Visit to Sable Island in August 2007

This page has a six minute slideshow of the visit that Bob Bonifas and I made to Sable Island on August 20, 2007. These 87 photos are one of the most extensive sets of Sable Island photos on the Internet.

Sable Island is remote and only about 100 people a year make a visit. Bob Bonifas obtained the necessary Canadian government licence and arranged the charter flight. Debbie and Amanda were our pilot and co-pilot. We flew in a Britten-Norman BN-2A-21 Islander, one of the few aircraft types permitted to land on the beach on Sable Island.

We took off at 9:30 am from Halifax, Nova Scotia for the 90-minute flight in clear weather. Gerry Forbes, the director met us in a truck equipped with a wind sock. We brought some provisions for the 8 or 9 people who live on the island.

Gerry gave us an extensive, educational tour. He explained that Sable Island is one of the 800 locations on the planet that launch weather balloons. All 800 locations release balloons on a synchronized schedule every 12 hours. These hydrogen-filled latex balloons carry an expendable electronics package that transmits weather data.

Gerry explained almost 2 dozen different experiments that collect data on Sable Island for various universities and research organizations. Jerry is a physicist and a jack-of-all-trades who keeps the research equipment functioning.

Gerry described the self-sufficient life on the island: food storage, water, power, specialized equipment, etc.

Then Zoe Lucas, an environmental researcher, took us for a hike of the low-lying treeless island to see the plants, like the cranberries, and the animals. The biggest attraction are the 350 feral horses. We observed them without interfering with them. These wild horses roam freely around the island in small groups. There are also five species of seals.

Our delightful three-hour visit exceeded our expectations. We took off at 2:15 pm for the 105-minute return flight.

The slideshow (7.2Mb) takes about a minute to load. When the background changes to black it is ready to play, click on the small arrow on the bottom left side of the slideshow to start. If desired, click to pause or resume.
The controls also allow a full screen show, but it will be a bit fuzzy. If controls not visible, point to video window.