Sable Island Expedition – August 12, 2009

Black Stallion

Black Stallion

Our hopes for extra days on Sable were dashed with the arrival of a beautiful sunny day.  We loaded our gear into the pickup and headed for the landing beach to await our plane.  We valued any time with Gerry, as he was so generous with information about the island and its history. Our time here felt so brief and in adequate in many ways.  There was so much to see and learn about Sable and that could not be found in the few books, or essays that were available, it had to be experienced on location.

The plane arrived carrying a load of artists who had come in for the week to draw and paint the wild horses.  We said our farewells and as we flew over the island one last time we said our silent goodbyes to the horses we had come to know.  Beachcomber was at the west ponds with his band, the morning sun glistening off their summer coats.  We passed by the west spit and saw a quad and a lone person standing on the extreme end of the island gazing off into the colliding currents.

Sable Island Morning Panoramic

Sable Island Morning Panoramic

Afterword: For those of you that have not seen the Sable Island docufilm “Chasing Wild Horses”, the BRAVO special by fashion photographer Roberto Dutusco, I highly recommend it. For anyone that has already seen it you should know that the horse in the movie that appears to be very lame (in fact has a broken leg) is still alive and well four years after the film was made. Although Roberto is not a ‘horse person’ per se, he certainly captures the mood of the horses and their environment, and his passion for the animals really comes through.

Reflecting back on my short time with the Sable Horses, I too have fallen under their spell. Their remote and amazing environment should be protected at all costs. I was prepared for the worst on coming to the island. Visions of starved and lame horses in all states of condition crossed my mind. Nothing could have been more opposite. The horses were in excellent health, sound and managing beautifully without human interference. Certainly, there were exceptions and I did see the occasional skeleton, but in context, life and death in the wild can often be much more brutal than on Sable Island. In fact I will remember the Sable horses and their fascinating environment as a place of peace and prosperity. As with such special places on earth, we can only hope that its pristine nature is preserved for generations to come. I hope to return to the Sable horses, perhaps in winter, to continue their extraordinary story. You should join me….

Five Islands, Nova Scotia

Five Islands, Nova Scotia

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