Kayaking in Nova Scotia is an amazing experience. Cape Breton is a nexus for Celtic culture, great food and beautiful scenery. Combining the two for a three day festival of kayaking, stand up paddling and canoeing is nothing short of genius. Cape Breton Paddlefest 2012 was exactly that.
Mid September this year I had the pleasure to head up to Dundee, Cape Breton as a guest coach for the Cape Breton Paddlefest. Although it's only its second year running they have already managed to attract people from as far away as Kentucky, USA. After a nice social Friday evening we all got up bright and early Saturday and headed for a paddle around the Bras d'Or Lake.
The views were nothing short of amazing. We had a beautiful sunny day, with only a little bit of wind. We travelled around a few islands, taking in the local scenery including a few fishing boats. I saw two bald eagles during the trip, but sadly wasn't able to get my camera out in time.
That afternoon we headed out to Point Michaud for a little bit of surfing in our kayaks, while the less crazy people went on another nice social paddle near Louisdale. The waves were just about right for beginners, and when we finally came in there were nothing but smiles to be seen.
Sunday was a little windier but we made the best of it. Ryan Brake got a picture of organizer Tim White testing out the water trampoline. Tim and a few other coaches taught kayaking and stand up paddleboarding just in front of the Dundee Resort Lodge while the other half of the group went over to Marble Mountain for another social paddle.
Nova Scotia seems to rapidly becoming a nexus of sea kayaking. Next year alone there are four kayak/canoe/stand-up paddleboard festivals in the province for everyone from the beginner who has never held a paddle to the intermediate and advanced paddler looking to hone their skills with some of the best coaches in Canada. With all of the local rental shops, even if you're coming from outside Nova Scotia or don't have your own kayak, getting one and all the gear you need is not a problem.
Although winter is coming I am already looking forward to participating and coaching in next year's paddle festivals.