The Tip of Nova Scotia

brier 50Brier Island Backpackers farBrier Island, the most westerly point in Nova Scotia, is the official entrance to the Bay of Fundy.   It is out at the very end of the Digby Neck with the Bay of Fundy to the north and St Mary’s Bay to the south.  Brier Island is also known for some great whale watching opportunities.

brier 8We planned to make a day of getting to the island and then watch the sunset from this most westerly place.   So we brought Angel along and packed a picnic lunch for us, and dinner for her.

On the way down the Digby Neck, we stopped at Sandy Cove, a rare sandy beach in these parts and a beach that is supposed to have a good amount of sea glass.

brier 2brier 5brier 4The beach has a rocky section with small rocks and it also has a large sandy area at low tide.  In fact, this is a good place for rock hounds, as there are tons of colorful rocks, and, apparently some contain agate, which is also found in jewelry in shops around the area.

Dogs are allowed on many  beaches of Nova Scotia so we happily took Angel along for our beachcombing.  Angel is very funny on the beach, she will dip her feet right along the shore, but if she sees a small wave coming, she runs backwards to get out of its way.  But she loves walking on the sand, and managed to locate at least one crab to crunch on.   A fun stop, and we did find some sea glass.brier 7brier 3

Grand Passage

Petit Passage

brier 10brier 11
brier 12We had to take two ferries to get to Brier Island, the first one was the famous four minute one across the Petit Passage over to Long Island. Then we drove the ten miles across Long Island making a brief stop at a quaint island museum.

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Peter Island Light, the southern light

The second ferry was a slightly longer ferry across the Grand Passage to Brier Island at Freeport.  Freeport has another pretty little harbor.

brier 15brier 16Once we docked at Brier Island, we drove around near the pier, as we’d also heard that the wharf area was good for sea glass.  Here we stopped at a really rocky beach area – too rocky for Angel.  It was cool and breezy so we left her briefly in the car, with the sunroof and windows open. We also make sure the car is somewhere where we can keep an eye on her.

Anyway, this beach was completely full of sea glass, and, although many pieces were rather small, they were perfectly rounded and frosted from decades of being tossed by the ocean.

brier 18brier 21brier 20After our walk, we had lunch (or dinner, as it’s known around these parts), this time with Angel along, on some picnic tables alongside the wharf, looking out over the water and towards Long Island.

Brier Island has three lighthouses.  One north, south, and west.   Next, we drove over to a point that overlooks Peter’s Island Lighthouse, standing guard at Peter’s Island at the southern mouth of the treacherous Grand Passage, which flows between Brier and Long Islands. brier 33

The lighthouse is automated and the island which is now a bird sanctuary is inaccessible.  There were tons of sea gulls flying around the lighthouse.  It looked like a great spot for a mystery movie.brier 32brier 30brier 29

brier 23brier 24Then we drove over to the Grand Passage Light Station, on the headland at Northern Point overlooking the Bay of Fundy. There is also a Coast Guard station here.  The Coast Guard station serves an area within a 125-mile radius, and responds to about 100 search and rescue incidents a year.  They are also extremely important to the locals, since fishing is the dominant industry on the island and a dangerous business.brier 25

brier 22brier 17brier 26brier 19brier 28Brier Island only has a couple of island roads, most of them gravel, so you are limited as to where you can drive to on the island.  The only paved roads are in the only little village, Westport, with its working waterfront.brier 27

So we headed to another point on the island, where you can hike out, for some more awesome views of the Fundy Coast.

brier 35It was a nice grassy trail out to the cliffs, perfect for Angel (she’s doing great after her ACL surgery last March). It is VERY remote.  Interestingly, this side of the island had warmer winds, you feel the temperature change within such a short distance.  And from this area you can see the long line of barely submerged rocks jutting way out to sea.  No wonder this place has so many lighthouses (and shipwrecks).

brier 34It was now late afternoon, and there are exactly two choices to eat out on the island, both of which close by eight.  And sunset was going to be around nine.

So we opted to go to the take-out place, because we weren’t yet ready to eat dinner (or supper as it’s known around these parts) yet.   Our plan was to then visit to the third lighthouse, the Western Light, which is known as a perfect place to view the sunset.  It sits high on dramatic cliffs with a zillion sea birds all making a giant racket with their calls.

brier 36This Western Light marks the spot where the Bay of Fundy officially begins.  The waters to the South are the Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic, to the North the Bay of Fundy.  It was a beautiful lighthouse, much larger than the recent ones we’ve been visiting.  It’s fully automated.  The lighthouse isn’t open to the public, but it’s a very popular gathering place at sunset.  And we wanted to be there for the pre-sunset show as well.

brier 37We were the first to arrive and walked around the rocks for some different views of the Bay.  Hector spotted some harbor seals but they left quickly.  Hector went bananas running around the rocks with his tripod.

And Angel really enjoyed the ocean breeze.

We set our little chairs out, had our (slightly cold) dinner and Angel had hers.  Hector had brought a bottle of wine, which was really nice.  Then he was off running around with his tripod again.  It had been a clear day so far and Hector said he wished that there were a few clouds in the sky.  And then the clouds rolled in, a thick cloud cover was over us in minutes.  Be careful what you wish for.

brier 44brier 43Weather is so fascinating here.  It was actually quite beautiful, but made for a pretty short sunset as it went behind the clouds.

brier 51Post sunset, while Hector was still running around with his tripod, I got into the car as I anticipated that some sort of biting bugs would be out shortly.  And a little while later Hector came running over the rocks escaping from a cloud of mosquitoes.

brier 52We drove back to the Ferry, but we’d forgotten to monitor our time and missed it by six minutes.  It was 9:30 and the next ferry was scheduled for 10:25.  Fortunately, we had some reading material, but it made for a very late night.  Two ferries and a one hour and  a half  drive later, we were back at our campsite.   Angel had the right idea, she walked to the middle of the motor home, laid down and didn’t move until the next morning.

This was our last drive down the Fundy Shore, and we only had one more day in the area, which we spent doing some chores and stowing our stuff.  I was truly sad to leave this beautiful place, the lovely quiet campground, our wonderful host, Ken, the tiny villages, a lighthouse every mile or so, and the crazy tides.

Til we meet again.

~ Brendadigby 14

17 thoughts on “The Tip of Nova Scotia

      • Thank you and welcome to our blog. We went whale watching out of Long Island on a very foggy day and had a tough time finding whales but we finally did. It was a very interesting experience as we were in a zodiac. If we’d had time we would have tried going out of Brier Island as well, it seems that location might be best for whale watching as you say.

  1. How gorgeous! It’s so fun to be right along with you on your trip! Thank you again and again for sharing your gifts — Brenda, your writing and Hector, your photos. And Angel, just looking pretty! You make a beautiful trio!

  2. I recently found your blog & am really enjoying reading about your adventures, particularly this one. I spent my childhood summers in Chester, NS, but as my Father was a sailor, I rarely saw other areas of NS, rather we were always sailing in Mahone & St Margaret’s Bays. What an enchanting place it is…..looking forward to your next stop & thanks for sharing.

    • Welcome to our blog! Thanks for your nice comments. We’re really enjoying the maritimes. We were fortunate to spend some time in St. Margaret’s Bay while staying in Halifax. We didn’t get to do any sailing, but it looked like a lovely place for it. We’ll be blogging about that area in a week or so, stay tuned. Brenda

  3. Hi, I just came across your blog and really enjoyed it. I was born an raised in Tiverton on Long Island. Just wanted to correct you on the 9th photo. It is actually Petit Passage with Boars Head Lighthouse, not Grand Passage. You captured some wonderful photos of our islands 🙂

    • Hi, welcome to our blog! Thanks for the correction, we’ll update it on the blog. The islands were just beautiful, so it’s not too tough to get nice photos. Hector, who is actually the photographer, and I just loved our time there.

  4. Spent our 50th anniversary doing your route …. Being from Digby ..Was a beautiful foggy day …and enjoyed every mile of the day … Love your photos !

    • Thank you so much and welcome to our blog! We loved our summer in the maritimes. If I may ask, how did you find the blog? We had an extremely high number of viewers from Canada yesterday and today and are intrigued as to how you all found out about us.

      • I found this site through a link posted by a few friends. I am originally from long island, and miss it very much. next time you are on long island, stop in at Fundy Vista and have a gander at some local art. There is lots of artists on both islands. I’m sure you will be pleased and amazed with the local artistry. 🙂 btw, thank you for the walkabout, I sure miss the islands and it was amazing to see it through your eyes.

        • Welcome to our blog. I hope to go back to Long Island and Brier Island, beautiful places and will be sure to check out the artists when I do. So very glad you enjoyed the blog. We’re going to visit Western Canada this summer and are very much looking forward to it.

          • when you do western Canada, I hope you get a chance to visit slave lake, alberta. it is a small town that had burnt almost 3 years ago. the people are amazing, they have gone through so much, loosing everything, and rose above it. the scenery is magnificent.

      • Brenda,
        Love your blog, I made the same trip last summer too, only took the whale watching tour . The facebook site Brier Island Lodge and Whale Watching Tours posted a link to your blog and that is probably why you are getting so many hits. Love your photos.

        • Thanks and welcome to our blog. Thank you also for letting us know about the Brier Island Logs posting, we were quite curious about how all of the new views came about. The photos are taken by my husband Hector, glad you enjoyed them.

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