View from Smokey Mountain, Cape Breton, looking North (ish)
Cabot shores is an amazing place, it is a kind of outdoor persuits retreat situated in spill of woodland caught between the river (Indian Brook) and the sea. So enthralled am I with the place, I've taken up the offer of a job for a few weeks doing carpentry and bar work for the owners. But before plunging into that, I decided to finish off the cabot trail.
Heading North up the western edge of the cape in the bright sun was great. The mountains are beautiful and covered to the neck line in a dense green blanket of trees. I wound my way up into the hills, following the Cabot trail through Cape Breton National park. I stopped at the top of the first major summit to see the view and give the car a break. Have a look at the panorama video I created. I had no phone signal back at Cabot Shores, but up here I was getting 4 bars.
View from Smokey Mountain, Cape Breton, looking East
I have one of these phones that does lots of other things too. Among the features I could mention (not working quickly enough when I'm trying to get a babes number, squawking at me when it runs out of juice and ringing at inopportune moments, to name a few) the calculator function is most superb and all other functions are third rate. Despite there being all these bars of signal the phone refused to connect the call. Consequently I have now replaced my phone with a casio pocket calculator and all these problems have now vanished. I followed the trail down to a look out point, took a few snaps and then scurried off.
I had booked another whale watching tour from pleasant bay, on the other side of the cape. I wasn't quite sure how long it was going to take to get there, but a couple of hours seamed reasonable.
View from Smokey Mountain, Cape Breton, looking South
I spared a few viewing points enroute, but I stopped at some of the best. Every corner of the road yielded another staggering view that made me stop singing Matt Munro* and just say WOW. I really needed a sports car for these corners, and the Focus just wasn't cutting it. After a brief dilema of wondering if I should trade it in for that classic porche 356 I've been hankering for, I proceeded on to pleasant bay. After negotiating at the ticket desk, I managed to get a bargain $25 two hour whale watching ticket. The boat wasn't due to leave for another 15 minutes so I walked up the hill to the whale interpretive centre to use the pay phone. I wasn't going to be fooled again by these so called interpretive centres. They are not as I had imaged the final great linguistic conquest, bridging the gap in communication between human and beast.
Pilot whales in Pleasant bay
I had already made that mistake at the Chipmunk interpretive centre, where even if I made my voice really high pitched, I still could not be understood but the helium was great. I asked for the phone and was ushered downstairs, asking there eventually brought me to the basement. The payphone ordeal was just as bad as the mobile, as I kept getting through to a confused Alianz call centre chipmunk who couldn't understand me.
The whale watching tour was outstanding. It was a warm sunny afternoon as we bobbed out of the harbour at Pleasant bay (which is true to its name), within a few minutes we were in sight of a family of Pilot whales. We cruised over, but taking photos from the lower deck wasn't working too good. Upstairs I managed to get some film footage as well as a good few snaps. Soon another group had joined the initial family and the water around the boat seamed to boil with activity.
A group of Pilot whales feeding at Pleasant bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
There must have been twenty Pilot whales around us, jockying for position, squabling with each other and occasionally bursting through the surface of the water straight up, having a look around and then returning to the depths.
Later I drove off to Cheticamp and camped there is a really nice campground. I was aiming to meet up with my friends P and C that I'd met at Cabot shores who had by coinidence also been at the lousy campsite in Louisbourg when I was there. I scoured the campsite but couldn't find them, but I set up camp anyway. Its not that often I run for the shear hell of it, but here I did.
360 degree film at the viewing point on Smokey mountain, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
I had chosen a spot close to the shower block, but after pitching the tent I found out it was locked up. A large red sign saying 'out of use'. The next loo was a good long walk away and I was bursting so I ran all the way there. Then, to keep up apperances, I ran all the way back again.
The following morning I headed off south on the eastern side of the cape to do the remainder of the Cabot trail. This section was more gentle sloping woodland, so no more dramatic heights. My car gave a sigh of relief and to reward it for being a good little mountain goat of a car I gave it a well deserved oil change at Baddeck.
*See the opening sequence from the original film 'The Italian Job'
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