AUGUST 18, 2008
We woke to a beautiful day (we haven't had too many of those since we have been in Nova Scotia). It was a clear, cool, blue day. The guide books say that the weather on the lakes is often much superior to the coast and they were correct. But it must be noted that the St. Peter's Lock Master had pointed out that Nova Scotia had had the most precipitation this summer on record for 29 years.
The Bra D'Or Lakes are roughly in the shape of an H lying on its side. We entered the lake system via the canal on the bottom side. We had allowed for only five days on the lakes so we must cover some ground if we wanted to be able to get a general idea of what they were like. So we planned to sail north through the center of the H (Barra Strait) and travel down the northwest arm (St. Patricks Channel & Wycocomagh Bay). As it turned out the entire day was beautiful for sailing.
All the towns on the lakes had one or more churches, with large steeples, and were usually situated overlooking the lake with their cemeteries along side.
Barra Strait is spanned by two low bridges (one a railroad swing bridge and the other a draw bridge). The swing bridge normally stands open but the draw bridge has a bridge tender. He reassured us that as we approached closer he would raise and open for our passage. He did just as he said but let me tell you that the machinery functioned Very slowly (which made things interesting with a following current) and the two spans only opened barely enough for our passage. We couldn't figure out if that was just how the bridge functioned or else the tender was just testing those "from away" (tourists).
We sailed down St. Patricks Channel and decided to stop at Little Narrows so that we could hike Lewis Mountain tomorrow. We wanted to get on top of a hill so that we could have some views. Little Narrows does not have a bridge across it. Instead it has a cable ferry which constantly runs back and forth the short distance.
From our anchorage at Little Narrows we saw several Bald Eagles. Apparently the Bra D'Or Lake had a high concentration of the opportunistic and predatory creatures.