What a beautiful day we had today! The morning was quite foggy as National Geographic Explorer anchored near Louisbourg, a town on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. However, an hour later the fog lifted and for the remainder of the day we had blue skies with some clouds. To the surprise of many guests, who were prepared for cold weather during this voyage, it was a rather warm day as well.
Guests disembarked for the entire day, boarded four buses, and drove to our first activity — visiting Fortress Louisbourg. Everything in this fortress is presented as if the current year is 1744. It is a National Historic Site of Canada, and its two sieges — especially that of 1758 — were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what is now Canada as we know it. Following the 1758 capture its fortifications were destroyed by the British. The site as we visited it today features a partial reconstruction of the original 18th-century French fortress.
After spending about two hours at the Fortress of Louisbourg, guests boarded the buses again and drove along the scenic route to another famous place on Cape Breton — the village of Baddeck. This Canadian town (2011 population: 769) is in Victoria County, Nova Scotia. It is the county's shire town and is situated on the northern shore of Bras d'Or Lake. According to some historians, the name Baddeck is derived from the Mi'kmaq term "Abadak" which has been translated as "place with an island near" (in reference to Kidston Island, immediately offshore). Baddeck had a strong relationship with its most famous resident, Alexander Graham Bell. Bell spent some of his most productive years here, at his family’s estate of Beinn Bhreagh (Gaelic for “beautiful mountain”). In Baddeck guests had lunch with live Gaelic music and visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.
During our activities the ship repositioned from Louisbourg to Baddeck. When they returned to our ship, guests were surprised with a lively presentation of Mi’kmaq, Gàidhlig, and Acadian music of Cape Breton by some renowned Nova Scotian musicians. In early evening National Geographic Explorer set sail for our next destination – Iles de la Madeleine in the St. Lawrence Gulf.