CanGeo Finalist’s Photo Journal of the Fins & Fiddles Voyage

Timothy Tao, a CanGeo challenge Winner’s Biography.

SOME PLACES are special. I won this cruise as part of the 2019 Canadian Geographic Challenge and here is my photo journal on these places. 

SABLE ISLAND is a very special place. The island first emerged 15000 years due to the currents in the North Atlantic. Since then, the island has moved quite a bit. Today, the island is about 1 mi (1.6 km) wide at its widest and about 25 mi (40 km) long. The horses on the island aren’t descended from shipwreck survivors. They were brought to the island as part of futile attempt to colonize the island, along with dogs, pigs, cats, and other animals. The horses are the survivors. The island sits astride the shipping routes of the Atlantic, leaving more than 350 shipwrecks near the island and earning it the name of Graveyard of the Atlantic.

BIRD ISLAND is really a haven for birds. Seagulls abound, bald eagles are common here. The real treasure is the puffins. They seem to be very shy and don’t like humans, so it took a little while to find them. 

BADDECK, or rather Beinn Bhreagh is where Alexander Graham Bell is buried. The Alexander Graham Bell museum shows alot of objects that he built, including Canada’s first airplane the Silver Dart and alot of telephones. 

CHARLOTTETOWN is such a beautiful place. Although Province House is no exception to the Canadian tradition of keeping construction projects delayed, the model in the Confederation Center of Arts is still quite nice. The streets in the city center are full of historic buildings, and the waterfront is full of boats and interesting to watch.

The people of the ILES DE LA MADALEINES are very unique, and at the same time, they enjoy modern comforts. As soon as you see the islands, you can tell they are special. The land is full of reminders of the sea. There are also a lot of shipwrecks here. 

Parts of BONAVENTURE ISLAND are full of gannets. Literally. PERCE is a tourist geared town, there’s nothing special about it other than Perce Rock. 

ANTICOSTI ISLAND was a hang out day. The zodiac tours were very interesting, but I doubt whether the beach we were on had ever seen people in the last 70 years other than passerby ships. The beach was less than ⅔ mi (1 km) from the eastern tip of Anticosti. 

GROS MORNE has a unique geological history. The Tablelands looks more like Mars than Earth and the ice sheet which produced many fjords like Western Brook Pond and a part of the Long Range Mountains, an extension of the Appalachians. 

LA POILE BAY is remote, which is what we need in our connected society today. The residents have repeatedly turned down offers by the Newfoundland government to move their settlement, possibly to Burgeo. 

ST PIERRE & MIQUELON is the last French possession in what was once New France. The English allowed the French to remain n the Treaty of Paris (1763) and it has remained as a French fishing area since. Other than the many times it changed hands during wars. The islands are also a place shipwreck heaven. More than 600 ships have ended up wrecked on its shores.

  1. The “Main Street” in Louisbourg.
  2. Horse with a foal on Sable Island. 
  3. A puffin in midair near Bird Island. 
  4. Horse with the ship in the background.
  1. Province House is closed again. 
  2. Quaint houses line a Charlottetown street.
  3. A 1963 shipwreck on the Iles de la Madeleine
  4. Smoking herring the traditional way.
  1. A gannet gets stuck on Bonaventure Island*. 
  2. Perce Rock
  3. Gannets are everywhere, on land, in the water, and in the air.
  4. Newfoundland pitcher plant, the provincial flower. 
  1. The Tablelands with snow. Snow in July! 
  2. Strange rock formations on Anticosti Island. 
  3. The view from the top of Lookout Mountain. 
  4. The ship from the outside.

All photos are my own. 

* The gannet got itself unstuck very quickly, albeit with alot of squealing.


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