Captain Cox's tour takes in the area where the Cabot Strait meets the Gulf of St. Lawrence. When we come out of the channel we may go west or east. If we go west past the remote village of Meat Cove we will then steam slowly past 'Pangia', a breathtaking stretch of vertical cliffs jutting straight up several hundred feet and dating back over twenty-six million years. We will also pass the shipwreck sight of the Kismet 11, where one rusty piece of metal juts out at low tide. These cliffs will lead us to Cape St. Lawrence, where only the foundation remains of a lighthouse and telegraph office that was vital and active right up till the late 1940's. Usually we will keep going another three miles to Lowland Cove where about seven families farmed until they left for work in the coal mines also in the late forties. No dwellings or outbuildings remain.
By now we should have encountered whales and seabirds. These are the most isolated places in all of Cape Breton: a group of pilot whales, a minke whale or two, seals, dolphins. Pilot whales usually travel in groups and we will see babies traveling with their mothers. Once we had a young one swim right over to the boat vocalizing and soon after its mother came and fetched it. You really never know what to expect. Fin whales sometimes come right in to the shore but if not we often see them 'blow' and then follow offshore a few miles. I have a hydrophone onboard that allows us to listen to the vocalizations of the whales and dolphins which is quite unlike anything you will ever hear. They tend to increase vocalizations when food is very plentiful and be very quiet when food is scarce and they must surprise their prey.
If we go eastward from the channel entrance we travel to one of the oldest established lighthouses in Canada, the Money Point Lighthouse. On the way we stop briefly in White Rock Cove where a tiny waterfall drops from a two hundred foot cliff onto a rock and pebble beach surrounded by white metamorphic limestone and granite rocks over a billion years old. This cove is also the summer nesting grounds of the black guillemot, a small puffin-like bird known as a sea-pigeon in Newfoundland. At the right time of year we might see nesting colonies of cormorants as well in and around cliffs and sea caves. Just before we reach the lighthouse, a bracken and heather covered slope known as 'Grassy' extends down to a rocky shoal where a herd of grey seals and several harp seals form a colony. This is also the favorite hangout of the orcas and the humpbacks when they are in the area.
I guess I could go on and on. But the best thing to do is to come on a tour with me. I guarantee that you will see one of the most incredibly beautiful places on earth. I've been traveling this coast for more than 25 years and I still look forward with great excitement to every trip.