Paddling Nova Scotia and the North Atlantic Blog
We're packing up our home in Montreal, getting ready for our move to LaHave, Nova Scotia! Summer is in full swing in Quebec already - we had our first dramatic afternoon thundershower of the season today, and the first St. Laurent sidewalk sale is this weekend. Classic Montreal summer. A few friends and family from out east have come to visit. They've arrived pale and wearing sweaters. Although it's a bit selfish, it's been a relief to know that we haven't missed too much seaside sun yet! It's been a whirlwind since we've returned from Antarctica in March. Shortly after we returned home to Montreal, we made a quick dash to Nova Scotia via Maine & New Brunswick. We picked up our kayaks en route, and, full of optimism, we drove right into the midst of an ice storm in search of a home for ourselves and our business on the Dublin Shore.
Having decided we wanted to live along a 5 km stretch of protected coastline, we weren't really sure what we'd find for living arrangements, but somehow we managed to find a sweet little cape cod, just minutes from protected put-ins. We talked with some future neighbours, put the kayaks in the water and, 30 seconds later, made up our minds.
Since then, we've been looking forward to our first summer in LaHave from a distance. Scott travelled to BC to lead a 26-day youth justice wilderness expedition for Coastline Challenges. Sarah has been in Montreal for the most part, swimming in paperwork and phone calls, making sure Cape LaHave Adventures is in order and that we're stocked with the only the best gear. Scott re-immerged from the woods & has been busy trying to catch up while also orchestrating the release of The Bounty, the debut album by his band More Please! The Toronto launch last week included a bassoon player, and incredible period pieces from a clothing collector (I don't know. Ask Scott). It's been quite the production & full of amazing friends & family. Montreal, Ottawa & Halifax releases are still to come! Don't miss them!: http://morepleasemusic.ca/?page_id=52
We've been planning all sorts of workshops, trips & special events for Cape LaHave Adventures this summer. We'll also be trying new ways to get the word out (we have a new monthly newsletter that is really going to be awesome! Subscribe to stay up to date on the fun!). We're going to try to post updates and stories here more often. Most importantly though, we'll be running guided sea kayaking trips very soon (June 28th at the latest) in one of the most stunning paddling areas either of us has ever visited. We really think you should come visit us this summer, and experience paddling the LaHave archipelago for yourselves. There's a reason we've spent the spring dashing about so Cape LaHave Adventures can become a reality. We know you'll understand when you get on the water with us. Hope to see you this summer!
We've made our yearly migration south again, to guide trips in Antarctica aboard Quark's Ocean Diamond from November to March. There have been so many highlights - singing Weddell seals, calving glaciers, lunge feeding humpback whales, pods of orcas amongst the ice... Oh, did we mention penguins?! Their chicks are little fluff balls now, getting bigger and more gregarious by the day. Early in the season, before the chicks were hatched, our second expedition took us to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula - some of our favourite places on earth. In the Falklands and South Georgia, we communed with rock hopper penguins, king penguins, nesting black browed albatross, long finned pilot whales, fur seals, and elephant seals and their weaning pups. You could spend a lifetime here and still be captivated by the wildlife. We'll spare you the complete list, but suffice it to say that the incredible diversity and sheer abundance of wildlife of the Sub-Antarctic is parallel to none. The beaches of South Georgia are a wildlife bonanza.
The second trip of the season was exceptional on another account - after a sunny two days of excursions, Scotty launched the new More Please! album The Bounty. He's playing aboard the Ocean Diamond this season for what might be the first album release tour in Antarctica. Good times on the Ocean Diamond! What more could you need? (The More Please! Canadian launch is happening this spring. Look out!)
We arrived at the Peninsula, where mountains soar above the water's edge, and ice is so abundant that glaciers spill over the tops of peaks. The Antarctic landscape is so humbling and raw - it's a privilege to work in such a magical place.
After eight trips from Ushuaia across the Drake Passage to the seventh continent and back again, we're currently catching our breaths with a short break. I'm sure we'll have more stories when we return. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!
We had great summer in Grand Manan, New Brunswick and on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. We led sea kayak trips for Kevin Sampson's Adventure High. It was a good year for herring in the Bay of Fundy, which meant a good year for porpoise and minke whale sightings. It also happened to be a good year for the End of Summer music festival there - Michael Feurstack, Weather Report, Jon McKiel and Paper Beats Scissors played ocean-side on a flatbed trailer-turned stage, in the little festival that could (and did) totally rock. After we had satiated ourselves with dulse and few months of island life, we left to enjoy the warm autumn weather and a feast of fresh mackerel on the South Shore. We took some time off to go kayaking at the Keji Seaside Adjunct, Blue Rocks, the LaHave Islands and many islands in Mahone Bay. The LaHave Islands so thoroughly enchanted us such that we are returning to set up shop there in the new year. We met Joe Laird, the long time kayak tour operator in the area. He recently retired, but he is still filled with enthusiasm about his home. He told us all about the trips he used to run, and showed us some of the fibreglass kayaks he designed and built. He even made kayaks with see-through bottoms, so you could watch the lobsters crawl along the ocean floor!
We returned to our apartment in Montreal in October - but LaHave hasn't been far from our minds. We're looking forward to our return in the new year. For now, it's back to packing though. We return to Antarctica to work for Quark Expeditions in less than a week. Even though it's not our first season, it still feels extraordinary to be traveling to such a remote part of the world while the rest of Canada hunkers down for the quickly approaching winter. But more on Antarctica later....
Cape LaHave Adventures is coming soon! We are in the process of getting everything in order so that we can guide you on Sea Kayak trips of a lifetime starting in 2014.