Friday, February 17, 2012
Port Latour- this is an extract from the book, try as I might the formatting is not the same
Both wharves have been upgraded in the last few years and there is plenty of water if your draft is six feet or less. The bottom of this bay is fine, white sand, and the water is beautifully clear ( though usually only 12 degrees Celsius). There are some small sand beaches.
Port LaTour was one of the earliest sites of European occupation, being settled by Claude De LaTour in 1610 or thereabouts. Claude was quite a character, wheeling and dealing between the French and the English in the interminable wars of the seventeenth century. He was French, but Protestant and not politically correct. Claude's wife, Marie, came to a sticky end after a particularly nasty siege ( in a place near Saint John, New Brunswick) between her companions and another dastardly Frenchman, seignior d'Aulnay. There is a monument to his settlement about half a mile to the south of the lower wharf. This is a peaceful little glade, but there is now no trace of the original buildings, though the site has never been excavated, and the basements may be under the turf.
There is also to the north, a passage between John's Island to the west, and Blanche to the east, to the village of Cape Negro ( which is nowhere near the Cape). It looks quite intimidating on the chart, but I'm told by the owner of the fish plant that it is very pretty. The latest chart would seem to imply this is buoyed, but I wouldn't overly rely on their presence
To the east of Port LaTour lies Blanche Island and The Salvages, as nasty a mess of rocks as you are likely to see anywhere.
They are steep to on the southern end, but as the surf can be heard easily, at the anchorage at Cape Negro island, three miles away, and the spray flies this distance also, I don't recommend too close an approach. Negro Harbour can be entered from the west, through the western entrance on the chart, but it is full of unmarked rocks, and the look of them from outside will deter all but the most foolhardy. I don't recall a lot of the local fishermen using it much, for that matter. There is a lighthouse on the biggest rock, now unmanned, which must be like a submarine in the winter. It has a loud fog signal, three blasts every minute, which can be easily heard for miles.
20 years ago, one of my medical colleagues, a bird watching pediatrician, came across a large, seemingly uninhabited motor boat with a Quebec port of call on its stern tied up on the old wharf on the east side of Blanche Island in March. She innocently thought it was probably on its way south. I thought it was probably up to other things. Eventually the RCMP banged on the hull, woke up the dreamy crew, and seized one of the biggest drug hauls ever found in western Nova Scotia. No-one here had ever heard of the Hell's Angels then, but they soon learnt. There seems these days to be about one big drug bust of this type a year in the province, but the RCMP say they only intercept 10% of the traffic. It is possible you may come across such activity. In such a case, I suggest a discrete retreat, as these fellows are not renowned for genteel conversation over afternoon tea. If you want to contact the RCMP afterwards, don't do it on the VHF or any sort of wireless phone.