Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2019

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20 wholelifetimes.com urple irises and yellow waterlilies flutter as wind ripples the pond. Just beyond, wild horses graze. The adults are dark brown with black manes, the yearlings woolly and dreaded. You can see their ribs, even in summer, when food is most abundant. The wind lifts their manes. It's always windy on Sable Island, a skinny piece of land, 39 km long and 1.5 km at its widest part. Only about 450 people visit Sable Island annually. Situated 160 km off the coast of Nova Scotia in the Northern Atlantic, it's not easy to get here. A couple of small cruise ships are permitted to anchor and bring passengers ashore in Zodiac boats — that's how I got here. Otherwise, people come by small charter plane, weather conditions permitting (they often don't), or by private boat. Nobody is allowed to stay overnight except for authorized personnel, such as Parks Canada staff and scientific researchers. I've arrived here on a cruise of Canada's maritime provinces with One Oceans Expeditions. This small, British Columbia- based company is known for visiting remote and wild places like Antarctica, Greenland, and Chilean Fjords. Their experience with biosecurity measures also suits them for Sable Island visits. Before setting foot on the island, we all had to vacuum the Velcro closures on our jackets and soak the soles of our shoes in a special solution. Parks Canada staff accompany our small groups, telling us not only about the horses, but the gray seals, roseate terns, Ipswich swallows, and sweat bees that also make Sable Island their home. The beach is totally as-is — here a seal skull, there a shark's spinal column, and there a washed up chunk of plastic. As Alannah Phillips, park manager of Sable Island National Park Reserve later tells me, "In Canada, Sable Island is really special to a lot of people. It has kind of a magic and mystery to it that people want to make sure it's protected." I feel incredibly lucky to be one of the 450 people to visit this year. Exploring Atlantic Canada ADVENTURE CRUISING: BY TERESA BERGEN Wild &Remote Above: Courtesy of One Ocean Expeditions; Left: Teresa Bergen

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