I’ve never dealt with a travel company that provides more equipment for its customers than Eagle North—they really do look out for your safety and comfort. The kayaks are sturdy and the ride is nice. If you’re a beginner, it’s pretty smooth paddling; if you’re an expert, you can still marvel at the scenery.
Jen really wants you to get your money’s worth. Once you’re on the water she’ll alert you if a pileated woodpecker flies overhead, or show you the cliff side where the kingfishers are nesting. When you reach North Harbour Beach, she sets out an informal picnic of herbal tea, cookies, fruit, and jellybeans, and tells you the story of a 1975 shipwreck that happened just offshore, and how it is connected to her family. If the ocean’s too rough she leaves it up to you—she’ll take you out for ten or fifteen minutes if you wish. One kayaker obliged. I stayed behind to search for a piping plover, which Jen said were nesting along the beach. I did see one—and since I’m slowly getting into birding, this was a highlight for me.
If you’re looking for a spine-tingling ride down the rapids, this isn’t it. But if you want a relaxing paddle while enjoying one of the beautiful bends of the northern part of Cape Breton Island—and learning a bit about the area as you go—then this is for you. Driving the Cabot Trail is a definite must-do, as is hiking a few of the National Park’s trails (Jen will even recommend the best ones). But it was also great to get out on an isolated body of water and see the coastline of Nova Scotia from a perspective you don't get on the postcards. Looking back, the kayak trip was almost as memorable as hiking the Skyline Trail—high praise indeed.