School Days – Summer for an Island Kid

summer pics

I can still remember my first summer on Tancook in almost startling detail – it was literally the best summer of my whole life (so I’m pretty determined not to forget any of it). It was filled with long walks in the warm sun and gentle breeze along the smooth dirt roads, trips to the beach to collect sea glass and other treasures, many boating trips to the various surrounding islands to explore, yarns (that’s a great long chat if you’re not familiar) with so many great people in so many different places (Neil’s Basement, the back of a pickup truck, the beach, the wharf waiting for the ferry to get in….just about everywhere), beach fires under the sky peppered with a million bright stars, hours spent reading in the hammock, and endless other adventures.

With this in mind (and with the popularity of our last post together), I asked our island school teacher Ms. S to see if the kids would write about their plans for summer vacation, and here’s what I can only assume they’ve been up to so far this summer:


“This summer I will make crab traps. It is made with a tin can and a string. I will play in my tree fort.” – Jacob Levy (Grade 1)


“This summer I will go swimming and fishing . I will go looking for tadpoles. I can explore Dad’s barn. We climb the ladder. It is high. I will go in my boat. – Hans Cross (Grade 2)


“This summer I will go swimming just about every day and go crab trapping. I will have bon fires on the beach and go looking for frogs and tadpoles. When I go out boating I will be going out in my Dad’s zodiac or in someone’s fishing boat. – Zachary Moncion (Grade 5)


“This summer I will go looking for snakes, toads, and frogs. I will also go crab trapping. My Dad will take me to islands on his boat. When you crab trap you can use an apple juice can or you can make one out of lobster trap parts. I will go to the pig roast and use boats and eat pig. Every Saturday I will go over to Bonny and Neil’s to make homemade ice cream.” – Dylan Baker (Grade 4)


“This summer I will ride my bike up and down the road. I will go to the beach and get beach glass and go swimming. On the wharf I will go fishing and get fish and eat them. We have beach bonfires and roasts. Sometimes we make crab castles and I make crab mobiles out of crab shells. We make sand castles. At the sand flats we make cool deep holes and play. In the woods we eat snacks and I drink tea and make cool fairy houses. I have a really cool backwoods with lots of swings and a hammock and even a chicken coop with 2 chickens and 10 baby chicks.” – Rhiannon Dionne (Grade 2)


“This summer I will go to the beach and play with my friends. I might go to bonfires. Also I go crab trapping with a baitbox. There is a pig roast in August I go to. At the Pig Roast there is a water trampoline and an inner tube 10 or 20 feet out in the water. Some of my friends only come down in the Summer like Jackson and Isabelle. There is going to be an exciting baseball game. There are mudflats that come out when the tide is low. I go out and make deep holes or castles in the mudflats. Sometimes I skip stones and seashells. The seashells I use are scallop shells. The most skips in a row I ever got were 9 or 10 in a row.” – Zachary Dionne (Grade 4)


“This summer I will go hunting for snakes. Maybe go high diving off the government wharf with my wetsuit. I also could trap some crabs with bait holders or tin cans. I also like to go fishing off the government wharf. One of the things I like doing the most is playing catapulting with my friend Dylan. It’s where we take turns launching each other with a catapult we made.” – Ezra Mendel (Grade 3)


“This summer I will be skipping rocks, beach glass collecting, buoy bouncing, and Tancook exploring” – Kyle Moncion


“This summer I will go to the beach. I will swim and go in my dingy boat.” – Claudia Cross (Grade Primary)


“This summer I will go to the beach. My mom and I will go the beach and find rocks and shells. I will go to the pig roast. – Mariasha Pulliam-Mendel (Grade Primary)

I think these plans sound pretty great! The common thread seems to be a keen interest in crab trapping, which I had to have my boyfriend explain to me…city kids don’t crab trap. Apparently it’s a pretty exciting thing, and has something to do with baiting crabs into cans and trapping them (and then releasing them of course). I think I’m going to have to see if someone will show me how this is done – I think I may have missed something growing up.

Otherwise, I’m with Dylan and the rest of the crew most Saturday afternoon’s in Neil’s Basement making and eating delicious hand-cranked ice cream (what a treat!). I also love beach fires and collecting beach glass in the summer. I should remind Zachary (and anyone else who’s interested) that the big community baseball game in support of our island first response team is this Sunday. Also, the Pig Roast is just a few weeks away (August 20th – that is). The only thing I don’t think I’ll be doing this summer is catching snakes with Dylan and Ezra…not really my thing…sorry boys!

Anyways, a big thanks to the students of Big Tancook Island Elementary for sending along their plans, and my apologies that this has taken some time to go up…the summer has simply gotten away from me…

Newsflash (to the kids – and parents alike)! It’s August already…you’ll soon need to start getting ready to go back to school *gasp*.

Your Island Girl,


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Trouble on the High Seas: Search and Rescue Simulations off Tancook

Ever wonder what might happen if the ferry got into trouble crossing to the island? Take a read through the following account of some recent search and rescue simulations off Tancook – brought to you by guest blogger Marybeth Hay (Island Girl’s very own Mother!):

Plans have been in the works for several months now to hold a Search & Rescue Exercise on Mahone Bay between Chester, East River, Blandford and Tancook Island. The exercise brought together emergency services providers representing all levels of government and an amazing array of equipment.

From a Tancook view point, we were advised that the exercise would be taking place using a Cormorant helicopter from CFB 413 Squadron in Greenwood along with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Earl Grey and crews and representatives from CCG, GSAR, JRCC, EMO/ REMO, the RCMP, EHS and the Chester Fire Department. Mass Casualty scenarios were run both in the morning and the evening.

Things started happening on the Tancook wharf around 8:30 am when orange high speed inflatable’s started arriving and dropping of crews. Once the exercise was underway there were boats – large and small, helicopters, victims being hoisted into helicopters, smoke and a simulated overturned boat all visible out on the water. A small crowd of on lookers gathered on the Big Bolder on the beach near the wharf to follow the action.

As things progressed, a low flying Hercules lazily circled Tancook, making several low level passes over the island. Once the helicopter hoisting evacuation was completed out on the bay, the Hercules made a few higher level circuits over the island while dropping wind flags. On the following three circuits, two parachutists per pass made jumps from 4500 feet. Their smooth spirals ended with beautiful fluid landings on the island’s LifeFlight Landing Zone, located behind the Recreational Centre. The on lookers were energized by the excitement of our very own air show.

The search & rescue exercise provided us with entertainment on a beautiful summer’s day.

Mother always said that practice makes perfect and Tancookers went to bed on Tuesday evening knowing that they had witnessed the excellence of the services that would be called into play should a mishap occur. We are grateful for the expertise of our search and rescue providers.

Safe on Tancook,

As far as I can tell, it seems like we’re in very good hands…thanks to all who participated, and thank to you Momma Hay for telling us all about it!

Your island girl,

A few more pics:

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Ferry Facelift: The Ernst is having a little work done

Every Summer the Ernst goes away to have a facelift – we always miss it very much – the Scotian just isn’t the same … I even hear that it’s broken down today (not good when it’s the only way on and off the island). My mom recently stopped in to see the Ernst under retrofit in Meteghan, Nova Scotia. We’re excited for it to return in the next couple weeks. Here are some photos:

Your Island Girl,


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Our Little Sister Island – Part I

Tancooks from the sky

If you think Big Tancook is small, let’s talk about our sister island Little Tancook… (that’s the one in the middle) …

I should start off by saying that it’s actually a place I don’t know enought about (how embarrassing!). It’s kind of like a mystery…but one I don’t think would be very difficult to solve.

With this curiosity in mind, I’ve decided to write this blog in two parts – the first simply about what I’ve gleaned from my chance interactions with the people and the place, and what I know from my fellow islanders. The second will come only after I can say I’ve properly visited and chatted with some Little Tancookers .

When my family first moved to Big, I knew very little about Little. It was the smaller of our two islands (the one with the wooden wharf) – the place where you didn’t want to accidently get off. It was also the place I worried my stuff would end up without me if I managed to put my things in the wrong freight box.

It is home to 30(ish) residents – including many weekenders and summer people. Their main industry is fishing and they are a very resilient and self sufficient community (just like Big). Unlike us though, they do not have a school, restaurant, or other businesses. They also sadly no longer have a functioning rec center – but they have an open invitation to come on over to Big for events anytime!

Students from primary to grade 5 ride the ferry every morning from Little to Big and back in the afternoon. My friends have often told me stories of one such Little Tancooker who has made a big impression through the years. He is everyone’s favourite funny guy, and I don’t think their lives would have been the same without him.

He can liven up even the dullest situation, and is one of the funniest people I have ever met. After every time I see him I thank the heavens above I’m alive because I know I could very well have died … from laughter. He’s the only Little Tancooker I really know and so for now I’ll say he’s my favourite.

Through the years he rode the ferry to Tancook not only for school, but also many a Saturday afternoon for pond hockey, floor hockey at the rec center, and lots of other activities. Now a days, we see him less, as he lives in the city, but he still shows up for the odd dance, floor hockey afternoon, or community baseball game – and when he does we know it will be a riot.

We also see him periodically on the ferry when he head’s home to visit his parents  – these are always the most entertaining of ferry rides. He has a way of making any situation interesting– and ferry rides do get a bit monotonous after maybe the 100th time. He keeps everyone is stitches, and can keep even the ferry snoozers awake.

When I think of him, I remember one particularly memorable ferry ride. It was a chance encounter, and just he and I (out of our group of friends) were heading to the islands on a late ferry.  We were chatting and I had some freshly baked brownies (which I shared with him – but not without first giving him a hard time about how he was taking them away from my mother! – not really though).

There was a group of Little Tancookers sitting in another area of the ferry, I could tell they knew him and I thought they might also like some of my “Mother’s Brownies” –  so I told him I was going to go offer them some. He jokingly told me that I shouldn’t associate with them because they were trouble…I decided to anyways.

I went over and introduced myself, made a little small talk and offered them some. They noticed he was acting kind of funny (avoiding looking at them and such), and started giving him a hard time (all in good fun). Playing along,  I told them not to worry about it because he was just grumpy because his mother didn’t feed him. This comment with met with uproarious laughter…I wasn’t sure why so I asked. Unbeknownst to me, I was talking to his Mom and Dad (oops!).

Other chance Little Tancook encounters include zipping over in the speed boat to pick up friends from the ferry on Little if we missed them in Chester, so they wouldn’t have to ride all the way to Big – islanders from Big helping to unload a big order of traps from the ferry (so we could get home more quickly) – boat rides with family and friends to everyone’s favourite (and closest) tropical island destination (*wink*) to walk on some different, but strangely similar dirt roads – And little chit chat on the ferry about all things related to island life.

So with this in mind I plan to visit for longer and hopefully get a chance to chat with some Little Tancookers about life on the other island. I hear it’s going to be a busy summer over there, with a couple wedding planned, so there should be lots to talk about. Little Tancook here I come !!!

Your Island Girl,





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Big Day on Tancook!

It’s not too often you see road construction signs on Tancook – so this was quite a sight to see last month. It was actually a pretty big day on the island, not only were our road erosion issues being addressed, but we were also – finally – getting high speed internet.

Try to imagine not having high speed…it’s hard isn’t it? When our family moved to the island about three years ago all that was available was dial-up (and man was it ever slow). I remember one particular time (when I still had a shred of patience and interest in waiting for our “slow as cold molasses running uphill” internet), I decided to sign onto Facebook to see what was happening in the greater world…big mistake.

I connected to the internet (can you remember what that used to sound like – what a racket!) and went to the page….and waited…and waited for it to load. I waited so long I got hungry. In the time it took for that page to load, I had time to make a sandwich. It loaded (but with errors – probably because it thought someone from 1812 was trying to sign in) so I entered my username and password. I had time to eat said sandwich and do the dishes before it finally logged in. Nothing really showed up…I gave up…and that was one of the last times me and island dial up ever spent time together. I had better things to do.

In the end, I lived in the city during the week so I just forgot about all that stuff on the weekends. In some ways I think it was good, but certainly not for full time residents. Sometime after, the miracle of internet sticks arrived. Some people had them, some worked, some didn’t and in the end it wasn’t much of a solution.

About a year ago some islanders were offered the option of having individual internet receivers installed – they’ve worked well, but not everyone loves having 2 dishes on their house (one for internet and one for cable – we don’t have tv either except through dishes or good old fashioned bunny ears). It was also not available to everyone – it depended on where you’re house was located. We luckily live on top of a big hill, so we got it and you probably can’t even imagine how exciting it was the day that wireless worked for the first time, and we could all be on our laptops (on the internet none the less) at once. It was almost too much to handle (haha!).

So on a brightish day last month (unlike almost everyday so far this month) an Eastlink team arrived to install an internet tower for our community. This was a pretty big deal, and many stopped by to see the action. Apparently it was a very well orchestrated event, and the team worked with amazing ease and synchronization.

They drove their truck off the ferry, went to the site on top of the hill, piled out and quickly set up their operation. A 60 ft fibreglass pole (in pieces) came out of the truck, chairs and a table to create a workspace to figure out the technical stuff on laptops, as well as a small crane and equipment for digging. They immediately set to work (they were motivated – they had a ferry to catch if they were planning on getting home that night!). It was quick, and before we knew it they had erected our tower. Interestingly enough (somehow) it is freestanding, and doesn’t require any supports or braces. We’re still waiting for it to be hooked up with power…but at least we’re one step closer!

As for the roads, they certainly took a beating this winter, especially on the front side of the island where the ferry docks. The heavy winds and ocean swell had severely eaten away at the breastwork and rocks meant to protect the roadway. Erosion is something we deal with constantly, just the same as any coastal community, but with dirt roads that border the shoreline, things can become precarious quickly – it’s a constant battle to try and maintain what we have. It got so bad that deep holes appeared on the sides of the road and created a dicey driving situation. Our roads get very rutted during the wet months, and this was just something else to add to the difficulty of getting around.

Luckily, after an appeal from the community to have the issues addressed, the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works got to work. Two of our favourite guys, Weldon and Gary arrived to fix things up. We know them well from a past project a couple of years back to widen our roads . They brought with them an excavator and 22 dump truck loads of ironstone and gravel. The Scotian (the flat bottom relief ferry that is used when the Ernst goes for refit) was brought on for this special project.

The Scotian can take 4 dump trucks at a time (the Ernst only has room for 1 car, and can only take one when the tide is high). The Scotian, is famous (and not necessarily in a good way) among islanders, because when it was originally used as the relief ferry, the government put yellow school busses aboard to seat passengers. This was because there wasn’t enough room for all of us in the small cabin. They were very hot and it was a very strange way to make the trip to and from the island. Since then, they have invested in buildings that house us when this ferry is in use (thank goodness!)

So, it was an exciting time on the island! We’re thankful to have had our road saved (it was really that bad) and hopeful that soon everyone who wants it will have fast internet access. Wonder what will be next for our little island…there’s always something on the go.

Your Island Girl,


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One Fine Day

At Flat Reef

I thought to myself as I rode home from a Marketing Committee Meeting on my 4 wheeler (my only concern being how muddy my notebook might get strapped to the back) – now this…this is the life.

I arrived at the Rec Center that morning to the smiling faces of my fellow committee members, regardless of the fact that the island sat under a thick blanket of fog. By the time we got through a lengthy agenda of items (in preparation for Summer Tourism), the fog had burned off and a stunningly bright and sunny day sat waiting for us.

This is one of the best and worst things about this time of year. We can always expect lots of fog (usually through until the end of June), but this just makes us appreciate the sunny spots that much more. With this in mind, I knew I had to make the most of this day, and in hindsight I think I did just fine. I thought to myself that Spring must finally have arrived, but given the weather and temperatures since, I think I may have been a bit off (I have high hopes though).

My first order of business was lunch – a four hour meeting makes for a hungry stomach! I had woken up that morning with my boyfriend to a note from his Mom, Bonny (who had already been out for hours fishing alongside her husband Neil), that a culinary experiment lie waiting for us in the fridge – this is common – although I’m sometimes the only one (since the other 3 are men) to appreciate her creativity. One of my favourite quotes from Neil is “that was alright…but you never need to make it again” (haha!). Anyways, the experiment was lasagne with spaghetti squash as substitute for noodles – and boy was it ever good! It even earned the approval of the guys too.

Before we knew it 2 o’clock was rolling around, and the ferry was on its way in. Of course, in true Tancook style, we had to hurry back to the wharf to see who and what arrived on the afternoon run. Nothing too exciting to report on this trip.

Bonny and Neil did arrive back from lobstering at the same time though . They had at least one interesting thing in their traps that day – a huge lobster claw. Now upon first glance they may have thought that a big lobster had managed to escape from their trap, but upon closer inspection, they determined that it was varnished and missing a piece – a prank likely pulled by a fellow fisherman (at least it wasn’t a microwave!).

It being the warmest day yet, my boyfriend Ricky decided that it would be a great day for me to learn to drive his dirt bike. O man…what a plan – but I figured I might as well try. How hard could it be? So I pulled on my rubber boots (decorated by hand for the New Year’s dance with silver stars and swirls because I’m a bit of a dork like that) and headed out to what I was sure would be an event ending in my complete and udder humiliation. It was especially perfect since I had a few people looking on to make me even more nervous( even one secretly trying to capture me falling on video…Michael….).

The lesson wasn’t a complete failure, but I was too scared to go fast enough to shift into even second gear, and every time I got scared I would try to pull the handle break and in turn rev the engine and almost lose the bike from under myself. It must have been a sight to see! I’m not sure Ricky was too impressed with my performance, but at least I tried….right? I’ll give it a go again, and maybe somehow the next time I’ll be a pro (not likely). After that failed attempt…we decided to head out on a 4wheeling adventure.

We headed to Flat Reef, which is a rock expanse that runs right out into the sea, and overlooks Ironbound on the back side of the island. Flat Reef is an interesting spot partially because while most of the rocks on our beaches are round, this outcropping is very square and looks almost unreal. There are also lots of great tidal pools to explore here ( lots of barnacles and baby mussels too – the smallest I’ve ever seen), and the waves crash incessantly at the end of the point.

From flat reef we headed along the trail and beach to long reef. I always find it so interesting on the back side of the island, because it faces open ocean and always has all sorts of interesting treasures washed ashore. Whether it be great driftwood, pieces of smashed up boats, or even a pink toilet once (lol). At flat reef the rocks are much smaller, the biggest are about the size of a good sizes marble, and most of them are very round. The smallest are only about the size Nerd candies (great reference I know). As the boys fooled around on the 4 wheelers for a bit, I laid on the beach in the sun and shelter from the wind. It was magnificent, and I may have even had a wee nap while the boys played (shhhh…don’t tell!).

From there we headed back to “Neil’s Basement”, one of the hubs of social activity on the island on any given Saturday afternoon. This time of year when many people are fishing we see less of the usual suspects, but we still have a good time. It’s a great chance to catch up and have some fun with islanders both young and old(er) (I don’t want to get it trouble here.) A common activity is to make hand cranked ice cream on these afternoons. Our favourites are coffee and strawberry (made with Bonny’s homemade jam..mmmm…). We only made one batch this time, but boy was it ever good!

To end the day, I headed out on one last adventure. Some other friends of mine were launching their fishing boat and setting some traps during high tide that evening. We set out after they finally got the boat launched (it took a few tries – the rope snapped twice trying to get it going on the launch). I was excited to go because while I had been out lobstering before, I had never been on hand to set traps. It was interesting watching the process and coming to understand a little about how they decide where to put them. I even got to steer the boat for a while once we got the first string set in the cove, and I didn’t crash into anything or hit any rocks or shoals (lol).

After that we headed around Southern Head toward the wharf, and did it ever get rough for a bit. I felt a little green, but didn’t get sick (thanks goodness! I would never have heard the end of it!). We arrived back just after dark to tie up at the few sections of floating dock that are currently in the water. We had to jump in a punt to pull ourselves a shore. The same punt that we had nearly sunk towing behind us while setting. Some friends picked us up, and all in all it was a success.

I just love this time of year on the island, it may start with a lot of rain and fog, but now begins an explosion of colour, as the grass greens, the trees begin to sprout their leaves, and the wildflowers return. This is the time of year when we’re lucky enough to see the island come alive for the Summer. Can’t wait for all the great adventures to surely come!

Your island girl,


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The island through the eyes of an Honorary Tancooker

Morning Rush Hour - Glenna MacNeil

On weekends I’m lucky enough to be home (that’s most – haha!), I usually spend my mornings (until the ferry gets in – that’s when the action for the day starts) sitting with my mom chatting about the week that’s gone by.

I don’t know if she realizes it or not, but this is one of the things I look forward to most about being home. I cherish just knowing we’ll have that time together no matter what (within reason of course). Now depending on the season, you could find us nestled around our wood stove under warm blankets in rocking chairs, sitting at the kitchen table looking out to sea from our big picture window, or best of all, on the porch with our feet up while watching the bustle of the island waking up.In April, it’s still just a bit cold for Saturday mornings on the porch – but I have high hopes for this coming weekend.

Recently we were hanging around the kitchen table catching up, and my mom mentioned to me that she had met some very interesting visitors the week before. It’s easy as a tancooker to pick out visitors (or Honorary Tancookers as I like to call them) – we both agree – it’s something about the way they seem awed by it all. You can often tell that they’re just brimming with questions, and this couple apparently had just that look about them. Mom introduced herself, answered their many questions, and learned that we had actually been lucky enough to become part of a larger adventure.

Glenna and Curtis MacNeil are in the midst of visiting a whole host of beaches all over Nova Scotia (they have a list of must sees) and we had somehow made it onto their list and into their journey (we hope our beach didn’t disappoint – it’s not white sand, but it certainly has it’s own unique charm – a great place for collecting beach glass!). They’ve had the opportunity through these visits to really experience the communities of Nova Scotia. Glenna is also working on a “photo a day for a year” challenge. I thought this story was interesting, and really embodied the spirit and sense of adventure shared by many of our island visitors. We’re a bit of a mystery and we know it, but that’s part of the charm (and we kind of like it too). With this in mind, I asked them if they might tell us what they thought of our little island – Glenna has humbly obliged – here’s the great piece she’s written (including some stunning photos) about her visit:

A Day on Tancook Island – By Glenna MacNeil

We love the ocean, and we love beaches, so we decided about a year ago, to visit as many beaches around Nova Scotia as we could. I have also been working on a project of my own, “A Photo A Day For A Year”. With both objectives in mind, we have been making our way through our list and have discovered more incredible places than we ever imagined. Tancook Island was next on our list, so we recently made our way there.

I would have to say, we were smitten from the moment we stepped on the dock in Chester. The activity around us was all new, and captivated our attention immediately. We watched intently as a small crane onboard the ferry loaded crates and other items. Once inside the passenger area of the ferry, we already felt as though we left “reality” behind. A community bulletin board seemed to have garnered a lot of attention. Could it be that the bulletin board was the “hub” of community news? As testament to how immediately we were intrigued, we even bought a book of tickets for future passage…already confident that this would be a place we would enjoy and to which we would return!

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and the sun was warm enough on our mid-morning run to allow us to stand outside on the deck. The beauty and calm that surrounded us was heaven! Ahead of us, and as if on cue, a fishing boat sailed through the ray of the sun reflected on the water, creating a perfect silhouette.

Once on the Island, we were eager to start exploring. A dirt road seemed to run the length of the Island, and we started off in the direction that seemed to head to the centre of “town”. There was a small Post Office, a Restaurant (closed for the season), a small garage that housed an RCMP office, and a sign to direct us to other highlights. The hand painted sign read, “Tancook Recreation Center and School”…and….”Public Outhouses”, with an arrow to indicate their location!

Tancook - Glenna MacNeil

As we walked along, we were amazed by the sense of peace that surrounded us. It was as if we were alone in the world. A few cars did pass us. Their inhabitants seemed to be unfazed by two strangers walking through their territory, and offered a smile and a wave. We enjoyed our lunch at a perfectly placed picnic table, enjoying the sense of calm and solitude this place offered.

We easily passed the day…walking and enjoying the scenery and uniqueness, collecting beach glass, and gathering 100 questions about the people and their lives on this island.

Too soon it seemed, we had to make our way to the ferry for our departure. As luck would have it, local resident, MaryBeth, introduced herself to us as we waited to board the ferry. She was able to answer our 100 questions, and offered additional information as well. Our one hour return to Chester passed as if it were minutes!

When we returned home, a friend asked what was on this island…meaning what organized activity would entertain her if she went there. With broad grins, we replied. “Nothing!” This is perhaps the best offering Tancook has. It is untouched. People live simple lives, free of the harassment of the “fast” life many of us call our daily routine. Tancook is so close…yet is so far away from our reality. Tancook has definitely called to us! We have been raving about it since our visit….and even dream of a day when we might join its inhabitants.

If you are looking for an adventure like no other, you should make your way to Tancook Island. Is just has a sense of “being”…like no other place we have visited.

We have even come up with a slogan for Tancook Island, should its lucky residents ever need one: “Tancook Island…where a day lasts as long as a day should”.

A big thanks to you Glenna for sharing the story of your day on the island with us. Consider this your open invitation to come back anytime. And remember, on tancook, we consider the more the merrier.

Your Island Girl,


PS: Are you one of our Honorary Tancookers? If you have an interesting story to tell about your visit, please send it to (with pictures too please!)

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Your Island Girl is Back!

Island Girl on a recent trip to Cuba

Hi Everyone,

Sorry it’ been some time since I’ve written to you – it seems like life has just been getting away from me. Not to worry though, Tancook hasn’t disappeared (lol), and lots is still going on. Our fisherman have just re-set their traps and have begun hauling for Spring, we had a great Easter Breakfast, Egg Hunt and Dance this past weekend, and Spring seems to be upon us (finger crossed). I’ll try not to be a stranger anymore – I’ve got lots of great ideas for future blog articles, and I’m sure as the island is revitalized with the coming of spring and the return of our many seasonal residents, there will only be even more to write about.

Your Island Girl,


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School Days – Why I like living on Tancook Island

Our house is located in what you might call “Downtown Tancook” – we live on a hill overlooking the wharf, and are in between the post office, school and rec center. This means that we see lots of activity on any given day – people dropping in to the Post Office to see Marina and pick up the mail, islanders going to and from the ferry, lots of visitors exploring the island, the kids arriving and leaving school, and best of all recess and lunch hour. It’s so perfect to have a day marked with the sounds of kids playing.

In winter (when there’s snow) we also see the kids almost every day in our yard – they come to the house to slide. You see, we are lucky enough to have one of the biggest and best hills on the island for sliding (with 3 separate runs) – in fact I was amazed to discover a few weekends ago that the best run is directly outside our back door.

Personally, I doubt that the kids fully realize just how unique their childhoods are (I know this first hand because my grown island friends don’t seem to get it themselves). I don’t know that they could imagine how interesting this would be to the greater world, and so with this in mind, I have invited them to help me with our island blog. My guest bloggers have agreed to share some of their thoughts and ideas with us. With support from their teacher Ms S, we thought we’d start by asking them what they like about living on Tancook. It seems like peaceful and amusing may have been vocabulary words this week (you’ll see) …here’s what they came up with:

I like living on Tancook Island because it is amusing. I like to climb trees, go sleigh riding and make boats. I sail then in the ocean or in a mud puddle.

Hans Cross
Grade 2 – Age 7

I like to live on Tancook Island because it is a good place to grow up. It is quiet and not much traffic. The beaches are fantastic and the sunsets are very beautiful. In the summer I like to go snake hunting. I take my bucket and look for snakes to collect. I also enjoy going to the beach to collect beach glass, shells and rocks. I paint the rocks to make planets, animals and plants because I am an artist. The school is a wonderful and a good place for learning. All of the kids in the school are very charming. I think Tancook Island is very special.

Rhiannon Dionne
Grade 2 – Age 7

I like to live on Tancook Island because it is a fun place for kids to grow up. In the summer it is fun to climb trees, ride bikes, go to the beach and have bonfires. The beach is a wonderful place to relax. I like to collect shells and beach glass. In winter I like to go sledding with my friends at school. The hills are steep and I like to go swiftly. The school is an exciting place for doing math and learning something every day. I like doing gym, art and music. Tancook Island is a marvellous area to venture.

Zachary Dionne
Grade 4 – Age 10

I like to live on Tancook Island because it is fun. I like to work at school. It is beautiful. It is peaceful. I like to play at the beach.

Mariasha Mendel
Grade Primary – Age 5

I like to live on Tancook Island because it is peaceful when you go on walks. The island is a good place for kids to grow up on. The trails are really peaceful and calming. There is one trail that is by my house and it goes to some beaches. The water can be nasty or pleasant. Some of the boats on Tancook Island look different than some of the boats you will see on other places. I like them and if you come for a visit you may like them too. Tancook Island is incredible.

Zachary Moncion
Grade 5 – Age 10

I like to live on Tancook Island because my dad is a fisher. I like to go on the fishing boat. There is an awesome school.

Jacob Levy
Grade 1 – Age 6

I like to live on Tancook Island because the island is beautiful and quiet. Where I live you can see the beautiful sunsets over the ocean. There are peaceful woods to play in. You can look for deer, rabbits and snakes. There are lots of fun things I like to do in Summer. They are biking, climbing trees, hiking, looking for different snakes and paddling in a fish box in the ocean. The school is a small and wonderful place. It is fun to learn there. We have an art gallery, gift shop, library, museum and cafe to explore and enjoy. Tancook Island is a great place to have an adventure.

Dylan Baker
Grade 4 – Age 10

I like to live on Tancook Island because it is pretty and peaceful. We have to take a ferry to get to the island. In winter, sledding us fun because the hills are huge. In the Summer I go snake hunting at my snake hotel. My snake hotel is a bunch of plywood all piled up. The snakes love it!!! The school is a great place to learn new things. I like math, reading, art, music and gym. I think Tancook Island is a magnificent place to live!!!

Ezra Mendel
Grade 3 – Age 8

I like to live on Tancook Island because I get to ride the ferry every Tuesday to visit Chester Elementary School. My favorite thing to do on the island is take pictures. I would like to be a photographer someday.

Kyle Moncion
Age 7

Claudia Cross
Grade Primary – Age 5

We plan to keep this up, and have the students act as guest contributors from time to time, coming soon will also be blogs on the history of the school, Ms S, our very own island school teacher, and even the love story of Spanky and Murray (the school cats). In the meantime, visit the school’s own website if you’re interested in learning more about the Big Tancook Island Elementary School. I sure wish I could have gone to school on Tancook… so jealous!

Your Island Girl,


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Island Style Ice Cream Social

churning out some ice cream back in 1960...

Now that traps have been hauled up for the stormiest part of the lobster season, not to go back in the water till late April, many of our island characters have returned to the Tancook social scene. A funny thought I know, but you’d be surprised how much our little island quiets down when most are on the water fishing.

This past weekend, on Saturday afternoon (as usual), a bunch of us got together in one of our favorite (and one of the island’s most popular and well known) hang out spots – Neil’s basement. Now this wasn’t exactly a usual afternoon though, because we had a special activity planned – making ice cream the good old fashioned way.

Once the ferry got down from its afternoon run, everyone began to slowly arrive in to yarn and catch up. I’m talking Tancookers from age 7 to at least 67 – about 15 or so of us in all. The old ice cream contraption (for lack of a better term) was hauled out – Bonny mixed us up some delicious strawberry ice cream mix – we gathered snow to freeze it – and rolled up our sleeves to start turning the hand crank. We all took our turn one by one (some taking longer turns than us weaker basement dwellers), and before we knew it the ice cream was coming through the lid crack (this means it’s done). We all enjoyed some of our community creation – I’ve never tasted any ice cream so good! After we devoured that batch, Bonny mixed up some coffee mix, and we managed to get that churned, and finished up to the very last spoonful. Who knew weekend manual labour could be so good!

Your Island Girl,


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