Upon entering the St. Peters bay we missed the last opening of the canal so we tied up to the pier for the night and did a short visit in town. The following day we traversed the canal. Quite a different experience from the Panama Canal! We only descended about 2 feet and the canal operator let Zander open and close the locks by himself. We cruised through the narrow entrance to the larger lake, viewing pastoral settings blended with rugged rocky points. We saw bald eagles, shore birds and lots of kingfishers. Later we had a brilliant sail across the lake and anchored in a small protected bay on the north end of the lake. We explored the beaches and were rewarded by the discovery of a huge oyster bed in some shallow water at the head of the bay. We devoured a few fresh oysters in the dinghy, but collected a bunch more for an oyster stew at a later date. Already looking forward to it!
The Bras d'Or Lakes are a beautifully destination, although I think if you asked any of us independently, the thing we will remember most about Nova Scotia is the amazing hospitality of the locals. This is one of those places where if you buy too many groceries the owner of the store drives you back in his car. In fact one of the things I like about cruising is not having a car and having to walk everywhere. If I stayed in Nova Scotia I'd gain weight because no one lets you walk anywhere, they love picking you up on the side of the road to drive you anywhere you need to go. In fact, on our first night we inadvertently took the spot on the pier of a local fishing boat. Anywhere else a tired fisherman would have been ticked off if he returned to find his slip taken. in our case our fishermen friends found us in town, politely told us not to rush through dinner, then they drove us back to our boat and apologized profusely for not having a sign marking their spot on the pier. They were super, super nice and everyone else we ran into was exactly the same. Even radio etiquette is more polite. Boaters ask politely to have bridges open and then thank the operator when they are through. Bridge operators aren't rude and excitedly welcome you to their neck of the woods It is like we have landed in Mr. Rogers maritime neighborhood. Either that or a prozac prescription is included with socialized medicine her in maritime Canada!