South Shore Seals and Seasides

August 18, 2017

We departed Halifax late in the afternoon and drove to our campsite in Lunenburg, which is a UNESCO heritage site on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. The campground where we stayed is actually part of the Lunenburg Board of Trade Visitor’s Center which sits atop a hill overlooking the Back Bay of the Lunenburg Harbour. The picturesque setting made working on this blog (and eating, chatting, and relaxing) pretty easy.

 

We had been without reliable internet for a few days, so it took a while to catch up on everything. We walked from our hilltop perch down into the town to get some lunch, take a horse-and-buggy ride, and rent bikes to ride along the Rum Runner’s Trail. The trail isn’t paved, so we couldn’t use our road bikes (again) so we finally gave in and decide to rent some. 

 

Bruce had a delicious lunch of pan-fried haddock, which according to him was the freshest and best fish he’s ever eaten, while I had a chowder that was above average. We quickly found (and smelled) the horses for the guided tour of the hilly town. It was a bit expensive for my taste, but we saw all the important parts of the village without getting sore feet, learned a few things, heard way too many corny jokes along the way, and of course, got some nice photos of the historic homes. 

 

Historic wooden homes of Lunenburg, one of the churches, and Lunenburg Academy

Now that we knew our way around, we walked over to the Rhumb Line Bike Shop and quickly headed to the trail that runs along the back bay in order to make it back to the shop before closing time. We had learned on our guided horse tour that the town rolls up all its carpets pretty early, and the bike shop was no exception. The trail is a former railroad line, so it is flat with a very slight grade. It runs along the back of the town past bogs and marshes and ends at the Fisheries Museum. From there, we went to the wharf at the end of the harbor, shot more photos and returned to the shop. Then we hiked up the substantial hill back to the campground for the night.

 

Views along the trail and from the wharf

The next morning, we packed up and went to the town’s farmer’s market before leaving departing for our new destination. The market was well attended and had many delicious food items as well as handmade craft goods. We bought some yummy veggies, fruits, and bread and hit the road again for nearby Blue Rocks and our campground for the next two nights at The Islands Provincial Park in Shelburne. We couldn’t resist staying in the town with the same name as where we will be living in Massachusetts when our home is built! 

 

Blue Rocks is a small fishing village that sits within Lunenburg but is right on the end of the peninsula where both towns are located. It gets its name from the slate rocks that form the coastline. Some of the rocks are covered with seaweed, so at low tide, they look like heads of hair! Intrigued by the unusual weathering of the rocks which had holes in and along the slate-line crevasses, I climbed atop a stand of them to see things from a higher perspective. Those rocks, because of their lack of exposure to the tides were covered with orange lichens. It will be interesting to see what they will look like in 100 years. 

 

Blue Rocks up close and personal

We left Blue Rocks and resumed our journey down the South Shore towards Shelburne. We spontaneously decided to check out the Kejimkujik National Park Seaside (“Keji” for short), which was only a few miles off the main road and claimed be a place where seals sun themselves on its rocky shores, so we couldn't resist going there. While it is true that the park’s entrance was only a few miles down the road, about a third of them were terribly bumpy, so I gritted my teeth as Bruce expertly avoided the potholes in the dirt road and delivered us safely to the park. But then we were greeted at the entrance by a sign that warned of bear sightings in the area.

 

The brochure I had read that convinced us to go there had mentioned nothing of the sort, but I was still willing to risk it all for a close-up of some sunning seals. I figured that, based on my experience thus far on this trip through the north woods when I should have seen at least ONE moose, or moose scat, or antlers, or hair on a tree or something, but had seen absolutely nothing, there was very little chance of my seeing a bear today. So Bruce and I trekked along the path to the beach while he periodically tried to freak me out by making bear noises behind my back. Silly guy. He forgets that if we see a bear, I (only have to) run faster than he does. He should be nice to me.

 

We walked through the forest and scrubland that included wild rosebushes, blackberry and blueberry bushes, and finally crested a little hill that revealed an astounding view of turquoise waters and white sand. Seriously. In Nova Scotia!

 

Trust me; this is Nova Scotia!

There were many rock outcroppings out in the water and the surf crashed and splashed against them in a vibrant display of white against the dark of the rocks and the blues and greens of the water. Down below us, the mustard-colored seaweed swirled and swayed with the incoming tide and appeared as a natural version of van Gogh’s Starry Night.

 

The German-speaking man you hear speaking in the video of my Seaweed Starry Night looked through the spotting scope set up at the observation platform and found some seals, a discovery which he excitedly shared with us in English. We were able to identify them as two Harbor Seals and one Gray Seal snoozing and lounging on the warm rocks. On my way back to the van, I noticed a couple more out in the water and tried to capture a photo of their glistening heads reflecting the sunlight, but they were too far away for good resolution.

 

Views of Kejimkujik National Park Seaside

We left the park and carried on to The Islands Provincial Park In Shelburne, where we set up camp and made dinner with our Farmer’s Market bounty. The park sits alongside the shore and offers a splendid view of the little town of Shelburne across the bay. More on that in our next post!

 

 

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