Photo #1 is a wide-angle view looking across the cliffs above the mouth of the Mabou River at the breakwater and the dunes of the beach at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park, with the hills of West Mabou as a backdrop. Whale Cove is the large estuary seen at the far left of the photo; tidal flats, beloved of herons and other aquatic birds, sit off the far shore; they can be clearly seen in the original, but compression has unfortunately removed them from this version. This view better conveys the large size of the park (215 ha (530 acres) according to the park brochure), which extends from the breakwater to the stand of evergreen trees at the far right and inland well upriver of Whale Cove. Hiking trails crisscross the inland portions of the park and are well worth exploring; the trails along the Mabou River are among my favourite hikes, as they offer superb views of the river and the Cape Mabou Highlands rising above the river. Just pick a brighter day than this one!
Photo #2 brings the left portion of photo #1 into better focus. The sand dunes above the breakwater form what the topographical map calls McKeens Point. It is covered in marram grass, which helps hold the sand in place, but the grass is fragile and easily harmed by being trod upon. The dunes are therefore off-limits to beach-goers and hikers. A stand of orangish deciduous trees can be seen at the far left and other less colourful or entirely bare deciduous trees are found across much of the photo
Photo #3 looks to the right of photo #2 along the northern portion of the beach. The original shows tracks of beach walkers in the sand, but they are gone in this compressed version. This area of the beach is off-limits during the nesting season of the piping plover, a “globally threatened and endangered” species, whose “[t]otal population is currently estimated at about 6,510 individuals. A preliminary estimate showed 3,350 birds in 2003 on the Atlantic Coast alone, 52% of the total.” The area of the beach open to swimmers and beach-walkers is at the far right of the photo, beyond the outlet of Johnny Bans Pond, a bit of which can be seen at the far right of the photo behind the dunes. Deciduous trees can be seen interspersed with the evergreens back of the dunes, but magnification reveals that many are bare trees and, at least in this light, have very few colourful leaves left.
Photo #4 shows, at the far left, the southern portion of the cliffs, along which the Western Coastal Trail runs above the beach. That trail descends to the wide indentation left of centre of the photo, where Johnny Angus Brook enters the Gulf (below the “point” the cliff makes as it descends to the area); the course of the brook can be made out through the trees at the right behind the indentation. Johnny Angus Brook marks the southern boundary of the park. The topographical map labels the cliff which ascends from the mouth of Johnny Angus Brook as the Hogs Back; this is all private land, currently in use as a farm.
Photo #5 shows the Colindale Shore (there is no overlap with photo #4), with its marquee landmark, the MacPhee’s red barn, visible from the look-off on Beinn Alasdair Bhain and an orientation point for the boater. The point at the far right is unnamed, but Sutherlands Cove is to its left. This photo also records the valiant attempt of the sun to break through the heretofore monolithic clouds; as was seen on the first three pages, it was very successful in doing so towards the end of the day.