Sable Island Expedition – August 3, 2009

There is an enormous fog bank sitting off the Atlantic Coast.  According to pilot from Maritime Air Charters it is larger, formed earlier and is lasting longer than most years. We were warned that only 50% of the time does the flight leave on schedule and that we would need a couple of ‘buffer days’ on either end of our scheduled departures.  They had not been able to get a plane into Sable for six days, so we were hoping the trend would change in our favour soon.  Not worried, we opted to spend the day seeing the sights and sounds of Halifax.

We started with a tour of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which has an excellent feature on the history of Sable Island, including some of the rescue boats used in the 1800’s by the Humane Establishment to rescue shipwrecked sailors. Of particular interest was the breeches buoy which used a zip-line type of contraption which was sent by rocket launcher to the wrecked ships. Only if all other means failed did they dispatch a rescue boat, towed by horses to nearest launch location. The rescue boats were especially equipped with baffles designed to self-bail in the wild surf.

Rescue Boat

Rescue Boat

Breeches Buoy

Breeches Buoy

After sampling some of the seafood treats along the docks we returned to our accommodations hopeful for the next day departure.  Darren was staying with friends while Joan, Claudia and I were staying in the resident’s rooms at Mount Saint Vintcent University.
The rooms are very small, no TV, phone or air conditioning but at $40/night it seems like a good way to save money and its just for a day or two.

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