Posted by: TheAuthor | 14/10/2011

Day 26 – Disaster Strikes in Cape Breton

We had a short four hour drive to North Sydney in order to catch our scheduled ferry leaving at 10:30 P.M. which meant we could afford a sleep in – much appreciated by all. However as I had wanted to go whale watching I got up at 9 A.M to check on whether the tours were going out – they weren’t due to bad weather. Not good news, I broke it to Shell and we decided to leave the hostel around 11 A.M. so we could see as much of Cape Breton as possible before our park pass expired at 4 P.M.

Waiting, as usual, for a straggler to get ready we left shortly before midday to drive around to the eastern shores and onwards to North Sydney. Stopping off on the way at various locations to break up the drive and see more of what Cape Breton has to offer.

Macintosh Brook was the first stop point, an hour round trip walk through trees towards a waterfall. Everyone was in good spirits, joking and hiding from one another. Even a few games of ‘pooh-sticks’ were played out on the bridges along the way. Pooh-Sticks is a game where you drop a stick upstream off of a bridge and watch to see who’s appears first on the other side. The waterfall was indeed nice to look at but for fear of sounding like a broken record, not a good as those on offer in Banff National Park.

Lone Sheiling was next, a 600m loop with protected sugar maple trees and old style Scottish Highland buildings. Nice little walk, however we couldn’t see the sugar maple trees.

Keltic Lodge, further around the park, would be our last stop as time was fast running out. Our pass expired at 4 P.M. and it was now 3:45 P.M., we had an hour trip to do along a spit of land called ‘Mink Cove’. We decided to go for it, risking receiving a fine from Parks Canada (much like The National Trust in England). The walk was though trees, sporadic views over the cove and out to sea, made better by the fact it had not rained at all today. The ultimate view was awesome, for a sea lover like myself there is no shortfall of views anywhere in Nova Scotia.

Throughout the day we were all concerned about the decaying situation with the weather, which could result in the ferry to Newfoundland being delayed. We called up the hotline, all ferries cancelled for Wednesday and Thursday, today (Tuesday) was still operational until further notice. Things were not sounding good. Even still, we drove on and stopped at other points on our journey take bask in the stunning scenery Cape Breton had to offer.

We arrived at North Sydney and stopped at a Tim Horton’s to find a wifi spot and find out whether the ferry was leaving. There was no wifi, so we called up only to discover the ferry was delayed until Thursday night at the earliest. A full 48 hour wait onboard was offered or a full refund. We headed to a McDonald’s to use their wifi and come up with a plan. If we waited on the ferry, we lost days on the road trip elsewhere meaning we would have to cut out destinations. Dan needed to make it to Newfoundland in order to fly back to Toronto; otherwise he faced a non-refundable missed flight and paying out for a new one. Shell was devastated in the knowledge we may not make it to Newfoundland, as well as myself. All this and other alternatives were discussed, as well as where we would sleep tonight. It was a tough, stress inducing time for everyone most notably for Dan who risked losing out. I didn’t want to go to Newfoundland, costing us $60 each one way, for a day or two driving around not really seeing too much.

After what seemed an eternity we came upon a unanimous decision. To go, wait on the ferry for the duration of the delay and cut out a day on the island and then a further single day further down the line in the USA.

So, as I write this, I am sitting aboard a docked ferry for the foreseeable future overlooking the bleak weather and rain battered harbour. Let us hope the weather improves sooner rather than later.


Trip Statistics:

Tim Horton’s stops – 10

Kilometres driven – 213km

Total distance driven – 8416km

Car faults – Found out Speedometer is inaccurate by 10kph

– Speakers starting to refuse to operate

– Tail Light Casing Broken


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