Writing

Nova Scotia Flag on ferry

A quick trip to Big Tancook Island

I haven’t been writing much and I visit so many interesting places in Nova Scotia I thought I’d try my hand at putting down some thoughts on a little trip I took.

On a rather gloomy Sunday, a friend and I decided to take a trip with our bikes to Big Tancook Island, in Mahone Bay. Both Little and Big Tancook Islands are about 9.7km off the coast, reachable by a 50 minute ferry ride from Chester, NS. Here are some photos I took of the trip. I apologize for the quality, they’re not great, they were taken with my iPhone 3GS. I took a ton more with my real camera, some of which I’m sure will appear on the main photographs page at some point.

Inside of Tancook ferry
Inside of Tancook ferry

As you can see, the clouds didn’t bode well for a day of cycling around an island. I had visions of sitting in the coffee shop until the next ferry to the mainland left. As it turned out though, the weather held and it actually got quite warm and sunny over the course of the day.

Colourful house on Big Tancook Island
Colourful house on Big Tancook Island

The ferry is pretty small, but exactly what you need to get over to the islands. We went near the end of September so we were the only off-islanders on the boat as far as I could tell. It’s a pretty comfy cabin and you can get up top to get a fantastic view of Mahone Bay. During our trip, there was a car wedged onto the back of the boat, and as we learned you have to schedule it in advance. They only allow it high tide and you have to load/unload yourself.

Weathered barn on Big Tancook Island
Weathered barn on Big Tancook Island

Upon arrival we unloaded our bikes and took off down the wharf towards the main road. All roads on the island are gravel, so you can take your time getting around and not worry about traffic. There are lots of great little homes on the island, and as we learned from the lady at the Popplerock gallery, more and more of the homes are being bought by people “from away”, including Americans and Europeans. I guess if you want to get away from society, but be close enough just in case, Big Tancook is a pretty good place to be. If you’re interested, this colourful guy was for sale.

Wine and ocean. Cheers!
Wine and ocean. Cheers!

Most of the economy on the island is fisheries-based. So, there are lots of interesting buildings scattered around, many of which have been abandoned or at least appear to be unused. They make great subjects.

Panorama of Big Tancook Island
Panorama of Big Tancook Island

Since we were on our bikes, we could get pretty much everywhere on the island in pretty short order. There are a few nice hills so a low gear comes in handy. At the end of one of the roads we found a beach to walk along, to look for one of the famous “products” of the island: beach glass. We didn’t find any on this beach, so we decided to sit on the rocks and have lunch. To my surprise, there was wine! I enjoyed a decent Australian Merlot, and decided to toast the ocean and sky.

Sun over ocean
Sun over ocean

We did a lot more exploring and shooting over the course of the afternoon. We managed to find a beach with quite a bit of beach glass on it as well as some interesting features like a giant pile of rocks that looks like it was made by someone who had a front-end loader and a lot of time to spare. Strange. Being an island there are lots of beaches and waterfront scenes. Here’s a panorama:

Eventually we had to make our way back to the mainland. It’s amazing how quickly six hours can go by. There is a lot to see and explore on the island and the people there were really friendly. As we seemed to be the only two off-islanders there that day, we got to hear all the local news and gossip. It’s the best time to visit a place like Tancook, when you can get some time with the locals and experience it as something a little more than yet another tourist.

As the sun was dipping into the early evening sky, our trusty little ferry smoothly took us back to Chester where we had a little supper and beer at one of the local pubs. A good end to a fun and interesting day.

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