Big Tancook Island.

Autumn 2007.

Big Tancook Island is the largest island in the Bay of Mahone, located about an hour from Halifax. In 1792, J.H. Flieger and George Grant were granted the island by the British Government. It has been inhabited since 1829 when Flieger and Grant settled 30 families of German and French ancestry on the island.

The island quickly became known for its superior schooner ships and sauerkraut. The last ship building company closed in the 70s and around the same time, the sauerkraut became more of a pastime hobby than a primary industry. The primary industry of the island is now fishing - appropriate for the 2.4km long island shaped like a fish hook.

Today the population of Big Tancook is 194 with 160 dwellings.

To reach the island, you need to take a ferry from the village of Chester.

At $5 round trip, how could I not visit Big Tancook?

Chester is located at the direct interior of a bay that opens into the Atlantic. During the ferry ride, we passed this tract of land jutting out into the Atlantic. Quite a fine piece of land for a golf course I must say.

The ferry ride is about 50 minutes long; lengthened by the fact that you stop at Little Tancook.

I peered out at Little Tancook and liked its desolation; but figured that I couldn't kill 6 hours there.

My destination: Big Tancook Island!

When I exited the ferry, I headed over to the one restaurant / general store on the island and got some maps and some friendly advice from the storeowner.

Excited to get on my way, I headed down the gravel road across the island.

This is the post office.

Why do graveyards always end up on this site? I'm not into graveyards at all; it just stunned me that a tight-knit island wouldn't maintain these tombstones of their ancestors.

Random dilapidated shed along the way.

Gulls enjoying the rooftop sun.

Holy shit! I'm not sure how Steve got his car over to the island; but he did.

This guy also had a mean lifted Mazda Tercel in his yard.

Rundown or Abandoned?

I'd say abandoned. Most people would board up / close that window.

Presbyterian Church.

Back at the general store, the storekeeper told me to check out the Museum - you know, just take the lock off and show yourself around.

That made it all the better - a Museum to myself.

Nothing like a 100 lb. bag of whale meal.

The museum interior.

Handwritten account of the history of the Tancooks.

Dental pliers.

The museum had quite the collection of historic tools and objects from days past.

When I left the museum I was confronted by a fierce Tancook predatory feline.

...and to set the scene, I played with the cat for about 5 minutes in the middle of the road & no cars went by.

It sure made me miss Street Cred & Napoleon though...

While laughing at that sign; I looked down to find a decent size hoof print in the ground.

Weird coincidences.

The road with the rest stop didn't offer much. The rock formations were cool, but there wasn't much to see.

Off in the distance you can see Grassy Island.

I reached the end of that road and turned around.

Heading through an area of houses and onto a mud road, I headed towards an area known as the Kettle...

The Kettle was beautiful I must say. I found garbage and charred wood from a fire and became jealous.

Also, this is the area where I'm 85% sure I saw a bald eagle.

Angular rock outcrops and sea life.

More strange sea flora.

I almost walked clean into this little guy on the way back from the Kettle.

Located on the map was the "Government Wharf Ruins."

I was excited until I actually got there.

A little blue house with a lilac door on the ocean.

A little orange house with lilac window frames, light green doors and lilac deck on the ocean.

The last few pictures have chronicled my walk from one side of the island to the other. When I got to the other end of the island, there was a good view over at Little Tancook.

The only abandoned house on the island!

I liked it because it reminded me of the house that Forrest knocked down for Jenny.

(There were actually a few more houses that I figured to be abandoned; but they weren't run down enough for me to find out.)

I poked around the outside of the house for a bit; but all of the doors were locked tight. I peered inside and decided it wasn't worth climbing through a window for. I liked the tackiness of the interior and all, but just not enough to climb into a small window.

I did go back to that church though. It wasn't the biggest place by any stretch of the imagination and it couldn't have been abandoned for long. The interior just seemed to lack maintenance for a couple of months.

Half-ass attempt at a panoramic.

Put abandoned church #8 on the board!

I walked back to the main dock and boarded the ferry back to the mainland.

Overall, Big Tancook is a nice place to visit; especially when you get a day as beautiful as the one I had. The older folks are incredibly nice and will wave to you as they drive past. The only complaint I could make would be the youth's general disdain for outsiders. I know it wasn't only me, because a girl in my class asked if I got the same vibe and I surely did.



2. Big Tancook Elementary School Website.

3. Big Tancook on Wikipedia.

4. Industry Canada Demographics.

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