The pepper sand of Southeast Cove Beach is warmed by the tides rising over the sand bars that extend 200 meters from shore into the ocean. The water temperature can reach up to 18 C. There are picnic tables and some seating available for visitors on the ocean side of the seawall. This is our largest and most popular beach.
Just past Southeast Cove is an interesting rocky beach called “Gravel Cove” where the rounded stones pop and gurgle as the waves wash in and out. On the way to Gravel Cove, check out the intriguing tubular and bubble-like formations in the flat, rocky outcrops that stretch into the ocean.
Additionally, a fossil beach is located very close to the wharf where the ferry docks. On this beach you may be lucky enough to find a treasure from long ago. There is also a quiet, secluded shingle beach on the other side of the island at Little Kaffel, which offers a lovely spot to have a picnic lunch, fly a kite or just spread a blanket and enjoy the sounds of the sea.
In shoreline tidal pools you’ll find crabs, eels, minnows, starfish and other small sea creatures. The beaches are also home to numerous shore and wading birds, such as herons, gulls and sandpipers. While walking the beaches you’ll also find many treasures including shells, drift wood and various colors of beach glass. Keep in mind that the most common colours of glass found on our shores are brown, green and white – if you’re lucky you may also find rare colours like blue, purple and red, which you should consider very special – as we do.
Hiking and Biking
Tancook offers an interesting and scenic eco-environment in which to hike and bike. Because our ferry is for foot passengers only, most visitors tour our island by foot or peddle. This will allow you to take in all the richness of this tranquil setting, as well as experience the slower pace which exists on Tancook.
We are home to only dirt roads, which offer smooth walking or wheeling. Around each winding corner you’ll find scenic surprises and panoramic places to rest. Our relatively untouched natural environment offers beautiful oceanscapes, big skies and green spaces to enjoy. Bike rentals are available through Tancook Bikes.
Seventy-seven species of resident, seasonal and migratory birds can be found on Big Tancook Island. Some of the rare and exciting birds occasionally seen here include the Indigo Bunting, the House Wren, Tanagers and the Northern Parula. Other, more commonly seen birds include Crossbills and Blue Jays, Chickadees and Nuthatches, Warblers and Kinglets, Pheasants, Mourning Doves, and Robins. There are also Hummingbirds and Swallows in summer.
The marshes and ponds are home to Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Black Ducks, Mallards, Blue-winged Teal, and the elusive, yet very vocal Sora.
Along the shoreline you will see Gulls, Terns, Herons, Plovers and Sandpipers. Cormorants, Greebe, Sea Ducks and Geese are also commonly seen swimming along the coastline. You may also catch a glimpse of a fishing Kingfisher, Gannet or Osprey.
If you hike along the edge of the woods you will likely see numerous Warblers, Sparrows and Finches. Boreal Chickadees, Brown Creepers, Woodpeckers and White-winged Crossbills can also be spotted in the coniferous trees. If you’re very lucky you might even see a Great Horned Owl.
Over the pastures and open fields you might see large Hawks and even Bald Eagles, who hunt rabbits, mice and other small creatures. Crows and Starlings are also quite abundant and can be seen pretty much everywhere. We also take part in the annual Christmas Bird Count.
Tancook Island has unlimited photo opportunities. The colours and textures of the natural environment are breathtaking and exquisite. Occasionally you will spot a man-made object, such as an old, rusty piece of farm equipment or a pile of rope and anchors, that adds an interesting and artistic contrast to the natural surroundings.
The island offers stunning seascapes, landscapes, sunrises and sunsets. If you’re spending a night on the island at the Bed and Breakfast or with a friend, the sunrise over Southeast Cove is something worth getting up early for. As well, the rich oranges, pinks, purples, blues and yellows of the setting sun in the western sky are spectacular along the shoreline of Northwest Cove and “Back Along”.
At dusk, and sometimes throughout the day, a small group of white-tailed deer or even a rabbit or two might even pose for you.
Tancook Island is steeped in history. Originally settled in the late 1700, our early residents were mostly German farmers working land grants. These farms produced a wide variety of produce and are famous for their Summer Savory and cabbage (which was mostly made into world-famous Tancook Island Sauerkraut). Around 1900, islanders livelihoods transitioned as they moved from the land to the sea, and fishing became the primary industry. Many visitors feel that they are stepping back in time as they tour our island.
We have rest areas located at various scenic and historic locations around the island. These include ” The Old Lobster Cannery”, “Mason’s Boat Shop” and “Ironbound Look Off” sites. Ask our tourism ambassador to share the historical significances of these places to our island. At each rest area there are trash receptacles to help keep our island as litter-free as possible. Relax and enjoy the view as you eat you lunch or simply rest for a while. If the weather is inclement, please feel free to rest indoors at Wishing Stones Gallery in Southeast Cove, or at our Tourism Center located near the ferry wharf.
The history of Tancook can be understood in a very real way by visiting our cemetery. Many families make journeys to the island to research their family genealogy, or find long-lost family members. With headstones dating back to 1855 there is certainly lots to learn about our unique past. Reading the stones and following the family lines provide family historians with exciting and valuable information.
In the meantime you can find family history information on www.tancook.ca under the General Information section – look for two sections of Tancook Island Cemetery listings, you can also find photos of island families under Family Albums.
There have been geocaches on Tancook Island since 2006. Since then, many geocachers have made the day trek to seek out the caches. Our first geocaching event was hosted in 2012 and we have had three in total to date (there is no event scheduled for 2015).
There are currently 35 caches on the island, many offering more unique challenges to test the most seasoned of geocachers. We have many kid-friendly caches and caches to get you hooked! You’ll learn about the history of Tancook while visiting some of our cache listings. Our caches will help you discover areas of our island that the regular visitor may not get experience.
To find our listings, go to geocaching.com, enter our postal code “B0J 3G0″ to search our listings. Cache listing pages are also available at the Tourism Centre.
Look for fossils at the beach below the gravel parking lot at the land-end of the Tancook Ferry wharf. Here you will find fossilized corals and shells, some of which contain glittering bits of “fools gold”, also known as pyrite.
** Photo credit for the images on the website goes to Hillary Dionne – Wishing Stones Studio and Gallery and Katherine Cross – Your Island Girl