McNabs Island


In late July and early August I spent a week with Mark in Nova Scotia where we stayed with Mark’s sister Patsy and her partner Jim in Bedford. Patsy and Jim are experienced sailors, having taken trips to the Bahamas, Florida and various Virgin Islands. One excursion I hoped to make during this trip down east was a visit to McNabs Island. Patsy and Jim said they would take us there, weather permitting. On a gorgeous sunny Tuesday, August 3, the four us, plus Helen, a colleague of Patsy’s, headed out from the Dartmouth Yacht Club for McNabs.

This boat trip was our second time aboard the Passage Maker, as on the very day that we arrived in Halifax Patsy and Jim took us around the Northwest Arm. We saw the mansions on the waterfront and synchronized a distant wave of hello to our friends Maxine and Peter who recently moved to an apartment overlooking Melville Island and Deadman’s Island. Patsy and Maxine phoned each other and as we neared their building we could see them on the balcony waving to us.

McNabs Island is a trip of over two hours from the yacht club. We anchored in Ives Cove and Jim ferried us over to the dock in a dinghy. We needed to do this in two trips.

Looking at Halifax and Point Pleasant Park from Ives Cove
Military helicopter activity above McNabs
Jim, Helen and Patsy aboard the dinghy with the Passage Maker at anchor
On the dock at Ives Cove
Repositioned cannons at Fort Ives
Fort Ives
Davis Conrad House, one of the uninhabited homes along Old Military Road
Patsy, Helen and Mark at Davis Conrad House
Jim walking towards Matthew Lynch House
Heading on a hike with McNabs map in hand

Along the trails we often stopped to pick blueberries, which were smaller than the ones you often buy in stores but nonetheless fully ripe. Jim identified the large mounds of berry-filled droppings along the way as coming from bears. I remember reading that bears were a sight on the island and felt strength in our mass of five. We were eaten alive by bugs but they weren’t mosquitoes.

Happy hikers
The welcome pavilion off Garrison Pier. Mark is looking at the map.
Mark on the way to the beach
Heading for Maugers Beach. Those in the know pronounce it <Majors>

While we were on the beach we sat on the sand and enjoyed lunch and wine (the latter courtesy of Patsy). Helen had brought a game along, Password, based on the popular daytime game show. I used to play this all the time in the seventies. We had so much fun playing it.

Maugers Beach Lighthouse
The dangerous broken spiky fence surrounding Fort Ives

During my week in Nova Scotia I visited four second-hand bookstores, and found one book I was looking for at the first place I walked into, in the town of Windsor. From Discover McNabs Island, I learned of various novels that mention the island and two of which used the island as a setting. I wanted to find them, and was lucky to find Hangman’s Beach by Thomas H. Raddall for only $4.50 at Readers’ Haven. In spite of the other stores’ sizable collections of Raddall works, I only found this novel in the store where I bought it. The store even had a hardcover copy but I was content to get the paperback, the exact cover of which was featured in Discover McNabs Island.

On the way back to Bedford we enjoyed the chili that Patsy had made for us. The harbour was not busy, either going to McNabs or coming back, since Tuesday was not a popular day for boaters.

One Response

  1. Craig
    I love how you captured the afternoon in pictures and narrative. I enjoyed reading it and seeing a picture or two I hadn’t seen before. We had such a lovely time, even if I suck at Password! You were all great, you word game Scrabble playing scholars! 🤪
    Patricia

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