I woke to the gentle pitted patter of rain on my tent. Ignoring the complaints of my bladder, I immediately rolled over and went back to sleep until the luxurious hour of 9:30, by which time the rain had stopped. Zipping open my moss green tent fly, I was relieved to see that we were enshrouded in a cool layer of fog. It is, what I like to call, a nature inspired rest day. Which is exactly why we went on a 5 mile walk (what the hell is wrong with us!).
We visited a Gannet colony on a wild island preserve which housed more than 200,000 birds. (And smelled like it!). We caught a boat from the public pier to the national park and trekked across the island, 2.5 miles uphill. Only a mile into the islands interior, we could hear the shrieks and squawks of the birds, but had no idea as to what we were about to experience. Minutes later, we rounded a bend and suddenly got blasted by a sea breeze laden with the unholy stench of birds living much too close together. Don't get me wrong: they were not in a cage. This was a nesting colony, raising their young on the ragged cliffs of Gaspe. The chicks were no longer in a cute a fuzzy stage and boasted awkward patchy wings which they flapped with utter confusion. Summer is, after all, nearly over. It was almost time for the Southern migration to Florida. A small catwalk carefully skirted the colony, allowing us to stand as close as two feet to the sleek creatures. They paid us no mind. Too busy eating pests, fighting, feeding their juvenile children, and shrieking with such a fervor as to leave our ears ringing with their atrocious calls for an hour.
Returning to the mainland, we entered a new local brew house. The converted general store had a vast open wood floor and sheltered us for the duration of the rainy day as we slowly savored their selection of craft beers. Our quiet reading (and writing) hour was interrupted by a raucous 15 piece brass gypsy Cumbria band complete with dancers. The group sought shelter from the pouring rain no doubt, set up in minutes, and shook the halls for an hour. What had been an empty bar was standing room only. Claps, cheers, and whistles emitted even from the modest viewers as the band kept things playful by wandering between the seats. They collected their tips and left they left the way they came: quickly and quietly, stopping to chat with us about our trip and their tour.