The Cabot Trail Scene 2

Our second day in Cheticamp began with a drive through dense fog up the Cabot Trail to the tip of Cape Breton just past Ingonish to a small inlet, Meat Cove, where we IMG_1443boarded a real Nova Scotian fishing boat to whale watch. We drove for an hour and a half and the closer we came to our destination, the more the fog lifted and the sun shone.

IMG_1408 (1)IMG_2176

Our captain, Cyril was a real comic, showing us how to use a life vest like he was a steward IMG_1412 (1)on an airplane, then dropping a single vest in the middle of the boat saying, “you’ll all have to fight over it if we go down.” The rest appeared shortly after and he actually brought sunscreen to share with everyone. We should have taken the hint, because we all got a bit of a sunburn from two hours on the water during the sunniest day of our trip.

IMG_2185We pulled out of port and into the open water of the Atlantic ocean, but close enough to shore to avoid large swells. Along the rocky coast, our co-pilot spotted a bald eagle and binoculars were passed around so we could all get a close-up view of the majestic bird on it’s nest.  IMG_2196IMG_2195

   IMG_1445 (1)IMG_1536    IMG_1528 (1)   



Out in the Atlantic the boat would  speed up, then Cyril and his copilot would spot something on the horizon, change course, then stop the motor and wait. In several minutes the whales surfaced and we heard them push water and air from their blowholes with a tremendous whoosh.

They came close to the boat, swam under us, and stopped to look.


More Pilot whalesMum and baby pilot whales

The co-pilot was a marine biology student who had been tracking the pilot whales and they had even named the members of each pod. The particular pod had two baby pilot whales who rode closely along side their mother trying desperately to keep up.


Pilot baby  Pilot whale action   Pilot mum and baby 

After several turns of following the whales and finding another pod, Cyril drove us to a sheltered cove along shore. The views were like a journey through time to the jurassic age.





Jellyfish filled the water, white, and orange, and yellow water flowers that floated and swam in a greenish hued water. Cormorants danced on rocks and squawked at our approach.








IMG_1520 IMG_1434

We sped once more back to shore and spotted several seals along the way, but they were too shy and swam away as soon as we approached. It was truly one of the most remarkable experiences we have ever had.


The Cabot Trail Scene

This morning we decided to begin with a hike on the Cabot Trail which was nothing short of amazing. The boys ate breakfast at the chalet, and George went to get home fries at a local restaurant, The Happy Clam. While he was waiting, he asked a local young man about the best trails, and he suggested the Skyline trail. We drove into rolling hills and clouds since it was overcast and we hoped it would clear, but even withIMG_1362our limited IMG_1360 view, the sights filled us with awe.IMG_1364 IMG_1367IMG_1366IMG_1378   IMG_1363 IMG_1368 IMG_1370 (1)IMG_1375 IMG_1374 The easy IMG_1377 part of the trail brought us to the edge of a massive gorge and the edge of the ocean. We decided to take the second half of the trail, reportedly the rougher part of the trail and it was IMG_1379 and it was worth the effort. The vegetation was thick, rich, and we came across a baby bull moose which was undisturbed by our watching him eat only 10 feet from the train.IMG_1381 IMG_1380

We finished the day with a dinner at The Harbour Restaurant where Sean and Mackenzie ordered fresh local lobster. We are just finishing our meal and will post pictures later!

The Halifax Scene

We slept so well last night in Edmundston and got on the road in good time. We filled the gas tank and our coffee mugs, got breakfast to go, and Mack drove the whole way while Sean and I played Ticket to Ride on my iPad, and we listened to a huge range of music from Ed Sheeran, the Beatles, Led Zepplin, and Sum 41 to Third Eye Blind, Taylor Swift, and reluctantly, a country hit from Andy Grammer. It was cloudy as we arrived 6 hours later in Halifax.

IMG_1270  But we knew that some sunshine would be headed this way, so we checked into the hotel, and quickly made our way to the boardwalk of Halifax harbour, one block from our hotel.  IMG_2049 We walked on board the CSS Acadia IMG_2029 IMG_2037 IMG_2039

We shoIMG_2033pped for tshirts, and souveniers  IMG_2029 then made our way to Pier 21 though we knew it was nearing closing time. This monument to immigration was lovely,  IMG_2060    and there were others for fallen naval officers IMG_1275

After visiting Pier 21 briefly, we knew that we would have to return tomorrow and that we needed to find a place for supper.

We wanted to eat on an outdoor patio to experience all the the harbour has to offer and we found a lovely place called “The Bicycle Thief”. Mack had fresh halibut, Sean had lobster chowder and we had lovely fresh salads with asparagus and beans.  

IMG_1279 We found a place to rent Segways and we plan on booking a couple of hours for this unique experience, but tomorrow we will hang ten!

The Travel Scene: Quebec City

We left Ottawa this morning at 6:30am with everyone awake and read for the long drive to Quebec City. A quick stop for breakfast and coffee at Tim Horton’s and we were on the road. IMG_1253Mackenzie’s new selfie stick was proving to be a useful investment for group pictures and his new phone takes great shots of the bridge across the St. Lawrence river as we drove into Quebec City.  IMG_1252 We navigated through old Quebec City and parked in the Chateau Frontenac, then walked around the streets taking in the art work IMG_1234 IMG_1221

and sat in the pews of the Notre Dame Cathedral IMG_1218IMG_1238. Some buildings had signs from the 15th and 26th century IMG_1223 rode the funicular  IMG_1221IMG_1233and walked up the Plains of Abraham which reminded us of the history lessons which taught us how this wonderful country was founded. IMG_1243IMG_1225 After a few hours walking, we drove another few hours to Edmundston where we ate in the hotel restaurant and where we are sleeping for the night. It has been wonderful sharing these moments as a family.

The hotel beds are calling…zzz

The Packing Scene

Pack – a group of animals (noun), to bundle together items for transport (verb)

Today, I’ll be persuading my passengers to bundle our items for the departure tomorrow morning at 6:00am. We plan to leave the house early so we can stop in Old Quebec City for a few hours before another trek to Edmundston, New Brunswick. At the breakfast table this morning George said, “We’ll have to scrape Sean out of bed, you know?” I know this scene, but for today, I’m going to focus on packing just enough for one week.

Fergie keeps nudging me to pet her and uses her snout to lift my arms from the keyboard.

She demands attention, and I’m reminded that we’ll be away for seven doggy weeks in her world.IMG_0759

e4822cc5-b050-49e0-bb3c-d28ba40a804d My dad will look after the watering of my garden and we should return to lots of tomatoes, kale, spring onions, and, if the weather warms, some peppers. IMG_1205I’m packing enough running gear for several days of distance runs; we need to lengthen our distances as we prepare for the Army Half Marathon in September. I’m also taking The Great Gatsby to read and share with Sean in preparation for grade 12 University English next year. I’ve got the audio version read by Jake Gyllenhal on my iPhone as a back up in case he’d rather listen to parts of it. It’s a dense and brilliant read that, despite the scant 179 pages, never fails to reveal some new insight.

A few weeks back, Sean and I downloaded a couple of games on my iPad for use in the car.

FullSizeRenderSydney is off to Rotary Home for some respite care. George will drop her off at 3pm today with her wheelchair and enough clothes for the 10 days that she will be there. This will be her last visit as a youth since she is turning 21 years old! George will play soccer tonight, then pick up Mackenzie from his new apartment in downtown Ottawa.


Acts of Recreation – Preparing to vacation in Nova Scotia

Today marks 2 days until we (Melanie, George, Mackenzie, and Sean) leave for our one week trip to the east coast of Canada, mainly Nova Scotia. I’ve got the itinerary set, a list of possible activities, and research into local dining.

Here’s the driving plans so far:

Summer 2015 Trip Itinerary: 

  • First Leg: Depart: Saturday, July 25 @ 6am for Quebec City
  • Travel time: 4hrs 22mins arrive approx. 10:30am
  • Visit Old Quebec City
  • Depart: 2:00pm for Edmundston
  • Travel time: 3hrs 5mins arrive approx. 5:30pm
  • Four Points by Sheraton Hotel,100 rue Rice 1(506)739-7321
  • Second Leg: Depart: Sunday, July 26, 7am for Halifax
  • Travel time: 6hrs 23 min arrive approx. 2:00pm
  • Residence Inn Halifax Downtown, 1299 Grafton Street 1(902) 422-0493
  • Sunday, July 26 to Tuesday, July 28 11:00am with groceries for cottage stay
  • Third Leg: Depart: Tuesday, July 28 10:00am for Cheticamp, Cape Breton
  • Travel time: 4hrs 26min arrive approx. 4:00pm
  • Soleil Chalet, 15660 Cabot Trail 1(902)224-2822
  • Homeward Bound: Depart: Friday, July 31 6am for Edmundston
  • Travel time: 8hrs 48min arrive approx. 4pm
  • Four Points by Sheraton Hotel
  • Depart: Saturday, August 1 @
  • Travel time: 8hrs arrive approx.

While in Halifax, we plan on seeing Peggy’s Cove, taking in some surfing at the Lawrencetown Beach with the East Coast Surf School seen below.

We also want to make sure to visit the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market, and get in some delicious raw delights from Fruition on Marginal Rd.

So far, the Cape Breton leg of our journey has plans for Whale watching and a visit to fhe Fortess of Louisberg

We are all getting excited and we will blog about our journey so we have the stories which accompany our memories.