The Mahone Bay Classic Boat Festival, formerly known as the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival, isn’t happening this year, but a new group has come together to present the Mahone Bay Regatta on the same weekend.
So if you’re used to making a trip to one of Nova Scotia’s most scenic towns at that point in the summer, for food, entertainment and a bit of “messing about with boats”, or if you have a boat and like to take part in the races, you should continue to mark that weekend on your calendar.
This year has a strong Pirate theme, so if you come on Saturday or Sunday, bring along some Pirate garb, or at least be ready to say “Arrrggghhh, me hearties!” You can practice by changing the language on your Facebook to Pirate: Account > Account Settings > Language and from the drop-down, choose English (Pirate).
Looking for activities for your creative kid(s) this summer? Maybe you’ll be visiting Nova Scotia and would like something special for the children to do while you’re on the South Shore visiting Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Chester, LaHave, Rissers Beach etc.
Every summer, a group of creative artists, theatre folk and teachers have been hosting Day Camps at the South Shore Waldorf School in Blockhouse, near Mahone Bay. For little ones aged 3-7 there is the “Morning Glory” program, and for an older age group, variously 4-12, there is “Summer Arts“, including a week for early teens aged 12-15 in August. You can attend for just a day or for a week at a time. Programs and teachers change from week to week, so check out the program.
The school is in a beautiful, natural setting with fields, woods, swings and other play structures, and an enclosed play area for little ones. The school itself is a beautiful old building with lots of character, polished by 100 years of little hands and footsteps. A new annex has expanded the school’s capacity to provide art and nature based education in the Waldorf tradition.
Tourists are very welcome at the Day Camps. Some of the teachers speak German or French.
I was the “Dessert Queen” in Mahone Bay on Saturday night, receiving desserts people brought to the Mahone Bay Centre, sticking their names on the bottoms of the pie plates so they’d get them back later, sometimes tasting the desserts to find out what they were and if they contained nuts, slicing up cheesecake, apple strudel and blueberry pie….Nice work if you can get it?
It was a benefit for Haiti, to collect money for Oxfam’s Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund. Oxfam has a team in Haiti permanently, so they are well positioned to get aid to people quickly. As we have seen, speed is all important in saving lives and preventing chaos.
The little town of Mahone Bay raised $13,600 for Haiti that night. There were soups, chili, wonderful breads, coffee, cider and desserts, all donated by individuals and businesses in the community. There were musicians donating their talents on 2 stages, and craft tables for kids to make things to sell and to send to children in Haiti. 300 people were fed. We wished we could have sent all that food to Haiti, but money travels lighter.
You can still donate to Oxfam and have it counted in the tally for the South Shore for Haiti event until Jan. 28. Here’s how: Go to www.oxfam.ca, choose “Haiti Earthquake 2010” and in the Comments section enter “Event: South Shore for Haiti”. Or phone 1-800-466-9326 and ask them to note that it is for “Event: South Shore for Haiti”.
It’s our favourite event of the annual Mahone Bay Classic Boat Festival. Teams of contestants are given 4 hours and limited materials to construct a boat of their own design. The construction takes place in full view of festival-goers. On the last day of the Festival, a crowd gathers for the “sea trials”, in which the contestants must row, then sail, then row and/or sail the boat around a course. There are prizes for best costume, best boat (not necessarily the most seaworthy), and best “water event” – usually a spectacular sinking – as well as for speed.
I made a little video of this year’s Fast and Furious Sea Trials. It’s in two parts.
I woke up this morning with my family aboard a sailboat at a peaceful anchorage in Mahone Bay just a couple of hours sail from home. And shared my thoughts: “We are so privileged to be doing this. Not just having the boat, but to be able to sail where we want and drop the anchor where we deem best, want without paying a toll to anyone, and to enjoy this beautiful scenery so freely.”
The first settlers of Lunenburg must have been in awe at such freedom. What we now call Germany was at the time an assortment of many principalities of various sizes. Going down the “highway” of the river Rhine to Rotterdam, where they boarded the ship that would take them across the Atlantic, the emigrants would have been stopped at every border crossing and paid tolls. Many of them had even needed to secure permission from their feudal lord to leave the land they were bonded to as peasants. Once they reached Lunenburg in 1753, they must have been very appreciative of the freedom to profit from their own labour and build their future with their own hands.
Even some of the modern-day German immigrants to Nova Scotia that I know have expressed to me their appreciation of the freedom they have here in a society that is less regulated than the one they left behind.
The Mahone Islands Conservation Association (MICA) works to protect public access to the islands of Mahone Bay, as well as to preserve their natural environment. The islands are increasingly under pressure by private owners and developers. Natural shorelines and nesting habitats are disrupted (photo right). Owners of some islands chase visitors off beaches that have long been used by the general public. (Some have been known to brandish guns in their efforts, something that Canadians or at least Nova Scotians just don’t do.)
From what I understand, depending on the type of deed, the intertidal zone has legally remained public except in a few cases where water rights were transferred. In a country where travel by boat was the norm, the right to land on a shore would have been an issue of public safety. Nowadays, it seems that there is a trend for private property rights to be extended into the intertidal zone – whether by deed, by custom, by complicity of the authorities or by ignorance by the public, I don’t know. Enlighten me if you know anything more about this issue, please, by commenting below.
Meanwhile, I take pleasure in seeing the decendants of the original Lunenburg settlers, with names such as Meisner and Ernst, involved in MICA, perserving public access to the islands of Mahone Bay for future generations of humans and seabirds.
I’ve just added 5 new Nova Scotia panoramas to the Photo Album, as well as a few pictures in the Mahone Bay, South Shore, Fundy Shore and Blomidon sections. More pictures are on their way. I think I’ll break out a new section on the LaHave River and Islands, and create another just for islands, mostly from a boater’s perspective. Could be useful to someone trying to figure out where they are!
This project, the Nova Scotia Photo Album, is still very much alive and growing. It predates Flickr, Picasa and the rest. Photo sharing has become an easy and common thing for anyone to do, so I hope I’m offer something of value. Is it just because this site has been around for a long time and gets found in the search engines? What do you think? Click on COMMENTS below and leave a comment.
A beautiful day begs a bike ride. We headed for Martin’s Point, which sticks out into Mahone Bay between Oak Island and Indian Point.
Martin’s Point points towards the many Mahone Bay islands that we like to sail to and around.
Like many coastal areas, it has a mixture of century-old homesteads, decades-old bungalows, and some new, modern, expensive homes that the average Nova Scotian can not afford, often built by come-from-aways as a summer home and a place to retire.
People who move here by choice bring a lot to our communities – financial resources, income for local businesses, support for the arts, etc. There is often a conflict in values and lifestyle between them and the local population, however, who have a different sense of belonging to the place and a history that goes back generations.