Big Tancook Island, located about six miles from Chester, N.S. is a real gem. There is a phrase “third time’s a charm” – well this is my third trip on the William G. Ernst ferry that departs Chester, stopping first at Little Tancook and then arriving at Big Tancook about ten minutes later. The trip total is about sixty minutes one-way at the exorbitant cost of $5.25 RETURN (the cost of a large latte at Starbucks). Arrival time 11:00AM.
The big change this time is no bicycles were taken – it was strictly a walking tour. Turning right from the dock we pass the cafe (still closed for the season), post office, church and school. The roads are all dirt and the occasional pickup drives past with a usual toot of the horn. Judging by the passengers I saw on the ferry, my guess is we are the only two “tourists” here today.
I just dug out my map and I noticed that the island is shaped a bit like a whale with it’s tail flipped up so using that visual, we trek to Southern Head or the “tip of the whale’s tail”. There are lots of fishing boats working close to shore, I guess pulling up traps. Since the bikes were at home, one could explore trails a bit further by foot to the end of the island before grabbing a bit of lunch at a super nice open, picnic spot.
Returning on a loop that takes you across the whale’s back is the beach area where a favorite past time on Tancook can be enjoyed – collecting sea glass. Tons of green and brown, some clear/frosted white and this time I finally scored two blue pieces. Hey, they were small but thats OK as those blue gems had escaped me on past visits. Pockets are filled with rocks and it is time to move along.
Moving along past the library, gallery and museum area you hook back onto the main road. Passing the dock (quick scan – yip the ferry is still there !), we head towards the whale’s mouth where houses are a bit more plentiful and residents get a waterfront view from just about everywhere. The Gift Shop, where I was able to purchase a few knick-nacks before is still closed for the season. On this end of the island, the search is on for the appearance of the under sea cable that provides power to the island (working for the power company you look for weird shit like that :-). It’s a bit after 4:00 PM and there is time for a rest in the little park overlooking the wharf.
I love this place! You are off the beaten track, yet you can see Blandford off to the side and Chester off in the distance. Besides fishing, there is little industry here yet they have better Internet reception than I get in downtown Halifax. People here seem to be a pleasant mix of blue collar and funky artistic. We board the ferry for the trip back to Chester. Departure time 17:00PM.