Relevant top map for the area is 21-I7 "Buctouche".
This sea kayaking route, one of the featured trips in my New Brunswick sea kayaking guidebook that I am working on, is situated just a short drive form the city of Moncton and is close enough to be done as an evening outing after work in the middle of the week or, done as a pleasant day trip on the weekend. On numerous occasions over the years I have camped out on Cocagne Island, near the northern tip, making it a very enjoyable overnight trip.
The location is along the Northumberland Strait, a body of water separating the provinces of Nova Scotia & New Brunswick from the island province of Prince Edward Island, is to home of the warmest coastal waters north of the Carolina's in the USA. The Strait is generally ice-free from sometime in April until around Christmas time but of course this varies somewhat year to year.
The put-in location is along a picturesque sandy beach that is frequented by the locals as well as by people coming out from nearby Moncton. It is a completely public beachÂ…meaning there are no entrance fees such as you may find at some of the areas popular touristy beaches such as Shediac's Parlee Beach. On most days, the sea conditions here are relatively calm, sometimes completely flat. There certainly are exceptions however. When the winds are right, this area can have some pretty nice wave action and can be a blast to get out and play in some whitewater kayaks in the surf. On most days however, it is a pretty calm to moderate location in which to paddle.
From the put-in, head off to the left in somewhat of a north by northwest direction following the shoreline of the cape. After about 3 Â½ kilometers or so you will reach the northern end of the cape. From here you are looking at an open water crossing of nearly 2 kilometers as you cross the opening of Cocagne Harbour and the outlet of the Cocagne River. There can be some current here in the channel which can cause some steepening of any waves, particularly if combined with an incoming tide. This generally not a big deal howeverÂ…uses your own judgment accordingly.
Once the crossing is behind you, you can follow along the sandy shores of Cocagne Island as you make your way towards a beautiful little beach near the northern tip of the island. Some low sandstone cliffs will mark the entrance to the small sandy beach that has long been my favorite spot on this small island. In the past, I've camped out on the sandy beach as well as up on top of the island on top of the small cliff-like formations. There are some rough hiking trails nearby crisscrossing the island as well Just past this sandy beach area, as you head onto the northern tip, there is a nice rocky section of coastline that I've always found to be very worthwhile.
As you round the tip of the island, if you choose to proceed around the back aside of Cocagne Island, you will encounter very shallow water, especially at low tides. If you choose to circumnavigate the island on your way back to the put-in/ take-out location, this will add roughly another 4 kilometers to the round trip distance, bringing the total up to about 19 kilometers. Myself however, I have always preferred paddling along the outside, more exposed side of the island. If conditions deteriorate while on the island however, this is a good option for the return paddle. In fact, from the sandy beach are where I have camped in the past, there is a short trail crossing over to the other side of the island which would be a pretty easy portage if the need should ever arise.
Cocagne Island itself is roughly 4 kilometers long at its maximum and is about 1.3 kilometers across at its widest spot. At its narrowest, is about 150 meters or less near the sandy beach site that is the focus of the route.
Since the beginning of the sea kayaking club, the Atlantic Kayak Association, which I and a few friends formed back in 1999, this has been one of the mainstay trips in the clubs regular schedule of outings. It is an enjoyable place for a paddle with good scenery and I highly recommend checking it out.
CheersÂ…Joe O' at www.geocities.com/outrageous_outdoors
From the nearest city, Moncton New Brunswick, take Provincial Highway # 15 roughly 20 kilometers. Take the 31B exit onto Highway 11 Shediac/ Mirimichi/ Kouchibouguac and go about half a kilometer. Take a right at HWY 132 and go another half kilometer. Turn right onto HWY 11 North and go 4.1 kilometers. Take exit 7 onto Route 530 and go about 300 meters. Turn right onto Viaduc Rd and go another 400 or so meters and turn left onto HWY 134 and go 400 meters. Bear right towards HWY 530 and go about 12 kilometers and park along the shoulder of the road. From here you can carry your kayaks down over the small bank and onto the sandy beach.
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