Saturday’s Celtic Colours concert and the square dance following at the Cedars left me in the Sydney area for the night. Sunday morning was as nice as Saturday, but still with plenty of haze in the air, if a bit less than on Saturday, so I drove out the Alder Point Road after a late breakfast. I had been there once before, but on a much less fine day than Sunday was, so I hoped to get some good photos of the area.
The Little Bras d’Or Channel is one of the two natural outlets of the Bras d’Or Lakes system; it lies between Boularderie Island on the west, which ends in Point Aconi, and Cape Breton Island on the east, whose northwestern end along this coast is Alder Point. Unlike the other natural outlet, the Great Bras d’Or Channel, which lies on the west side of Boularderie Island, the Little Bras d’Or Channel is not very wide. If you have travelled the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 105) to North Sydney, you will have crossed the Little Bras d’Or Channel just west of Exit 18 and may perhaps have not even realized you had (it’s a bit harder to ignore now, as the relatively short bridge under which it runs is currently undergoing reconstruction and expansion to four lanes). However, you are highly likely to remember crossing the Great Bras d’Or Channel over the Seal Island Bridge. That should give you a good idea of their relative widths.
The view in photo #1 is of the point which lies along the western side of the entrance of the Little Bras d’Or Channel; it is not Point Aconi, but another headland southeast of Point Aconi that the topographical map labels as High Cape, though it doesn’t seem to be all that high. This headland, to which there are no public roads, unfortunately hides Point Aconi from this view, although Aconi Island, which lies just to the north of Point Aconi, can be seen here at the far right of the photo as the strange rocky structure, roughly 3.5 km (2.2 mi) away from where I was standing when I took the photo. I have no idea at all what caused the curious bristle of tall poles at the top of the headland — under magnification, they are clearly the remains of trees, but their pole shape would seem to preclude a previous existence as spruce.
Photo #2 shows a much wider-angled view of the mouth of the Little Bras d’Or Channel; the foliage on Alder Point in the foreground shows signs of fall colours, though considerable green remains. My impression was that not much had changed across the way, though it’s hard to tell in this photo.
Photo #3 looks south along the channel from near the Alder Point Harbour Wharf. Although it appears to be wide in this photo, it’s actually only about 350 m (1150 ft) across here, according to the topographical map, and narrows even further as one proceeds along its southward course.
Alder Point Harbour is an active fishing harbour; in photo #4, many of the boats in its fleet can be seen here tied up at the wharf (in the foreground) and along the eastern side of the harbour. As you will soon see, other boats are further upstream at the homes of various fishermen.