Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Lobster Tour in Baddeck & the Cabot Trail

Day 30

We all got up early as Angela and Patrick were riding me out to Baddeck to meet their friend Brian, better known as Beastie.
Patrick and Angela
Patrick and Angela - Patrick is on the pink bike...

We boarded the small fishing vessel and headed out to feed the eagles and bring up a lobster trap.
It was so impressive to watch the eagles fly in and scoop up the fish that was thrown out to them – they are such a magnificent creature.
An eagle snatching up the fish
An eagle snatching up the fish

The scenery around the Bras d'Or Lakes and Baddeck is nothing short of spectacular.

Town of Baddeck
The town of Baddeck from the boat
Town of Baddeck
The town of Baddeck from the boat
Angela caught the buoy for the lobster trap and Beastie hauled it in - there were a coupe of crab and a small female lobster in the trap.  Patrick had tried to snag the buoy but was unsuccessful!
Beastie measures the lobsters that are caught, weighs them and then releases them – his tours are highly educational. Beastie also fishes for a living and has a license to catch lobster – we purchased some from him for our dinner later that night.
Catching the buoy for the trap
Catching the buoy for the trap
couple of crab and a small lobster
A couple of crab and a small lobster
Brian AKA Beastie
Skipper Brian AKA Beastie
She's 9" long
Yup, she's a girl!

I took the helm of the boat for a while and surprisingly I never crashed us into any rocks or other vessels so it was all good. After docking the boat we went for breakfast and I thanked Beastie for the excursion. 

One of the many lighthouses
One of the many lighthouses
Bell Mansion
The Bell Mansion

I was so impressed with the professionalism and information this man had to offer. His passion for what he does not only as a fisherman but as an educator is very evident and I can guarantee you that if you take a tour with him not only will you have a lot of fun and see some truly impressive sights but you will also learn a lot about lobsters and the creatures of the water.

For more information on Cape Breton Lobster Adventures visit:

After breakfast at the Yellow Cello CafĂ© we headed out for the Cabot Trail – we planned to take the trail in a counter clockwise direction. With Patrick in the lead, me in the middle and Angela bringing up the rear… off we headed. I was excited like a little kid! The Cabot Trail is a bucket list item for me that I was going to get to sort of cross off my list – you can be guaranteed of one thing – Sooner than later, I WILL BE BACK to do this ride again!

It was an over cast morning, cool but not cold as we headed out. As we rolled along the curvy and winding road, we settled into a nice pace of about 80 Kph and 3-4 second intervals between riders. I am not much for group riding, but riding with these two was a treat. I was able to use my whole lane, the way I like to ride, I never had to worry where anyone was, I could see Patrick’s face in his mirror and Angela was always visible to me in mine.

I was so comfortable riding this road, could we have gone faster, sure, but I wanted to drink in every ounce of scenery and both Patrick and Angela were fine with that.
John Roberts Leather Works
John Roberts Leather Works
 Our first real stop was John Roberts shop, Leather Works. John is Glenn Roberts of Motorcycle Mojo fame’s brother! John’s talent with leather is amazing, from the leather pails of days gone by to exquisite purses and belts, this man’s talent is a visual experience!

After spending a wee bit of time in the store, we mounted up…next stop…15 minutes up the road to Wreck Cove and fuel.
Moose having breakfast
There were lots of bikes stopped on the side of the road watching 2 moose eating breakfast, we discussed the fact that this was an ideal morning for swamp donkeys to be present and that we had best stay hyper vigilant in watching for them.  It became foggier as we road up the Smokey section. Going up the mountain, about 9 and a half minutes into this leg of the journey we encountered a moose crossing the highway just in front of Patrick.  We tightened up the grouping as the riding got foggier so that we could keep each other in view and continued on our way towards the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Coastal Waters Restaurant to get lunch and a Cabot Trail Biker Tee Shirt.

About 23 minutes into this stretch of the ride, Patrick is passing a tent trailer that had pulled over and a guy in a silver car passes Patrick while he is passing!

We pulled over shortly after that and Patrick expresses that he would have liked to chase the guy down but discretion won the day and cooler heads prevailed. Out here on this magnificent road, with these amazing views are not only the natural and infrastructural hazards to deal with but there are tourists who stop suddenly in the middle of the road to see something or perhaps to avoid a danger and there are those who have to race through everything! 
Man some people’s children anger me! 

At Coastal Waters Restaurant and Pub, we stopped for lunch and decided on our next stop. Since Patrick has taken the time to ride the area since moving here from Toronto, he took me to what he felt were some of the most gorgeous sites because we all knew tomorrow’s forecast was for rain and I would only get this one opportunity to ride the trail! Next stop was to be at one of the light houses.
Coastal Waters
Coastal Waters - THE place on the trail to get your Cabot Trail Biker Tee
We had another impatient driver about 15 minutes into this leg of the trail. There were two riders ahead of us and this car decided to pass the three of us and get in between us and the other riders. The car was following so close that the driver was constantly riding his brakes. We all experienced some frustration with this driver, of that I am sure.

We pulled off of the highway and ventured into this tiny fishing community to go see the light house which is right next to the Chowder House Restaurant in Neil’s Harbour.  What a gorgeous, gorgeous spot!
Neil's Harbour
Neil's Harbour
 We spent a few minutes taking in the beauty, taking some

photos and talking with a fellow rider and then we were off…next stop, White Point. I was wishing the weather would break and it finally looked like it would up ahead as we entered White Point. This is another achingly lovely spot.

Over the next fourty minutes of riding it went from foggy to misty to ominously over cast to bright sun shine. Finally it looked like Mother Nature would cooperate for at least a while!  Bay St Lawrence was the next stop, I wished I knew more words that could better describe just how incredible the views are in this region. Spectacular, gorgeous and phenomenal hardly come close!

Bay St Lawrence
Bay St Lawrence

We stopped at the Mountain View Lodge for a snack and a coffee/bathroom break and then headed back out on the road. By this time the weather was amazing albeit getting windy, and the views from the different look offs became, each, more inspiring and breath taking than the next. As we headed towards Pleasant Bay, I settled far behind Patrick because, sorry buddy, when you aren’t the lead dog the view never changes and these curves and roads needed to be shown off!

Pleasant Bay
Pleasant Bay
The Pleasant Bay Look Off provides a magnificent view - simply fabulous!  While the road is not always in the best of condition and it forces you to really pay attention, the government here has done one thing very well…created beautiful places to pull off and take in the panoramas!

A short scoot up from the first look off for Pleasant Bay was another giving one an entirely different perspective! 
The Mackenzie River Valley Look Off afforded one the most fabulous view of the valley.
The Sky Line Trail was one of the most impressive things that I had seen to this point and yet with all of the beauty we had already seen, Patrick promised me the best was yet to come!
Sky Line Trail
Sky Line Trail

We headed out yet again and stopped up the road only a couple of minutes later – rounding the one curve it was as if the whole world opened up before you like an oyster bearing it’s pearl.

And another two minute putt up the road we stopped yet again. It is amazing what a half kilometre or two can do to the view and the perspective. With the wind just howling, we set off again…Our next stop, only a four minute or so ride gave us the backwards view of what we had just ridden – another perspective and equally as gorgeous to the eye!

At the last Look Off before Cheticamp we stopped again and my word, even with the wind howling the way it was you just wanted to drink in all of the magnificence you could.
 Look Off before Cheticamp
The last Look Off before Cheticamp

church in Cheticamp
An exquisite church in Cheticamp
By the time we arrived in Cheticamp it was getting close to dark and the wind was horrendous. We stopped for fuel and headed back to Middle River where lobsters would be waiting to be eaten. We experienced our first rain of the day on the way back to the Motorcycle Retreat.  We parked the bikes and headed for the house where sure enough we had fresh cooked lobsters waiting courtesy of Beastie and while no one else dug in, Angela and I sure did.  It was the most perfect ending to a most wondrous day!

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