27 August 2017

Spotting a Rare Bird on Grand Manan Island

Location: Grand Manan Island, NB Canada
We sailed for 1.5 hours on the Grand Manan V ferry from Blacks Harbour on the mainland to North Head on Grand Manan Island

... We spent a week here,

... We met two more Journeymakers!

... We saw an extremely rare bird.

The fish chowder in the ferry cafeteria was more of a potato chowder, but still tasty. If you want to eat here, best arrive early; although staff are very friendly and helpful they really are over-burdened serving meals and wait times can be long. We were treated to a clear sailing, saw harbour porpoises, someone saw a whale. 



We spent the first couple of nights at Hole-In-The-Wall Campground. Camping fees here are issued on the honour system; just add up your showers, firewood, laundry etc and account for usage with staff when you leave ... sure aren't many spots like this anymore, anywhere. It's a nice campground; a mix of site types from tenting perched on oceanside cliffs to large drive thru sites for Class A motorhomes in an open field; to wooded and private sites for smaller rigs like LOAF. All the typical RV services are available; cons - the bathrooms facilities here are fair only and there is no wide area WiFi. 

This is a marine coastal ocean environment; when the rain and sea fog move in, like it did for us ... it envelopes the island in a thick, damp, lingering cloud ... when that happens the harbour fog horn blasts every 20 seconds until the fog bank lifts ... as expected, it's extremely LOUD, is registered at an unbelievably abrasive frequency and doesn't stop for sleepy time! 

Our next stop was at Anchorage Provincial Park for four more nights. This CG is close to several hiking trails. We have good WiFi reception at our site so we should be able to update the blog ...



Grand Manan is a pretty island, it's quiet, the driving is slow, there is some tourism but the economy is primarily centered around a vibrant fishery. The Worlds Largest Sardine Industry is located on the island ... " additionally lobster, herring, scallops, crab, ocean salmon farming, harvesting dulse (photo right), rock weed and clam digging keep the majority of the islands residents employed. "  

Most tourists come for the whale watching, scenery, birding, hiking and kayaking. 

The Trails

We came here to walk or hike and most days we did. A guide book for many of the trails is available at a few island businesses; we did not purchase one, didn't feel it was needed. Not all are formal or have maps or guide books available, some have official names some don't, difficulty ranged from easy to moderate, we hiked along coastal beaches, adjacent forest and marshland, in coves and inlets near quiet villages. Many of the trails are historical coastal footpaths that connect villages and lighthouses; not heavily used when we were here, but well maintained.


Photos ' From A Ferry ' 

... Swallowtail Light / Pettes Cove marks the final marine approach to the island, cliffside tent sites (note the tarp to protect against exposure)


Photos ' Coastal Walks and Hikes ' 

... another fabulous cliffside tent site, Hole-In-The-Wall, salmon weirs, grey seal, driftwood furniture (sustainably found), Dark Harbour fishing cove, a locals' ' pirate ' boat, the Grand Manan Pioneer Cemetery, scallop shells hold back beach erosion.


A camp site near ours, was occupied by a small group of SCUBA divers; all family. Given their gear, I suspected that they may be diving as commercial fishers; a zodiac and small outboard, dry suits, heavy weight belts (36 lbs I later learned), mesh capture bags. I was curious about what they might be diving for and also, about the local water conditions. I introduced myself as a fellow diver and met Luc and his wife Jocelyn; 2 of the 4 in the group. Luc informed me they were recreational divers. They were fishing for scallops at a depth of around 60 feet in water temperatures around 55 C

The day before, we had tried to buy scallops at the local fish market but were told the commercial ' dragger ' boats had used up their seasons' quotas and weren't fishing for them now. Licensed SCUBA divers like Luc are allowed to harvest up to 100 scallops or ' meats ' / day.

' Journeymakers are those good folk who turn your trips into treasured memories. They are the people who elevate your travel experience with the passion and enthusiasm for the place they call home and for the interest and kindness they give you, the traveller. ' 

Later that morning, with a gesture of ' from one fellow diver to another ' ... Luc and Jocelyn presented us with a generous helping of fresh Grand Manan scallops, garlic from their garden at home and some welcome advice on how best to prepare them. A rice and mushroom pilaf and a Pinot Grigio completed the meal.

Merci beaucoup, Jocelyn et Luc. 


Photos ' More Coastal Hiking ' 

... some welcome moderate grade for our old and worn out knees ...  a sailors dedication along the way, fish weirs, gravel beaches, rugged outcroppings


A Rare Bird

We're not birders, officially ... but I can see why they enjoy this pursuit! That little guy in this photo is a burrowing owl. They are endangered across Canada. Their usual range here, is in the southern parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta and they periodically wander into Manitoba. Historically, there have only been two confirmed sightings in New Brunswick ... this photo is of that second sighting ... needless to say the local birding community was all over it, CBC did a feature story and it went viral on Facebook ... WOW! and LOAFin Around was here to confirm and report on it ... how lucky can anyone possibly get!


Photos ' Around Seal Cove ' 

... LOAF hiding in the harbour smoke-sheds, more walking along the Fundy coastline.

Talking With Fishermen

' ... 15 year ago if you brought home 1000 pounds of lobster that was a good days catch, boats were $10,000 then ... today boats can be as much as $1,000,000 and if you don't come home with at least 9000 pounds, it's not a good day! '

Marine pile drivers (photo above) ... are used to drive 75 foot long, sharpened, wooden poles into the ocean bottom. They keep fish weirs in place and typically last for about 12 years.




... Deep Cove Beach


Photos ' Shapes in the Rock ' 

... Mount Sandy,  a beached whale, pacman, frog-goblin, two sea otters

We ferry off the island tomorrow.

Our next long term stop will be in Fundy National Park, where we meet up with our good friend Charlie ... and his humans. 

Charlie selfishly protected LOAF from the
 ' Forest People '
 on a previous adventure. 

See You All There!


Follow us by clicking TRAVELMAP 2017: Trip 142  

Click on any photo in the post to launch a slideshow gallery of all the photos. 

Most italicized content is provided by Wikipedia or other sources. 

Crusty and Wry ... 


  1. Hi Helen & Dann, like your blog. I'm glad you liked the scallops.

  2. Bonjour Luc et Jocelyn - we loved the scallops. So nice to hear from you. Hope you are both well and enjoying life. Salut - Helen & Dann


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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty