Sunday, August 30, 2009

Treasure Abounding at Gooseberry Cove

The kites no longer fly; the ‘Bofors Gun’ rests; the 11-year-old has returned to the eagerly awaiting arms of his mother and adoring sisters. Cai and Marc departed early Friday morning for the long flight back to Victoria. We endeavour not to miss them. Perhaps the lad departed feeling fairly happy about his two weeks in Cape Breton. On the last day we added another adventure to the various entertainments of his CB fortnight: a fossil expedition to the Carboniferous coalfield cliffs of Point Aconi. The boys – the young one and his young-at-heart dad – collected fossil ferns and a sack of Cape Breton coal to show off back in Victoria.

One of the principal delights of a Bigador summer is a day-long ramble in some spectacular, lightly-travelled part of Cape Breton with Lynn and Louise. By now they must surely know every corner of the Island. Saturday provided the latest gem in the long string of coastal wonders. The Darlings led Bob and Jan and me to Gooseberry Cove north of Louisbourg. Numerous ancient shipwrecks lie silent among the dangerous shoals of these waters. Scuba divers periodically find treasure of the sort to get Long John Silver drooling. We found treasure too, though not the kind to tempt your ordinary pirate. The rocky headlands showed an array of late-summer flowers while migrant whimbrels sounded their alarms as we walked the craggy cliffs and gannets patrolled offshore. We relished a diverse and hearty picnic lubricated with a flagon of Bob’s trademark Canadian sherry. Oh what fun.

We took an indirect route whence we came, stopping at Port Morien beach to look at the array of shorebirds and waterbirds gathered there. We crossed paths with Monique Vassallo who distinguished herself by finding an extraordinary rarity – an African Reef-Heron – in Newfoundland a few years ago, then duplicated the feat by finding the same bird in Cape Breton a year later. I do not lie. Then it was off to the Dock Y’ur Dory in Port Morien where Jan and I rejoiced at choosing the fishcakes and beans – simply the best we’ve ever had in a restaurant. (Jan’s own of course are in a class by themselves.)

The others indulged my wish to stop at Greenwood Cemetery in the Passchendaele neighbourhood of Glace Bay to look for the grave of a Livingstone relative, the sole survivor of four brothers who fought in WWI. It turns out the cemetery is huge. We drove through slowly scanning with binoculars for likely-looking headstones. Serendipity: at one pause Lynn said, might this be it? Indeed it was, right in front of our noses.

It is hurricane season here on the eastern seaboard. Last weekend Bill failed to live up to his notices. This weekend it was Danny’s turn. With much less fanfare Danny was even more generous, dumping five inches of rain on us overnight, two more than his predecessor. The rain barrels are splendidly full again. Finally the weather has cooled a little, the swimming hole unvisited the last few days. But we bank on further balmy days as August – how soon it passed – gives way to September.


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