North Coast with St Paul Island

North Coast with St Paul Island
Photo 24 of 25: North Coast with St Paul Island
Taken 2007 August 10 from the Cape Smokey Trail at its end at the Stanley Point look-off
GPS 46°37.6??'N 60°21.4??'W

This view is a bit to the east of north. In the far distance about a quarter of the way in from the right, one can make out the ghostly silhouette of St Paul Island (it was much clearer to my eyes that day than what the camera has captured) lying roughly 70 km (43.5 mi) away in the Cabot Strait. In the immediate foreground is South Bay Ingonish; beyond it, is the end of Middle Head; beyond that is North Bay Ingonish with Ingonish Island in the centre of the photo; MacLeods Point, Bear Cove, and Red Head are at the left and centre left of the photo. Broad Cove lies behind Red Head and Broad Cove Beach is found there, out of view behind Red Head in this photo; further north is Lakies Head and Green Cove Head, both stops along the Cabot Trail on its way to Neils Harbour.

Directly beneath the Stanley Point Look-Off, I noticed fairly active waves in the waters below. At first, I thought there were submerged rocks against which the waves were splashing; then, I noticed that there was very little wave action anywhere in the scene except there and that the splashes were always at different points, never in the same place. By then, I was convinced I was looking at a school of whales and soon enough I saw what I am sure was a whale’s fin breaking the water. From what I have read, it is not at all uncommon to see whales feeding in the waters off Cape Smokey, so I was truly lucky this day—incredibly fine weather and whale watching in one trip! Unfortunately, none of my tries at capturing a whale fin in a photo yielded anything.

These four photos from the Stanley Point Look-Off do not even begin to convey the gorgeous panorama one has from there, far too wide for any camera to capture. One simply has to be there to take it all in. It is a lovely place to take a picnic lunch and enjoy some well deserved R & R while observing the marvellous scenery and storing up energy for the return hike. While there is a significant amount of up and down, the Cape Smokey Trail is certainly one of the most scenic hikes anywhere on Cape Breton Island.