is the influence of the many New England tourists that populate  the town all summer. There was also food here that wasn't deep fried, again a first since Charlottetown. What there was not, was propane. You could exchange a standard 20 lb barbecue tank, but had to drive to Sydney to get your own filled. We are told this might be possible in St. Peter's. 

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