The lake caught this weekend

Ice on the Bras d'Or copy

A thin skim of ice formed on the Bras d’Or Lake this weekend, and the forecast week of bitter cold and light winds promises to deepen and strengthen its wintery cover. Forty years ago, this was an all-but-annual occurrence. In the middle decades of the 20th Century, Victoria County’s legendary physician C. Lamont MacMillan routinely crossed the lake in a homemade half-track to reach ill patients in the depths of winter. But as our climate has changed, the frozen lake has become a rarity.

Consider this a placeholder for a compilation, coming soon, of the outraged comments that flooded in from defenders of the “wind chill” notion, in response to Contrarian’s (and Scientific American’s) repudiation of the concept.

(I will just note in passing that it is an absence of significant wind, as much as extreme cold, that allows the Bras d’Or freeze over. Quelle ironie!)

Taking a dive in the Barra Strait


On December 12, Harvey Morash and Michael Gerhartz went diving at Grand Narrows, Cape Breton, where the two great basins of the Bras d’Or Lake* converge amidst the treacherous currents of the Barra Strait.

Those currents make the water in this video disturbingly murky, but the fecundity of the sea life—the profusion of urchins, anemones, not to mention perch, lobster, and cod—is something to see.

The aerial photo at right shows the two bridges, highway and railway, that span the strait, from Iona on the left to Grand Narrows on the right.

* Lake? Lakes? An eternal argument. The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association has settled on ‘lake,’ and I will take my cue from them.