It was a 125 mile drive, in the rain, from Antigonsh to Baddeck, NS. It didn't rain hard just enough to keep your windshield dirty. We are staying at Bras d'Or Lake Campground just outside of Baddeck. We have full hookups, good cell service and crappy satellite reception. This will be the last time we set up the sat dish until we return from Newfoundland as we are currently getting a 58 signal strength at best on a few transponders and the rest are a lot lower than that. On a perfect day (no clouds, pollution, or anything else between us) we can get ESPN, but not ESPN2, and the West coast network feeds - no USA or TNT. We are just too far North and East to get a good signal.
After arriving and getting set up on Friday we went into Baddeck to see the Alexander Graham Bell Historic Site
where we learned a lot about the man. He was a lot more prolific inventor than we had thought. In addition to inventing the telephone, he was instrumental in Canada's first airplane flight, a hydrofoil speed boat, and probably least known, worked extensively on teaching the deaf how to speak using "visible speech"
which his father had invented and he improved. Helen Keller was one of his students.
Saturday we drove the Cabot Trail
around the North end of Cape Breton Island. This trail passes through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park
and then passes though the North Cape before heading South and going through the national park again. Including the side trip to Meat Cove
, we drove almost 250 miles, some of it outside the park, very bad road and the only wildlife we saw was a pair of bald eagles. While is was great to see them, we expected to see a lot more on this drive. The drive is beautiful though, going up and down the mountains while staying within sight of the ocean.
Sunday we spent the whole day researching where, what and when we were going in Newfoundand. This was necessary so we had some dates to reserve the ferry for the trip back and a to reserve couple of hard to get campsites.
Monday we headed back to the national Park to do some hiking in pursuit of the elusive moose. We took two trails, one short, the other long, and guess what? NO MOOSE!!! We then went to Pleasant Bay which is just as you come out of the park, driving clockwise, to see the Whale Interpretive Centre
, which is where a good many whales are sighted each year and there are also several whale watching tours based out of there. Just before we reached Pleasant Bay, we were crossing the bridge over the MacIntosh River and noticed a crowd had stopped and were along the bridge - that means one thing - WILDLIFE!!! We stopped and sure enough, there was a magnificent bull moose about a half-mile down the river. He had an enormous rack and though I was able to get some decent pictures, they would have been even better had he been twice as close. So Doris got her moose fix and that only left one craving to be met - yep, we're talking lobster. When we checked into the campground the lady told us we would be unable to find lobster by the pound at a seafood market since lobster season was over. The only way to get lobster would be in a meal at a restaurant. Doris would much prefer to buy a larger lobster and have them boil or steam it and bring it home to eat. Well, anyway, we noticed a sign for a lobster pound on the way back after just leaving the park again and thought "what the heck, let’s try it." Sure enough they had the lobster by the pound so we got a two pounder and waited on them to boil it, then brought it back to the Mothership. Though it was two days after her birthday, Doris was literally a "Happy Camper!"
Tuesday we headed for Louisburg to see the Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site
. This is an incredible rebuilding of the old fortress in Louisburg that had been built in the early 1700s. They have only reconstructed, using the notes and data recovered from the French archives, 20% of the old fortress but it is impressive. They are still engaged in archeological digging on the site. The difference between a fort and a fortress is that a fort contains military forces while a fortress also inlcudes a civilian town behind the walls as well as the military forces. Next we went to the Marconi National Historic Site
. Many don't know it but most of us that studied electronics know that Guglielmo Marconi was the father of the radio. His first trans-Atlantic radio transmission was made from the site where the historic site is now located. The area was selected for its line of sight to England (where the signal was received) and is on a steep bluff overlooking the ocean.
Wednesday and Thursday it rained, and rained, so we didn't do anything of note. We were only staying here the two extra days as we had to wait a couple of extra days to take the ferry to Newfoundland since I didn't make the reservations early enough to get the date we wanted. We took the opportunity to fine tune some of our Newfoundland plans so it wasn’t a total wash out.
Tomorrow, Friday, we head for Newfoundland via the North Sidney Ferry.