St Paul Island and Cape North

St Paul Island and Cape North
Photo 1 of 25: St Paul Island and Cape North
Taken 2005 October 13 from the Meat Cove Road across from house number 451
2.4 km (1½ mi) from its junction with the Bay St Lawrence Road in St Margaret Village
GPS 47°00.01?'N 60°29.21?'W

The northern part of the Gulf Coast does not lie on the Cabot Trail and hence, incredibly, is often missed by those who foolishly attempt to ”do” the Cabot Trail in a single day. Reached by a twenty-minute drive from the village of Cape North, which is on the Cabot Trail, this ”off-trail” road takes one along Aspy Bay with gorgeous views of the eastern side of the massif which ends in Cape North and through a pass in the massif to St Margaret Village on the western side, where one branch of the road continues on to Capstick and Meat Cove and the other branch ends at Bay St Lawrence harbour. Cabot Landing Provincial Park lies along the way and is worth a stop for its marvellous views both of the massif and of Aspy Bay, all the way across to White Point on the Atlantic coast.

St Paul Island lies in the Cabot Strait, which separates Cape Breton from Newfoundland, some 24 km (15 mi) off the Cape Breton coast, not far from where the Gulf of St Lawrence merges with the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 5 km (3 mi) long and 1.6 km (1 mi) wide, with Crogan Mountain (the spelling in The Nova Scotia Atlas on the southern end rising to 147 m (485 ft). This storied place, located amid shipping lanes and subject to treacherous weather changes and fog, is the grave of perhaps as many as 350 ships wrecked on its shores. It even has its own web site by Duane Traver, well worth exploring, with photos and much fascinating information.

The two-day trip to the northern Gulf Coast during which this photo was taken was the first time I had seen St Paul Island; perhaps it was visible on previous trips, but I do not find it in any of the many photos of this area I had taken on those occasions. From this I conclude that it is often hidden from view on the Gulf Coast shore by fog or haze. On this trip, however, it was easily seen with the naked eye and the clear air allowed me to capture it in this photograph with enough detail to even make out its contours.

Cape North is at the right of this photo jutting into the Gulf below the terminus of the massif that runs northeasterly through the Cape Breton highlands, rising to 431.9 m (1417 ft) near its northern end. The southern part of that massif is known as North Mountain, the Cabot Trail crossing over which offers some of the many stunning views for which it is so justly renowned along its entire length.