Isle Haute, Nova Scotia, Canada


Compiled by Paul Illsley




NOTE: permission from the Canadian Coast Guard is required to visit Isle Haute





2009 aerial view of the south side of Isle Haute







Map showing the location of Isle Haute in the Bay of Fundy







Map of Isle Haute (high tide)






Quick facts about Isle Haute


  • Mi’kmaq name: Maskusetkik (place of wild potatoes)
  • First European reference: Samuel de Champlain (1604)
  • Isle Haute is part of Cumberland County
  • Permission from the Canadian Coast Guard is required to visit Isle Haute
  • Length of island (high tide): 2.5 km (1.5 miles)
  • Width of island (high tide): 0.5 km (0.3 miles)
  • Height of island: 105 metres (346 feet)
  • Area (high tide): 89.2 hectare (0.892 sq km, 0.344 sq mi)
  • Length of coastline (high tide): 6.623 km (4.115 miles)
  • Depth of lagoon: about 4 metres (13 feet)
  • Distance from Harbourville: 18 km (11.2 miles)
  • Distance from Advocate Harbour: 19 km (11.8 miles)
  • Closest point of land: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park (9.5 km, 6 miles)
  • Type of bedrock: Basalt with thin topsoil
  • Some small beds of native copper have been found in the basalt columns on the north side of the island
  • Lighthouse built: 1878 (burned down in 1956)
  • Life Magazine ran a story about the search for buried pirate treasure on Isle Haute (July 21, 1952)
  • In the early 1900's a short lived silver fox farm was established on the island
  • Frogs in the Frog Pond aren’t native to the island; they were introduced by a lighthouse keeper’s son
  • Deer mice are the only resident terrestrial mammal known to live on the island
  • GPS coordinates for Lighthouse field (Lat, Long): 45.251058°, -65.005497°



    Lighthouse Keepers:

      Capt. Nelson Card (1878 - 1889)
      Judson Reid (1889 - 1904)
      Percy Morris (1904 - 1941)
      Donald Morris (1941 - 1946)
      John Fullerton (1946 - 1956)



    Documented Shipwrecks near Isle Haute (Marine Heritage Database):

      Unknown Name, September 01, 1786 (unknown type)
      Riverside, January 26, 1888 (wooden schooner)
      Lima, October 20, 1890 (wooden schooner)
      A. Elliott, November 13, 1890 (wooden schooner)
      T. W. Mckay, March 23, 1898 (wooden schooner)
      Gleaner, March 29, 1899 (wooden schooner)
      Hattie Mckay, July 26, 1900 (wooden schooner)







    2007 aerial view of Isle Haute







    1951 aerial view of Isle Haute







    Aerial view of the north side of Isle Haute (looking south). Date unknown.







    1933 image of the Isle Haute Lighthouse (burned down in 1956)
    (image source: Kings County Museum)






    Download Dan Conlin's 1997 report on Isle Haute (5.7 MB .pdf)





    Images of Isle Haute recorded by Paul Illsley (2009)







    Evening view of Isle Haute from Harbourville







    View of Isle Haute from the Eastern Bar at low tide







    View of the Eastern Bar at low tide







    View of the Lagoon from the Eastern Bar







    View of the Ravine and Lagoon on a foggy morning







    View of the Lagoon from the Eastern Bar







    Cliff on the south end of the island near the Lagoon and Eastern Bar







    Cliff on the south end of the island near the Lagoon







    Camp site on the south side of the Lagoon







    Lagoon with a watter filled pit in the foreground







    Camp site on the south side of the Lagoon







    Abandoned winch gear once used to pull boats up on the beach







    View of the Lagoon from the trail up to the Lighthouse







    Trail up to the Lighthouse







    Long Grassy Field on route to the Lighthouse







    Approaching the site of the former Lighthouse (now replaced by a light tower)







    Stone foundation of the old lighthouse (burned in 1956) filled with old abandoned equipment







    Vertical view of the old foundation from the light tower







    View from the tower looking south toward Kings County







    View from the tower looking east toward Cape Chignecto







    Light tower with the helipad (used to maintain the light) in the foreground







    View of the Lagoon from the Lighthouse trail trailhead







    View of the Lagoon and beach at high tide







    Basalt cliff on the north shore (showing columnar jointing)







    Vertical cliff on the south side of the island (looking east)







    Vertical cliff on the south side of the island (looking west)







    View of the Eastern Bar from the Lagoon burm at low tide







    Cliff on the south end of the island near the Lagoon







    View of Isle Haute from the Eastern Bar







    Cliff on the south end of the island from the Eastern Bar







    Eastern Bar with driftwood in the foreground







    Fresh water spring located west of the Lagoon (mentioned by Samuel de Champlain in 1604)







    Remnants of old infrastructure on route to the west end of the island







    Steep cliff along the route to the west end of the island







    West end of the island showing the Knife Edge and Steep Grassy Slope (north side)







    Crossing the Knife Edge to reach the Steep Grassy Slope (not recommended)







    View of the Steep Grassy Slope from atop the west cliff







    Making our way down to the Steep Grassy Slope from the west cliff







    Pausing at the top of the Steep Grassy Slope to look for seals and birds







    Working our way down the Steep Grassy Slope







    Walking through the deep grass at the bottom of the Steep Grassy Slope







    View of the Steep Grassy Slope and south side of the island







    Heading back up the Steep Grassy Slope toward the west cliff







    Distant view of the west end of Isle Haute showing the Steep Grassy Slope and west cliff







    View of the east end of the island showing the Steep Grassy Slope and Knife Edge (south side)







    Distant view of the south side of Isle Haute







    View of Isle Haute from the Eastern Bar



    Images © Paul Illsley (2009)