Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The Bras d’Or Lake, the gifted paddle, the Grand Narrows Hotel and Alexander Graham Bell

After finishing the trail in Port Aux Basque Newfoundland, and having too many with my new friends at the Port pub I took the ferry to North Sydney Nova Scotia to begin the trail there.

At this point the trail in Nova Scotia is only 38% complete so my first task was to map out the whole route including the missing parts and to prepare for a long solo 350 km paddle of the Bras d’Or Lake, the world’s largest inland sea.

The trail began with a 10 km hike from the ferry to the top of the lake at a place called Arm of Gold and then a visit with my friend Clifford Paul in Membertou.

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Over coffee with him and Jeff Ward they offered to send me off with a blessing and a ceremony in the teepee at the Membertou Cultural Centre. We talked about the little people others call faeries whom inhabit the land and their ancestor spirits whom live in the salty seas. The next day a pipe ceremony, drumming and the gift of a paddle with a white eagle feather.

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Then I launched the canoe. There has been a lot of wind and waves and there is always a current moving through these waters. I am learning patience as I sit on shores waiting for calm waters to paddle safely on.

Grand Narrows HotelI am writing this now from the Grand Narrows Hotel where I have stopped after 8 days of paddling as an invited guest by the owners Elaine and Terry. Famed scientist and inventor Alexander Graham Bell was a frequent guest here. A few days ago while camping on Big Beach local Brian McLean brought me fish cakes and baked beans and pointed out a hill across the water called Benin Bhreagh where Bell is buried and where he had a summer home on a 640 acre retreat.  There are old black and white photos of him with Helen Keller and my girlfriend Rachel’s great aunt who was deaf and mute and who he taught to speak. I am intrigued by Bells kind spirit. I had an ironic moment trying to breathe power into my dead cell phone with a small solar panel while staring at Bells estate.

I have so far paddled 60 km of the 350 km route and have heard faeries laughing and whispering without the aid of hallucinatory drugs and have been enraptured by the stories woven into this land. Oh Canada, I love thee.

 

 

2017-11-23T05:57:59+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Elaine MacNeil September 19, 2015 at 4:09 am - Reply

    We were very happy to have you stay with us at the hotel Dianne and are happy to be able to follow along with you on your journey. Here’s to calm waters!!

  2. Dayna White September 25, 2015 at 1:52 am - Reply

    great photos. long paddle.

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