Monday 27 August 2012--I have a nice chat with a couple from Toronto at breakfast this morning. A short while later, I run into them at the
general store. He's looking for ear plugs--the distant tooting of foghorns kept him awake all night. I can't help but laugh. It's a lullabye to me.
I'm thinking of Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinnie, tossing and turning in a country cabin because of the night noises, but sleeping like a baby
through a prison riot.
I wasn't too sure what to do today. There are whale watches--the Torontonians are off on one--but I'm not really keen. Instead, I'll explore the island. There are several roads spurring from Westport to points north, south, and west. Hopefully there will be somewhere to go for a walk. Start with another stroll along Water Street. Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail around the world solo, lived here from the age of eight until he went to sea at sixteen. His father's boot shop now houses Hooking By The Sea, who sponsor retreats centered around hooking rugs and other Brier Island activities. [Do read the articles about Slocum at Wikipedia and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online--to say he lived an extraordinary life seems a massive understatement.]
Just outside the village is Hilltop Cemetery. Among the stones is one for Ethel Davis, who died at 46 in 1801, and his wife Christiana, who went by her middle name, Margaret. Margaret is famous locally for walking to Halifax in 1828, to assert her title to a piece of land on Long Island. It was a trip of about 175 miles, much of it a rough track through the woods. Having successfully made her case, she rested a bit and then walked back. She was about 64 at the time.
The Western Light is out at the end of the road. The southern end of the island is largely nature conservancy land, and there is a trail down to the beach at Pond Cove (as well as another continuing north). Rather than walk the length of it, I drive back through the village and south to Pond Cove, and explore the beach from there. It isn't the prettiest beach ever, with rather grayish sand. Maybe it's just the misty weather. I linger for some time nonetheless, picking some pretty stones from a stretch of shingle, and turning back after reaching an area of jagged fractured basalt. I wish I'd allowed time to walk the entire trail.
North then, through the village, past the Lodge, to the Grand Passage Light.
The thought of dining in the Lodge again this evening doesn't much appeal to me. The other option in the village is the café next to the general store, but I've learned of another choice--Lavena's Catch Café, just above the ferry landing on Long Island, across the Grand Passage. The ferry runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there's no fare for foot passengers. Lavena's is quite small, and I'm lucky to get a table. It's definitely a couple of cuts above the Lodge, although again the beer and wine selection is skimpy.
The ferry emerges from the evening fog, and to foggy Westport it returns, with me on it. A full day here has been enough to see the island, which is about four miles long and two miles wide. I can't think of any compelling reason to return, aside from hiking the trails around the perimeter of the island. Certainly not for food and drink. And yet, I would...there's something about the place that tugs at me. Maybe just its remoteness. I'll bring a case of beer next time.