Will this become our new normal?
On Nov. 29, Baddeck Lions Club member Dave Baker was encouraged by a neighbour to look out across the Baddeck Harbour to Kidston Island beach. The Lions Club has operated the lifeguarded beach in the summer for the past 65 years where most local kids learn how to swim. Baker knows the beach well. He has lived in Baddeck for 18 years and has been a Lion for 16 of those.
“Never saw it like that. Scary thought that it might be gone,” said Baker, referring to the beach.
Heavy precipitation and high winds caused a storm surge in the Bras d’or Lake on Nov. 29. The surge breached the lagoon, submerging the beach and the cement feet that anchor the beach cabanas.
Owner of Baddeck Marine Stuart Germani has lived in Baddeck all his life. He’s never seen anything like it. He took a boat across Kidston Island beach that day.
Germani is particularly concerned about the breached lagoon and fresh erosion on the southeast end of the island.
The lagoon and beach offer protection for the approximately 75 moorings in the harbour. Without this protection, they would be completely exposed to the elements.
“If that were to break open entirely, Baddeck Harbour as a shelter for yachts would be finished.”
Even close-up, Germani couldn’t say whether the sand beach and sand/gravel lagoon wall were intact. The water will have to recede much further to assess the storm surge damage.
Check out Bill Danielson’s column on page 16 for his thoughts on the "relentless regularity" of storm systems this November.
Top left: The Bras d’or Yacht Club on Nov. 29. Photo by Carolyn Barber / The Victoria Standard. Top right: Kidston Island beach submerged under water on Nov. 29. Photo by Stuart Germani. Bottom row: Hydrogeologist and Cape Breton weather watcher Fred Baechler circulated these images to fellow weather enthusiasts on Nov. 29. The series show changes over time to the lighthouse at the foot of the Seal Island Bridge. The following are Baechler’s notes on the changes. 1980’s: Full bar on both sides, grass covered, no openings and the leading point extended well past the lighthouse and out into the channel. 1990’s: the northeast facing bar (outer - facing the ocean) had started to breach locally in a few places, with the lighthouse still positioned in from the point, but not apparently as far as before. 2009: Most of the northeast facing bar was inundated, the southwest facing bar (inner - facing the Bras d’or Lake) was still intact with trees and the point appears to be retreating closer to the lighthouse. 2018, morning of Nov. 29: Northeast facing bar appears totally gone and partially swept in behind the lighthouse; the southwest facing bar is still present; not breached and retains trees; the point has now retreated back to the lighthouse.