I had the good fortune of being invited to go to Sable Island during the summer of 2009. I traveled there with 2 photographers and my friend Dr. Claudia Notzke who studies wild horses around the world. We were approved to go to Sable from Monday, Aug. 3 through Monday, Aug. 10th. However, being approved doesn’t mean you will get there. Sable Island is known as the foggiest place in Nova Scotia and the fog dictates if and when the plane will land.
We were delayed 5 out of our 7 days and were still sitting in Halifax (on pins and needles) waiting for the fog to break long enough for the plane to fly in. On Saturday morning we finally got the “go ahead” and although that left us with only 2 days, we had come too far not to follow through (a visit cannot be extended or changed due to weather). So it was with great jubilation that we finally loaded the plane and took off!
Sable from the air, our first view…
Endless sand, surf and sky . . . absolutely breathtaking
Sable Island is approx. 180 km off the coast of Nova Scotia, is 42 km long and about 1 1/2 km across at its widest.
Sable Island is protected, so public access to the island has to be granted by the Canadian Coast Guard; visitors then have to make their own transportation arrangements to and from the island as well as bring their own supplies.
The Airport on Sable Island
It took us almost 2 hours to fly there from Halifax. As the day was clear, our pilot offered to fly over the northern tip of Sable Island.
Maritime Air, the air charter company who flies to Sable Island, uses a Britten-Norman Islander. The “islander” is a special plane designed for short landing and take off.
The horses on the island have no natural predators, so they have no fear of people…they’re cautious, but usually their curiosity overcomes them and on our first day there we had a welcoming committee come over and check us out.
Cautious but curious
Downtown Sable Island is comprised of 2 residences (one for station manager Gerry Forbes and the other for visitors and island maintenance staff), the weather office and service buildings.
Downtown Sable Island
My first evening on the island has left an indelible memory – Just imagine being alone (well almost) on an island far from anywhere, on a warm summer evening. There’s nothing around you except the horses, seals, the sound of the wind and surf…it was absolutely heaven.
This particular moment in time will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can still feel the serenity wash over me.
First night on Sable Island…sea, wind, horses and seals