Cruising the Bras d’Or Lakes


Last Updated on May 14, 2021 by Amy

Even after four years cruising the world, Nova Scotia is one of our favorite places.  Cruising the Bras d’Or Lakes is the reason why; the lakes are calm and there are so few boats, we often had the anchorages all to ourselves.  The landscape around us was high peaks, lakeside houses, and even vineyards.

We left the Saint Peter’s Inlet on August 4th, headed for the Bras d’Or Lake system, with a few places earmarked to stop.

MacNab’s Cove

The forecast was calling for many days of good weather so we took off for our next spot: MacNab’s Cove. Moving to MacNab’s Cove required about two hour’s worth of passage through Saint Peter’s Inlet, a winding channel. We picked MacNab’s Cove because our guidebook (given to us by Louise) says it is a great anchorage, just as good as the busier Cape George Harbour. Although the guidebook recommended the sides to anchor, we decided to go smack dab in the middle. It’s 20 feet deep here and mud. The cove is picturesque. We have almost the whole place to ourselves, sharing it with a few houses that we can barely see from here.

We pumped up the kayak and went for a paddle around the cove. Around one of the very small islands, another boat had come in and picked up a private mooring. We stopped to say hello and it turns out it was the owner of the beautiful house we had been admiring. This is his summer home, and he spends the rest of the year in Maryland.

We have greatly enjoyed the calm and solitude here. We’ve spotted a bald eagle several times (we think it’s the same one) and the sunsets have been spectacular, in part because the water is so calm. Instead of a Caribbean cabana, Starry Horizons has been magically transformed into a lakefront cabin – and we are not complaining.

Crammond Islands

The Crammond Islands are two small islands with a little channel in between. This was my favorite place so far.

I kayaked most of the nooks and crannies of the channel. We spotted bald eagles from the boat, and from my kayak, I saw hummingbirds, woodpeckers, crabs, mussels, oysters, shrimp, and fish. I went ashore too, walking in the dense pine woods briefly before returning to walk along the southern pebble beach. I also found wild gooseberries – not something I have a lot of experience eating. It was a beautiful area.

There is a public mooring, but we opted to anchor instead since our anchor is a big ole baddy and we trust it more than a mooring we can’t dive.  That left the mooring open for daytrippers. We stayed at Crammond Islands for two nights.

Little Harbour

Little Harbour is a well-protected area, and very spacious, which is good because we shared it with several other boats, including the megayacht Time for Us. David and I dinghied over to a trail called The Crossing, where early merchants used to haul ships across a small isthmus of land between Little Habour and Malagawatch Harbour. It was a very short walk, but a well-maintained dirt road. I took the kayak out and very ambitiously sought to kayak the perimeter of Little Harbour. I got 2/3 of the way through – about a mile – and started getting blown around by the headwind so I called David for a tow. Overall though, the kayak was not very rewarding in terms of wildlife sightings. We also stayed here for two nights.

Barra Strait

We passed easily through the Barra Strait bridge, which opens on demand for vessels in transit.

Maskell’s Harbour

Another well-protected cove, where we bunked down for two nights through some rough weather spots. We did venture out to hike up the short path to the lighthouse, to look over the lake.


We arrived in Baddeck on the 10th, just in time for our next adventure…a Cabot Trail road trip!

Watch the Video:  6 Weeks Cruising Nova Scotia

Pin it!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.