Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Canada Day Adventure

I've decided that I want to get out paddling much more this year.

Lawlor's Island which lies tantalizingly close off the shore of Eastern Passage is an easy target for my kayak as it's a 10 minute paddle away.

Paddling is a bit of a challenge with the excitable, antsy Trey positioned between by knees, peering this way and that and crying harder and harder as we near land.  Needless to say, both of us always wear life jackets.

Eastern Passage is to the left.  Safely beached on Lawlor's.
What excites me, about Lawlor's, is its unique and well-documented history as a quarantine station, complete with deep-water wharf, two hospitals, a disinfection unit, three different buildings for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers, several residences, a doctor's house, a small cemetery and a massive elevated water tank and cistern.  

To see the island now you would have no idea of it's storied past. All that remains of the massive wharf are a few posts protruding from the water.  All the buildings have crumbled and their foundations lie hidden under the jumbles of trees felled by Hurricane Juan in 2003.

On a previous visit last summer, I found the small cemetery with few marked graves but many more bodies, on the fern-covered north (?) end of the island.

Rather than following the shore, Trey and I headed inland.

Sadly I had not brought my decent camera, and most pictures I took are already in my computer's "recycle" bin.

Sometimes the going was very tough as much of the interior of the island is covered with dead-fall. The ruins of a wall can just barely be glimpsed behind those dead trees.

After three hours on the island -- yes, I brought water, and wore sunscreen, but forgot bug spray -- I stumbled across the foundations of several buildings, a cistern and a massive fallen water tower.  The latter looked like the rusted hulk of a Saturn Rocket lying prone across the forest floor. Sadly the pics of the tower are among those not fit for print.

The Cistern (?)

Rails up the side f the round structure.

I "think" this is the base of the fallen metal tower.

I climbed that ladder to take this pic looking down into the structure.  How kewl is that !

At one point Trey came barreling along carrying his ball and leapt over a wall (see below), not realizing that the ground was NOT at the same height on both sides.  He yelped as he crash-landed, and I briefly worroied about how on earth I was going to carry a dog with a broken leg out of there.  He then leapt back out as if nothing had happened.

I enjoyed exploring the island and am eager to go back with a decent camera ... and bug spray.

Trey walking along a fallen tree.  The forest floor is about two feet below him.


If you're interested in learning more about Lawlor's Island, this is the definitive book on the subject.

Click here for more and better images from a recent survey of the island by a researcher from Pier 21 in Halifax.  


  1. I love how Trey must take a ball with him everywhere he goes. Glad everything was okay after his crazy leap!

    1. Karma, I don't think he got off totally unscathed as he's a bit sore and has a slight limp when he gets up from lying down. He's such a lovable jerk !

  2. Bug spray is so necessary at this time of year. I can imagine reading a fiction novel about this place. Will you write it?

    1. Oh the history of that island and some of it so sad. No book from this girl, but I do want to go back and explore it more.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful day of exploration and adventure with Trey. I'm so glad he wasn't seriously hurt when he fell - he looks so happy walking along the fallen tree, two feet off the ground!

    1. Trey is such a fool. He doesn't listen to his body even when he does hurt it. He goes flat out and then when we go home he looks at me like: "Why did you let me do all that ?" !

  4. Good images. really too bad that this place wasn't cleaned up after the hurricane. The round structure that you had climbed up is the cistern, The smaller building was an ingle hearth used for winter seasons, the rungs that you climbed up was once under a dormer with a wooden hatch in a shingled peaked round roof. the mineral formation (on the cistern) was made from the presence of salt water as it was pumped up from the shore for hydrant flushing to a network of water mains....Tower was detonated at the base in '89.

    1. Oh Wapanak'ik I would love to hear more. It is such a pity that nothing is being done to stabilize the ruins. We don't seem to care about our own history.


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