As many of you can tell by now, I am an outdoor enthusiast as well as an ambassador to Cape Breton Island. My bucket list includes kayaking around the Bras d’or Lake. Bras d’Or is French for Arm of Gold and is named after the beautiful sunsets on the water (or so I am told). The Bras d’Or Lake, or as we Cape Bretoners call it the Bras d’Or Lakes, is actually an inland sea as it is fed by the ocean. The water is brackish, being part fresh and part salt water. Silver Donald Cameron, a reknowned Canadian author and yachtsman, describes the Bras d’Or Lake as “a basin ringed by indigo hills laced with marble. Islands within a sea inside an island”. It is actually the second largest inland sea in the world and quite deep with some places being 942 feet (287 meters) below the water. The lake is 1099 square kilometers, with 1234 kilometers of shoreline so it is going to take me awhile. I’m happy to report that I am about 1/3 finished. I look forward to completing the trip as every part of my journey has been a great experience. It always amazes me how much wilderness there is out there along the coast. We’ve seen salmon, deer standing on the cliffs, and lots of sea birds and eagles. I don’t think I have ever been in my boat and not seen an eagle. Cape Breton Island is home to the largest eagle population east of Alaska.
It is estimated that 27% of the coastline of the lake is along narrow cannels which are sheltered from higher waves, so some of the paddling can be done by novice kayakers. Other areas are a little trickier and when a headwind comes up you feel that you are taking two steps forward and three back. More than once, we had to abandon our kayaks and come back another day when the wind was not so high.
I know there are lots of other great kayaking areas around Canada. I’d love to hear about them.