Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Whale Watching Tour that Wasn't

MacIntosh Brook was another nice National Park campground along the Cabot Trail. No hookups, but level pull-through sites.
In the morning Thistle and hiked the trail to another waterfall.
 This trail followed the brook up a valley, so remained pretty level.

 Only about a mile to the base of the waterfall.

 Thistle had to drink from the brook.
 We booked the last tour of the day at 5 p.m. We though the afternoon light would be good for taking pictures of the scenery and whales. It was both our misfortune and fortune to choose this company.
 The harbor at Pleasant Bay.
 The beach across the road.
 The boat we will take.
 After a delayed start we left the harbor and headed out to where this Zodiac tour was looking. I had my misgivings when the 14 year old "tour guide" said we would likely be heading back to where they saw one Humpback whale on the last tour. She said they stayed with that whale for half an hour.
 So we followed the Zodiac...
 And pretty much stayed in this same place offshore and waited.
 Nan and I were the only ones aboard with binoculars. So we searched. And waited.
When we were allowed, I went to the top deck to search. When the boat started to roll, I grabbed a railing that came apart/loose in my hands. 
The seas started to get rough. Nan was below and said that some people were getting sick.
 When I got tired of looking for whales, I started watching the birds…and found a new one for me.
 A Northern Gannet…cousin to the Blue Footed Booby I saw in Baja.
 The only "spouts" I saw was when these torpedoes dove into the water.
 It made this disastrous trip not entirely a waste of time.
 While waiting for a whale to show up, they could have told us more about this part of Nova Scotia…the history, the geography, the types of sea life we could expect to see. (I was hoping for a Blue Whale they touted in their brochure…or seals, puffins, etc.)
 They could have cruised up or down the coast some to give us more opportunity to see whales that do the same, or at least more views of the dramatic coast.
 I know it's not entirely their fault we didn't see any whales, but more could be done to make the trip informative and fun. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give this tour a 1, only because they did honor their guarantee and gave us our money back when we asked. (No mention of it was made before we asked.)
This company was really struggling. I found out afterwards that there is no gas available in Pleasant Bay, so they have to travel some distance to get gas. The young tour guide told Nan that they have run out of gas before…probably why they don't go far from the harbor on their last tour of the day especially.

The next day we continued down the rest of the Cabot Trail along this coast. We had planned more stops, but were not able to find a campsite for the 4th of July weekend…which is also a holiday for Canada apparently, or the kick-off weekend of the camping season. The campgrounds we'd been staying in were pretty much empty, so we hadn't thought about calling ahead for reservations. We ended up at Walmart which is a good thing because they have good WiFi.
Next we are heading to Prince Edward Island for a few days.

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