Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Nova Scotia 2018 Part 2

70 Hours in Halifax

Halifax is a city like no other ... I spent about 6 hours there last year and knew I had to go back. This trip, we had about 3 days to spend there and I was sure Kathy and I would make the best of it. Museums, cemeteries, excellent restaurants and some really fun fishing filled our time there and I can't wait to go back.

A block from where we were staying was the Halifax Botanical Gardens. It's the oldest "Victorian" garden in North America and boasts a plethora of species of both flowers and trees/shrubs from around the world. An agave plant was blooming while we were there and quite a spectacular sight as it happens once every 30 years. One could spend hours strolling the gardens, however knowing it was so close to where we were staying we agreed to walk through it again when time permitted.

From there it was off to the Old Burying Grounds, a well shaded and extremely beautiful cemetery dating back to 1749. I was able to spend 20 minutes there last year and that wasn't nearly enough time. After a good hour exploring and appreciating the history of this cemetery, we decided to head for some sushi. Everything we ordered was top notch and the service was stellar for such a busy restaurant!

By the time we made it back to where we were staying I just couldn't get fishing the waterfront out of my head. With Kathy exhausted from hiking all over the city, she was content to relax over a bottle of wine while visiting with my sister. This left me free to hike the kilometer and a half down to the water to fish the incoming tide.

My first few casts of the spoon came back without a bite and the few anglers around me were seeming to have about as much success as I was. After a while I changed my tactics from casting for mackerel to fishing small scented plastics and bait among the pillars of the wharf. After missing about 10 or so bites, I finally was able to bring a few tropical looking fish with some tiny sharp teeth up to the pier. Locally they are referred to as cunner and they are a member of the wrasse family. As the sun slowly set, the waterfront was alive with the first night of the buskers festival. I glanced over the tide schedules and decided I would return to the spot roughly an hour after sun up the next day. 

Sleep came easily after all the exercise of hiking through the city and I woke up refreshed and ready to try for mackerel again. I maintained a brisk pace on my walk back to the waterfront, eager to get fishing. The first cast of my spoon got a hit within seconds and I was soon bringing a mackerel up to the pier. It was under a legal keeper, a tinker as the locals would call it, though eaters weren't of concern to me this trip. Mackerel are schooling fish and the next 5 casts would produce a fish. It was at this point that some of the other early rising tourists were venturing out on the waterfront. Every so often one would notice me with a fish and ask if they could take a picture and I would always reply with "Sure as long as you take one for me with my phone, I'm not from around here." I was also able to land an atlantic pollock in between the schools of mackerel adding another new species to the list. The action would come and go as the morning went along and as the sun broke through the fog, the schools seemed to move out and I knew it was my cue to get on with the day.

The east coast was going through a fairly oppressive heat wave and after a bit of walking around Kat and I decided to head to the Natural History Museum. Air conditioned and well worth the price of admission, the museum boasts a great collection of all things Nova Scotia, from the flora, fauna and wildlife to indigenous culture, geology and fisheries. Exhibits change regularly so it seems like a great place to revisit. From the museum just a short walk away sits The Citadel and that would be our next stop, rich in history (and under construction) my favorite part was the War museum on the second floor of the main building. 

We ended up stumbling upon a restaurant that sparked our interest that wasn't on our radar and decided to take a chance on it. I am so glad we did as every bite from everything we ordered was beyond delectable. Primal was so good we ended up going back the next night for supper as well!

The last full day we spent in Halifax was as action packed as the previous. It started with more mackerel and cunner at the waterfront and was followed by plenty of walking around through another cemetery. We spent a few hours in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic part of which had a centennial exhibit on the Halifax Explosion which was put together extremely well. With another great supper at Primal we headed back for a relaxing evening before our trip continued towards Bear River and the Digby Necks