Day 3: Western Nova Scotia
I have learned that, while RV Campgrounds are pretty great and spacious, they also have a downside: you pay for showering there.
I suppose that makes sense, since they know you have water access in your camper; but I prefer to shower with a bit more space than the 2X2 box in my box. Checking into Jaggar’s Ocean Campground, I asked about their shower policy. They have large, individual shower rooms for which you ask and receive a key.
This way, they are able to know which ones need to be sanitized after each individual/family use. I’m not sure if they’ve always had this set up, but in times of COVID-19, this is a brilliant way of handling safety and health standards.
A beautiful drive, but surprisingly inland! For most of it, you would have no idea you were driving on a little strip of land with ocean on either side of you, just 5km wide at its widest spots.
The drive from Cape Split to Brier Island follows the western extension of the Northern Mountain Range, made up of two lava flows. Basically, it’s a super long volcanic ridgeline. While often left out of maps, the entire province of Nova Scotia is part of the Appalachian mountain range, and the amount of geological history in the province is mind-blowing. If you’re looking to claim that you hiked the ENTIRE range, you’ll have to add Nova Scotia to your list.
If you’ve heard of the “Digby Drag” then you are a scallop eater, and have probably enjoyed the local sea-life here. Unfortunately, it’s not a loving term, as the drag is a fairly environmentally damning way to harvest scallops, but an interesting random fact for this little neck of the woods (pun intended).
Digby Neck is maid of up the mainland, Long Island, and Brier Island, requiring ferries to reach the end. Watching the ferries fight with the strong current caused by the Bay of Fundy was a tad unnerving, but an entertaining experience nonetheless! Another plus to this year: All the small, Nova Scotia owned ferries are currently free, otherwise you would need $7 cash (round trip, as they don’t charge for the return) per each ferry.
You can grow your own! It will only take you roughly 200 million years! Patience is a virtue? An easy walk among gravel, sand, and boards, the 1.7km hike to balancing rock is filled with educational plaques and black spruce trees. To reach your final view point, you’ll descend 235 stairs (there are little break spots in between) out and above the crash waves.
Accurately labeled “Nature’s Time Post” for the area, it’s a great stop to stretch the legs and see geological history as this big piece of basalt balances on its tip over the ocean.
Brier Island and Whale Watching
Brier Island and Whale Watching
The island, completely made of basalt, is the western most point of Nova Scotia. I am already planning a return trip to walk the entire circumference of Brier Island, as it’s only
a 25km hike (or run)! It’s taken 57 ships to foggy wrecks, has 3 lighthouses, and a single town.
It’s also known for its incredible whale watching, as it’s one of the few places you can see the rare Finback and Atlantic Right whales, among many others. I enjoyed a zodiac ride out to 6 humpbacks playfully hunting together! My first experience on a zodiac (RIB-Rigid Inflatable Boat) was NOT a disappointment. Now I know what my next big purchase will need to be! :P Apparently, there’s an old orca that has made a dolphin pod his family. His name is Tim. I was hoping to meet him, but to no avail.
I’ll admit, as a west coast kid that has seen many humpbacks migrating, I was actually most excited to see an Ocean Sunfish! One of the heaviest bony fish in the world (and adorably ugly), they can weigh up to 2,000lbs. He was just flailing about on the surface, pretending to look like a shark with a single fin above water.
Wearing a face mask on the water (required) turned out to be a benefit, as it kept my skin and lips from getting wind or sun burned. I cannot say the same for my forehead. Oops!
Today was less about exploring and more educational focused, but it’s hard not to want to learn all about the areas on which we set foot. I finally landed at my campground at a reasonable hour to make pizza and walk the beach at sunset.
Next up: Yarmouth.