Places to go in Nova Scotia? (Innes Muecke)

Places to go in Nova Scotia? (Innes Muecke)

Post by Innes Muec » Fri, 22 Jul 1994 04:30:38


Well, there is a great variety of spots around here for every type of
windsurfer. I have windsurfed around here 7 years from beginner to
advanced and I have always had a great place to sail. I live in Halifax
so I do most of my sailing out of here but I also spend a good portion
of my summer in PEI.

For beginners (flat water):
There are many lakes and sheltered bays around that have warm/clean
water (shorty or just harness in the summer) and good rigging areas.

Grand Lake in Fall River, Nova Scotia - big, warm lake 30 min.
northwest of Halifax. Campgrounds next to water.

Lake Mic Mac in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - medium sized warm lake
15 minutes from Halifax. Parks next to water.

Aylesford Lake in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia - another medium
sized lake. In cottage country. Nice Beach.

Porter's Lake in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia - good for novices on
a calm day but can be unpredictable due to thermal sea breezes
in the summer/fall (see below). 30 minutes from Halifax
and 2 minutes from Lawrencetown Beach.

For intermediates or advanced (chop or small waves, shorty or suit):

Porter's Lake, Nova Scotia - this semi-freshwater lake has been a local
hot spot for years because of good (but unpredictable) winds in the
spring/summer/fall. One of the main reasons it is so popular is
because it is the only good place to sail close to Halifax on a
northerly wind. It has been known to howl here when a good system
goes through. It is the only lake in NS I have seen 'smoke'. It
also gets thermal sea breezes in the summer because it is right next
to the ocean (close to Lawrencetown beach). 6.5 and 5.5 sail sizes are
commonplace with 4.5 and occasionally 3.5 in the spring/fall.
The spot can be sailed in northerlies or southerlies. Some rigging
and launching sites are tricky.

Rustico Bay, PEI - Popular hot spot for locals all year round. It is a
lot like Porter's because it also gets thermal activity in summer
and it is only 20 minutes from C***tetown. The launch site is
in a national park so certain rules regarding litter and walking
in protected areas must be observed. Common sail sizes here are
the same as Porter's and shorties are used in summer. This spot
is sailed on southerlies. Rigging spots are large and grassy.
A racing series is run here in the summers once a month.

North Shore of NS around Tatamougouche - Even though Fraser's
Campground is now closed (see below), there are still many good and
unexplored sailing sites up there. The only place I have sailed
there (other than Fraser's) is Heather Beach which had nice
waves and good rigging areas. It is a sandy beach and is life-
guarded in the summers. Only consider it on northerlies.

Souris Beach, PEI - This beach is on the east end of PEI and is
semi-sheltered. It is a good place to learn to sail waves since they
stay fairly small and well spaced. You could probobly sail here on any
wind direction. A shorty or maybe a steamer is required. Rigging and
launching is grassy and great and the town of Souris is 2 minutes away.
You can also catch the ferry to the Magdallen Islands from here (great
sailing spot!). About 1 hour from Ch'town.

Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia - I haven't sailed here but I heard it is a
really good place. It is about 2 hours south of Halifax and it has both
lagoon and open ocean sailing (like Hatteras). It was written up in
Windsport magazine last year.

For advanced sailors (big waves, steamers usually required):

Lawrencetown Beach and Stoney Beach - This is the main fave for the
local diehards. The beaches are right next to each other, seperated by
protruding cliffs. The waves can range anywhere from 4 to 10+ feet in
the spring/fall. I have seen some real monsters (30+ feet) roll in here
straight off the atlantic during winter storms. It is sailed only on
southerlies with a onshore or side-on wind. This spot can be a board
and fin muncher so ask local boardheads before you sail here. The water
here has currents and is not very warm. A steamer is usually required.
Rigging and launching at Lawrencetown Beach is sandy and Stoney is stoney
Lawrencetown beach can have rather *** beach break. I had the rail of
my board remove the skin from shin here. Stoney has less beach break but
has algae-covered rocks that can be treacherous to both ankles and
boards. 30 minutes from Halifax.

The Range - For the less ***ic types the Range is about 10 mins. up
the road from Lawrencetown and offers nice waves and more civilized
launching. Waves range from 3 to 6+ feet in spring/fall.

The Lighthouse on north shore of PEI (aka mouth of Covehead bay) - This
is a popular wave spot on the Island it is close to Rustico Bay. It is
sailed on northerlies. It usually only goes off in spring or fall. The
waves can range 4 to 10+ feet and are spaced nicely, breaking quite far
out due to sand bars. Launching in the beach break is usually not too
bad and rigging is on sand/grass. It does however, have a couple dangers.
There there is fishing boat traffic through the mouth of the bay (which
is about 50 feet wide) and there are significant currents due to the
sand bars and the tide. One area known as the 'washing machine' has
claimed more than a couple innocent windsurfers. Recently written up in

Some other possible points of interest:

The wind in Nova Scotia and PEI is mainly dependent on wind from low
pressure systems passing through. These systems are more frequent in
spring and fall than in the summer (we won't bother mentioning winter)
and usually come in either from the north (winter) or the south (summer).
Lucky sailors can catch thermal activity during the summer close the
ocean. During the spring/fall you can expect 3 to 4 good days a week
on a shortboard (wind 15+ Knots) and 1 to 2 days a week in the summer.

Areas you should *avoid* include:
        Halifax harbour - polluted and quite a bit of marine traffic.
        Bay of Fundy - the tide goes out faster than you can run.

As for PEI, it is about 4 hours from Halifax including a 1.5 hour ferry
ride. I highly recommend taking a trip to PEI if you plan to
travel/windsurf around Nova Scotia in the summer. The ocean water is
generally warmer and there are many great spots to windsurf. There is
also lots to do if you get skunked. I have not sailed in Cape Breton
but I have heard there are a lot of good spots (it is also very windy
up there).

BTW, Fraser's campground in Tatamougouche is now off limits to
windsurfing because of problems with owners of the land that the launch
site is on. The shop is staying open, thank God (only one in NS). It is
a shame because this was a great spot to sail.

Innes Muecke                    "C'mon Gerry, its blow'n stink!"
KC 391
 is required. Rigging and
launching is grassy and great and the town of Souris is 2 minutes away.
You can also catc€