White Head Island is 4 off the south east corner of Grand Manan, where we were staying for 6 nights. We had brought our bikes, though we’d not used them much in Grand Manan as it was more hilly than we’d expected. The White Head Island ferry was quite small, as is the island itself with a population of only about 180, so it was an obvious choice to cross with our bikes rather than take our van over. And it was flat.
We’d checked the maps and the satellite images before setting out and it looked like we could do a complete circuit of the island. The road stopped short of going all the way round, but there were tracks and paths which looked like they might connect. So once we had landed on White Head we set off from the ferry pier and took the road clockwise, following the shoreline to start with, and passing the occasional house.
This took us to Battle Beach, a shallow bay on the south of the island and we set our sights on getting to the Long Point lighthouse that marked the far end of the bay. Our road changed to a track, then a path and eventually we were struggling to push our bikes through foot-deep seaweed along the back of the beach.
We were determined to come as close as possible to completing the circuit of the island. The whole beach had a very thick layer of the seaweed, probably the result of the strong winds and waves of the tail end of hurricane Irene which had passed through a couple of nights before—but this allowed numerous shorebirds to enjoy harvesting the small creatures on the seaweed. From Long Point we could see the high cliffs of Southwest Head on Grand Manan to the west, and the lighthouse on Gannet Rock 8 away on the southern horizon.
The ferry did not run very frequently. The island is small, and probably many who live there have their own boats. Cars were queuing early for the ferry, and the places on board were limited. When we crossed in August 2011 the ferry boat was the Lady White Head, built in 1976 with a maximum capacity of 8 cars. By the end of that year she had been replaced by a bigger new boat, the MV William Frankland with a capacity of 12. The current schedule also seems more frequent than we remember from our trip.
When I used the ferry