2023 Destination Day Paddles
These specialty tours were designed for those who have already paddled Tangier Harbour, either on one of our regular Coastal Adventures day trips or on their own and with their own kayaking gear, and were interested in a guided journey along a different area of the Eastern Shore.
Our destinations were chosen for their unique nature. Some have a special biological or geological significance, others illustrate the early history of the shore [lighthouses, settlement, etc], and still others attracted us due to the challenge of their remote nature and are out of reach for those with limited kayaking experience.
During the 2021 season we will continue, and expand upon, these Destination Paddles. Most will be scheduled on weekends [but not always] and there will be the option of a rain date if the weather on the day of departure doesn’t cooperate.
The following are descriptions and dates of our tours early in the season. Others will be added if there is sufficient interest. Coastal Adventures will supply the kayaking equipment with an option [and price] for those who bring their own gear.
$95/person + HST [with own kayak equipment]
$135/person + HST [kayak equipment and paddling jackets supplied by Coastal Adventures].
Cold water gear provided early in the season
These tours are not designed for complete beginners [for those refer to our regular day long and half day trips from our base in Tangier. However, participants need not have a great deal of prior experience, and just good general fitness along with a desire to explore a unique area of our coastal environment. The actual departure point for each tour may vary depending on the weather conditions at the time.
For further information and details on any of the trips contact us.
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There are more detailed descriptions of the islands and the adjacent coastal waters in the route guide: Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia
Dates: September 17
Departure: Little Harbour
Egg Island is one of the smaller and more isolated islands along the Eastern Shore. It is exposed to the elements and not accessible in a rough sea but if the weather gods are with us we will visit this barren outpost that few get a chance to see up close. The former lighthouses are long gone although crumbling foundations remain in their place. The current light beacon sits atop a skeleton light tower and powered with a battery that is charged by solar panels. Atop the barren bedrock we will be treated to a majestic 360 degree coastal panorama. En route we will pass a variety of our other wilderness coastal islands and a large herd of Grey Seals haul out on nearby Ship Ledges at low tide. Should we be not be able to reach the island we will explore the more sheltered isles closer to the mainland and nearby Owls Head.
Dates: June 25, July 3, September 4
Departure: Owls Head Government Wharf
For over a year a controversy has surrounded the planned sale of public land at Owls Head to a private developer to build a series of golf courses. Nova Scotia has very little public coastal land remaining but the Eastern Shore is has had little economic development over the years and this potential project has pitted those who consider the idea a good development opportunity for the area against those who are concerned with the potential loss of a precious and pristine stretch of our coastline. Recently the developer has withdrawn his application and the provincial government has announced that this will become a protected provincial park.
Dates: July 2, September 3
Departure: Debaies Cove
Wolfes Island is the largest in the 100 Wild Island archipelago and the site of the most extensive crescent sand beach in the group. It lies at the entrance to Ship Harbour, just opposite to Owls Head with its continuing controversy over a plan to build golf courses on public land. Join us on this Destination Paddle as we circumnavigate this diverse outpost and the adjacent islets. Their special mixture of beach, cliff, inlet and marsh represents the biology, geology and human history of this unique region of the province. Highlights include Guillemot roosts, the largest island sand beach along the coast, and the remnants of the former light station.
Dates: June 17, July 1, September 2
Departure: Murphy’s Cove Campground (You can reserve a site at the campground and spend a night by the ocean, relaxing by a campfire.)
Borgles Island is one of the gems of the 100 Wild Islands. Once populated by several homesteads it was purchased in the 1980’s by foreign interests and slated to be developed for summer residences. Fortunately for us that plan fell through and the island was recently acquired by the NSNT and will remain in its pristine state for present and future generations. It has a varied ecosystem, with many species of birds, plants, as well as some superb sandy beaches, most notably the double crescent at the southern end.
En route we make our way among the inner islets, including Ship Rock with a challenging route for rock climbers.
Dates: June 10, August 5
Departure: Tangier [Coastal Adventures]
Tangier Island owes it’s name to a schooner that foundered here in the early 1800’s. It is uninhabited these days but was settled early on by the Mason and Sullivan families in 1790, part of the gradual dispersion along the coastline of European arrivals in Halifax. They moved within a decade to mainland the but the root cellar of their dwelling is still evident in woods of the now overgrown field. The snug harbour when the Masons arrived has morphed sheltered lagoon over the years. This is a prime example of coastal changes over time and today the inlet can only be accessed by shallow bottom boats at high tide. This is a transformation that continues to this day with a recent winter storm dramatically rearranging the area. Clam beds and mussels grow within the lagoon while terns, eiders, and gulls nest on the adjacent islets.
Few paddlers come out this far as it is usually out of reach for our regular day long tours. However, on this guided trip we will visit this outer island and gain some insight into our early history.
Dates: July 24
Departure: Popes Harbour
Until the middle of the 1900’s, much of the northern side of Gerard Island was cleared and a road ran the length. There were several homestead and school house. Plans to build a bridge/causeway to the mainland [as happened with nearby Sober Island] faded by mid 1900’s as most of the inhabitants had already moved to the mainland. Today only the remnants of this early time remain including stone walls, house foundations, regenerating fields and the roadway now overgrown and hidden under a canopy of conifers. Most of the island has been acquired by the NS Nature Trust as part of the 100 Wild Islands program.
Of particular interest is, the large lagoon separating Gerard and Phoenix Islands, the Bawleen, is open through two shallow entrances through which only small boats can pass. Inside, Harbour Seals are often numerous and haul out on some of the tiny islets at low tide, while terns and eiders nest on others. A large salt marsh, unusual for these rocky islands, forms an incursion on the south shore of the Bawleen. On the northern shore there is a short portage where the two halves of Gerard pinch together and which we may use on our journey.
SHEET ROCK LIGHTHOUSE
Dates: September 4
Departure: Taylors Head Provincial [first parking lot]
Sheet Rock marks the entrance of Sheet Harbour and owes its name to the sheer bedrock cliff facing the seaward side, at times resembling a suspended sheet. It is a barren, windswept, island and a classic example of crustal folding when eons ago an early Africa collided with an early North America. A series of lighthouses shone their beacon from 1878 to 1968 when the last one was automated. Today the keepers are gone and the island is surmounted by a solitary fibreglass tower adjacent to the foundations of the earlier lights, including the original octagonal cast iron tower. During the nesting season a large colony of cormorants take over the western tip and once the birds have fledged, and if the weather cooperates, we will be able to land and explore.
Our route to Sheet Rock includes a visit to the other islands and shoals in Mushaboom Harbour where we will encounter seals and various seabirds. We will stop on the Western Islands and explore the expansive perimeter of bedrock overlain with massive boulders deposited by the ancient glaciers which once covered the province.