Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Five nights on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada

 A week at the Hole in the Wall Campground 

Once my coworker, Henri, started talking to me about Grand Manan this past winter, I knew I wanted to go.  My friend Leslie and I had vacationed for a week in Quebec last summer, and our initial plans were to go to Acadia, but then, I've been there many many times; sides, Grand Manan was going to be a new adventure and it was going to less expensive.   Luckily, I found a two bedroom house for $75/night (Canadian at that) at the Hole in the Wall Campground, just around the bend from Swallowtail Lighthouse, the prettiest site on the Island (I think)....

Grand Manan is a Canadian island, and the largest of the Fundy Islands in the Bay of Fundy, and as of 2006, there were about 2,500 people living there.  Its economy is still dependent upon fishing, aquaculture and tourism.  Lobster, herring, scallops and crab are most commonly sought among fishermen.  Many residents make their living "on the water," yet tourism is growing a lot.  Whale and bird watching, camping and kayaking are popular activities among the tourists.  The island is noted for its friendly people, low crime rate, high church membership, quaint villages, and unspoiled sea-scapes.  It is only accessible by daily ferry service, private craft and airplane.  The ferry runs daily except for December 25 and January 1, and the voyage across takes about an hour and a half.  We enjoyed the ride across as the ship had many comfortable lounging areas and external decks as well as a restaurant with seating.
This is the Ferry Boat that leaves from Black's Harbor in New Brunswick to Grand Manan several times a day; it's subsidized by the government, and so it's quite inexpensive ($10.50 a person round-trip, and $32 for the car round-trip).  You certainly want to have a car on the island, the towns are quite spread out as the island is about 21 miles long and 4-6 miles wide.  

We headed over around 5:30, it was quite windy & chilly, but it was picturesque and invigoratin!

We were greeted by this beautiful doe as we embarked on the island!

Our neighborhood for the week!

There's an abundance of trails on the island, be careful!  Leslie and I also went out to Ross Island (during low tide) and Whitehead Island (there's a free Ferry), but neither of us would recommend hiking there.  We were up to our necks in scrub and/or trudging through wet ATV trails trying to find our way, on the latter island, we actually only saw one red marker!

There's a small art gallery on the island worth visiting for $2.

The five pictures above were taken at Dark Harbour, a small dulsing community and get-away destination for islanders.

This ring necked phesant visited us several times during our stay at the Annex.

Bags of dulse I purchased from Roland earlier in the day.  This is one of the island's major exports (it's seaweed, and I have to be honest, I don't care for it much!...but try it, there are plenty of free samples and a bag is $3.50)
There's the Flock of Sheep!
 Venturing out to White Head Island....It's a free ride, there's a beach there and a nice enough trail to the lighthouse, but don't go any further than that unless you want to bushwack!

The trail?

The pictures below are of Ross Island, again, not highly recommended, you'll be able to see why!

An old schoolhouse near the Grand Manan Museum (which is well worth visiting).

The Marathon Inn, one of the oldest inns in New Brunswick.

Make sure to watch the sunset before you leave the island, it's quite spectacular!  (Ask a local where to go).