We continued driving up the Cabot Trail, taking a detour at the top part to head further north to Bay St. Lawrence and Meat Cove. In Bay St. Lawrence we went whale-watching on a boat called to Oshan, with Captain Cyril Fraser. We were out on the water for about an hour and a half, and did in fact see pilot whales, as well as a bald eagle and dolphins. I had been a little afraid that the whale-watching tour would be cheesy, but I ended up really enjoying it. If you haven’t been on one already it will be hard for me to describe, but seeing such remote animals in their natural habitat, and hearing their voices (the boat had an underwater microphone attached to a speaker for us) was quite remarkable. Even before we saw the whales, though, the tour had been worth the cost just to see the northern coastline of Nova Scotia from the water; the huge sheer cliffs of rock rising out of the water, the little hidden, inaccessible beaches between them, and the occasional high waterfall carving a niche out of the rock over thousands of years.
Emerald Beach, accessible only by water. Note the tiny waterfall. (Click on the picture to see a bigger view).
By the time we were back we were ready for lunch, and the Chowder Hut in Meat Cove was more than ready for us. Will had what he says was the best salmon he’s had so far this trip, and my haddock was excellent as well, in a very light coating of something crispy that wasn’t the regular fish & chip batter. The “home fries” (regular fries) were also good, although too much to finish.
It was a bright, sunny, hot day, and driving was less fun than it sometimes is. Coming back down southwards we saw a promising sheltered cove ahead, and after stopping to get directions we found the Petit Etang Beach, which was exactly what we wanted - a river separated from the ocean by a causeway, so we could choose fresh or salt water to swim in. We started in the river, which was clear and cold, then headed for the sea, which was clear and even colder. Finally we went back to the river to rinse off the salt and compare how much warmer it felt after the sea!
We had a long chunk of driving after that, making it most of the way to North Sydney, where we were getting the ferry to Newfoundland the next day. We found a RV park right off the highway (as always!) called the “Golden Arm” (near the Bras D’Or lake area). Although it was getting on to 10pm, they got us set up quickly with a site.