The Bras d’Or Lake
We are currently in St. Peters having just cleared through the lock on Wednesday. We ran overnight from Halifax and arrived right at the bridge and lock opening at 0800. St. Peters is a very small community yet locals turn up every morning to greet arriving motor and sailing vessels. We got the distinct impression that this was a daily ritual for some sweet retired people who like to be the welcoming committee and what a welcome it was. Alec and I usually do quite a lot of homework before arriving in a new area – especially one involving bridges and/or locks yet when we arrived we both seemed to be walking in a fog and unfamiliar with the procedures. We were also tired from running overnight with each of us only getting 4 hours of sleep at the most so that was probably part of the issue but the help from the locals was both a pleasant surprise and helpful boost bringing me right up to speed where I needed to be getting through this skinny canal.
A little bit of history about this lock and canal, it was blasted through a solid granite hill and opened in 1869. If you refer to the earlier map you can see that we entered from the South into the lake (on the map it looks more like many lakes due to the winding and weaving canals and peninsula’s that connect it all but it really is just one large connected brackish estuary.) If not for this entry it would have been necessary to go halfway around Cape Breton and enter via the Great Bras d’Or and much of the exploring of the lake would have been lost.
The Bras d’Or Lake is yet one more UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on our beautiful tour of this very unspoiled province. The lake is an estuary where brackish water and fresh waters pours into a large drainage basin from rain water runoff, snow and rivers. The lakes is surrounded by aboriginal populations of the Mi’kmaq people indigenous to the area before the early settlers from France and Germany. We are leaving St. Peters today for a 2 hour trip to an anchorage for the night and then tomorrow we will arriving in Baedeck for a week or so. There is a yacht club there where I inquired about sailing camp for Jack for a week but unfortunately they have no openings. The good news is that we will be arriving before the regatta and festival which is their busiest week of the year.
Sharing the dock with us for the past 2 nights was a sweet couple named Peter and Ginger who left this morning for a 2-3 week passage to Ireland. Godspeed!