Brier 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.
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.
The 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.
We 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.
The second ferry was a slightly longer ferry across the Grand Passage to Brier Island at Freeport. Freeport has another pretty little harbor.
Once 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 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.
Then 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 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.
So we headed to another point on the island, where you can hike out, for some more awesome views of the Fundy Coast.
It 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).
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.
This 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.
We 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.
Post 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.
We 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.