Canada: The Old Sow, Deer Island
The Old Sow is advertised as the largest whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere. It’s located at the southern end of Deer Island. One web site describes harrowing stories of boats being sucked into giant vortices. Clearly this is a “must see”, and hopefully a “must experience” for any red-blooded adventurer. So I made it a point to visit Deer Island and say hello to the Old Sow.
[Pictures at end.]
Timing is everything. One must be there at the most active time, which is several hours before high tide. Not only is the time of day important, but also the phase of the moon and weather conditions influence the behavior of the Old Sow. So it’s necessary to check in with your local tourist information center for the best time.
Actually the Old Sow is so old and tired she makes only rare appearances. Most of the time one sees at best little “piglets”, as the smaller whirlpools are called. The rest of the time one sees extremely turbulent, churning, and dancing waters. The Quoddy Link Marine Whale Watcher catamaran will sometimes dare to take passengers into The Old Sow in search of wildlife excitement.
One can view the Old Sow from the southern tip of Deer Island, which can be reached by car via the ferry from St. George. The ferry is free, runs frequently, and makes for a pleasant ride. There is a park where one can camp or picnic at the south end of the Island; there are also B&B’s and Inns on the Island for those who wish to spend a day or two. It’s a pleasant getaway.
Some pictures follow: