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Sable Island

For the island just off the tip of the southwestern Nova Scotia mainland, see Cape Sable Island. For the non-existent island named Île de Sable, see Sandy Island, New Caledonia.

Sable Island (French: île de Sable, literally "island of sand") is a small Canadian island situated 300 km (190 mi) southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and about 175 km (109 mi) southeast of the closest point of mainland Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island is staffed year round by four federal government staff, rising during summer months when research projects and tourism increase. Notable for its role in early Canadian history and the Sable Island horse, the island is protected and managed by Parks Canada, which must grant permission prior to any visit. Sable Island is part of District 7 of the Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia. However, the Constitution of Canada specifically names the island as being under the authority of the federal government. The island is also a protected National Park Reserve and an Important Bird Area.

Sable Island
île de Sable
Island from Space Shuttle, April 1994. North is in the lower left corner.
Coordinates:43°56′59″N59°54′57″W /43.94972°N 59.91583°W /43.94972; -59.91583Coordinates: 43°56′59″N59°54′57″W /43.94972°N 59.91583°W /43.94972; -59.91583
CountryCanada
ProvinceNova Scotia
MunicipalityHalifax Regional Municipality
District13
Area
• Land31 km2 (12 sq mi)
Population
• Total0 (6−25 personnel from Meteorological Service of Canada are stationed on Sable Island on rotation at Sable Island Station only)
• Density0/km2 (0/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−04:00 (AST)
• Summer (DST)UTC−03:00 (ADT)
GNBC CodeCBRQR
Nautical Chart, Atlantic Sea Pilot, 1884

Contents

Early history

The expedition of Portuguese explorer João Álvares Fagundes explored this region in 1520–1521 and they were among the first Europeans to encounter the island. It is likely that he named the island "Fagunda" after himself. An island called Fagunda appears on later Portuguese maps placed to the southeast of Cape Breton, fairly near its present location; however, the identification of Sable Island with Fagunda is not certain. On the other hand, 16th-century Portuguese sources describe a fishing colony founded by the navigator in Cape Breton Island, further north. It is also possible that Fagundes sighted the island while heading southwest, reaching the Bay of Fundy, as the 1558 map of Diogo Homem and later Samuel de Champlain suggested, but this is unclear. The island was inhabited sporadically by sealers, shipwreck survivors, and salvagers known as "wreckers."

Troilus de La Roche de Mesgouez attempted to colonize the new world with convicts in 1598. When the convicts mutinied, they were left on the tree-less and stone-less Sable Island. Most of the settlers died, but a few managed to survive in mud dwellings for 5 years before being returned to France in 1603.

Shipwrecks

Sable Island is famous for its large number of shipwrecks. An estimated 350 vessels are believed to have fallen victim to the island's sand bars. Thick fogs, treacherous currents, and the island's location in the middle of a major transatlantic shipping route and rich fishing grounds account for the large number of wrecks. The first recorded wreck was the English ship Delight(1583) in 1583, part of Humphrey Gilbert's Newfoundland expedition. There were at least three incidents of ship-wrecks in the 1700s. In 1736, a well-known Presbyterian preacher, the Irish-born Rev. Robert Dunlap (1715–1776), wrecked on the island on his way to America. Decades later, there were two major shipwrecks: In November 1760, Major Robert Elliot (1715–after 1765) of the 43rd regiment was shipwrecked on Sable Island; he was rescued in January 1761. En route to Prince Edward Island under the command of Major Timothy Hierlihy, Lieutenant Anthony Kennedy and 25 men wrecked on the island in November 1778. The crew was stranded on the island for the winter. Two died, and the remainder were rescued and transported to Halifax the following April. It is likely that the construction of lighthouses on each end of the island in 1873 contributed to the decrease in shipwrecks.

The last major shipwreck was the steamship Manhasset in 1947. Her crew were all saved, the last significant rescue of the Sable lifesaving station. After the 1991 Perfect Storm, the commercial fishing vessel Andrea Gail's emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was discovered on the shore of Sable Island on November 6, 1991, nine days after the last transmission from the crew. Other items found were fuel drums, a fuel tank, an empty life raft, and some other flotsam. All crew members perished and were never found. No further wrecks occurred until 1999, when the three crew members of the yacht Merrimac survived after their sloop ran aground due to a navigational error. Few of the wrecks surrounding the island are visible, as they are usually crushed and buried by the sand.

The Nova Scotia Rescue Station

A series of life-saving stations were established on Sable Island by the governor of Nova Scotia, John Wentworth, in 1801. The rescue station began the continuous human presence on the island which continues today. Wentworth appointed James Morris, a Nova Scotian veteran of the British Royal Navy as the first superintendent of the island. Morris settled on the island in October 1801 with his family. By the time Morris died on the island in 1809, he had built up the humanitarian settlement to include a central station, two rescue boat stations, several lookout posts and survivor shelters. The station's rescue equipment was upgraded in 1854 with the latest generation of self-bailing lifeboats and life cars through the fundraising efforts of social reformer Dorothea Dix who had visited the island in the previous year.

After Confederation and creation of a weather station

The Canadian government took over administration of the station with Confederation in 1867 and added two lighthouses in 1872, Sable Island East End Light (cylindrical skeletal tower built 1980s, replacing earlier iterations from 1873, 1888, 1917 and 1951) the eastern tip and Sable Island West End Light (pyramidal skeletal tower built 1979 replacing earlier towers from 1873, 1903 and 1935) on the western end. Until the advent of modern ship navigation, Sable Island was home to the families of the life-saving crews and the lighthouse keepers. In the early 20th century, the Marconi Company established a wireless station on the island and the Canadian government similarly established a weather station. Several generations of island staff were born and raised families of their own on the island, although a decline in shipwrecks gradually reduced the size of the lifesaving community. Only two people have been born on Sable Island since 1920.

Improvements in navigation led to a dramatic drop in shipwrecks by the mid 20th century. As such, the rescue station on Sable was reduced and eventually closed in 1958. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) first automated in the 1960s and eventually decommissioned the West light station in 2004 leaving only the East lighthouse active. However, during this period, the island's role in science grew, first in weather research. The Canadian government expanded the collection of weather data originally started by the rescue station into a full meteorological station operated by Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The station conducted routine atmospheric and meteorological studies from a permanently occupied station on Sable Island until Aug 20, 2019. In addition to weather studies, research on the island expanded to a range of ecological and wildlife studies due to its unique position in the Atlantic.

Sable Island is specifically mentioned in the British North America Act 1867, Part 4, Section 91 as being the special responsibility of the federal government ("...the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to [...] 9. Beacons, Buoys, Lighthouses, and Sable Island."). For this reason it is considered a separate amateur radio "entity" (equivalent to a country for award credit), and with visiting operations using the special callsign prefix CY0. Because it is a separate radio entity, Sable Island is a popular Dxpedition destination.

Out of concern for preserving the island's frail ecology, all visitors to the island, including recreational boaters, require specific permission from Parks Canada. Sable Island's heliport contains emergency aviation fuel for search and rescue helicopters, which use the island to stage further offshore into the Atlantic. When the Sable Offshore Energy Project was active, the island was designated as an emergency evacuation point for crews aboard nearby drilling rigs. In 2017, Exxon Mobil began the plugging and abandonment of the production wells in the Thebaud field (the Sable Offshore Energy Project wells closest to Sable Island); all facilities were removed by Nov 2020.

National Park

On October 17, 2011, the Nova Scotia government entered into an agreement with the federal government to eventually protect the Island as a national park. The news followed an announcement made by the federal government in May 2010, increasing the level of protection the island receives by transferring control from the Canadian Coast Guard to Parks Canada, which manages the island under the National Parks Act.

Sable Island became a National Park Reserve on June 20, 2013 with approval of Mi'kmaq stakeholders. Full national park status has yet to be achieved, pending settlement of native land claims. The park is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna including a breed of the unique Sable Island horse. The park is also a breeding ground for marine life.

In July 2016, a hike across Sable Island was added to Google Streetview. Google worked with Parks Canada to add the interactive views of Sable and five other Canadian National Parks. The imagery was collected in September 2015 by a Parks Canada employee who carried a backpack version of the Street View car camera around an area on the centre of the island, part of Google's Trekker program which explores off-road scenic locations. The route follows a hiking route that Parks Canada staff uses to escort adventure tourists who visit the island.

Sable Island from the northwest

Sable Island is a narrow, crescent-shaped sandbar with a surface area estimated around 34 km2 (13 sq mi). Despite being approximately 43.15 km (26.81 mi) long, it is only 1.21 km (0.75 mi) across at its widest point. The long crescent-shaped island rises gently from the shallows of the continental shelf approximately 285 km (177 mi) east of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its location, in tandem with the area's frequent fog and sudden strong storms e.g. hurricanes and nor'easters, have resulted in over 350 recorded shipwrecks. It is often referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, as it sits astride the great circle route from North America's east coast to Europe. The nearest landfall is 160 kilometres (99 mi) to the northwest near Canso, Nova Scotia.

Sable Island is believed to have formed from a terminal moraine deposited on the continental shelf near the end of the last Ice Age. It is slowly moving as waves erode the western shore and new sand is added on the eastern shore, and continually changing shape through the effects of strong winds and violent ocean storms.

The island has several freshwater ponds on the south side between the station and west light; however, in recent years their protecting dune-line has been eroded to such an extent that they are changing from one year to the next. In prior years, a brackish lake named Lake Wallace existed in the centre of the south beach. At its largest, it extended for many miles; indeed, during World War II, amphibious aircraft landed on it. Over the years, the lake shrank with an infilling of sand, until in late 2011, it filled in entirely and disappeared. Since the south beach is subject to flooding during fall storms, photos often show water in the area around the former location of Lake Wallace; however, this flooded area is relatively shallow (only a few feet at most) and is not a remnant of the lake. The original lake was of a significant enough depth that even during times when the area was flooded, the lake could be seen in aerial photographs as a darker (deeper) patch in the middle of the flooded area.

The island is a part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, the federal electoral district of Halifax, and the provincial electoral district of Halifax Citadel, although the urban area of Halifax proper is some 300 km (190 mi) away on the Nova Scotian mainland.

Sable Island has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), but its climate is strongly influenced by the sea. As such, winter temperatures average near freezing while during the summer months, daily maximum temperatures average around 20 °C (68.0 °F). The average annual temperature range in Sable Island is only 18.6 °C (33.5 °F) owing to the influence from the sea compared to 24.3 °C (43.7 °F) at Halifax and 38.9 °C (70.0 °F) in Winnipeg. Generally, February is the coldest month while August is the warmest month.

Sable Island averages 1,372 millimetres (54.0 in) of precipitation a year, which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, though October through January are the wettest months due to frequent and intense fall and winter storms. Being located in the path of major frontal storms and tropical cyclones year-round, most of the precipitation comes from these storms. Thunderstorms are rare, with only 11 days with thunderstorms per year. There are frequent heavy fogs in the area due to the contrasting effects of the cold Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream: on average there are 127 days out of the year that have at least 1 hour of fog. This makes Sable Island the foggiest place in the Maritimes. The foggiest season is during the summer months where July averages 22 fog days.

During the winter, Sable Island has the warmest temperatures in Canada apart from the Pacific coast, and can have the warmest temperatures in the country on some occasions due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Summers are among the coolest in southern Canada though. It is also the most hurricane-prone part of Canada, also due to the Gulf Stream, and is the only place where Category 3 hurricane-force winds are likely in all of Canada.[citation needed] The highest temperature recorded was 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) on August 27, 1951 while the lowest temperature recorded was −19.4 °C (−2.9 °F) on January 31, 1920.

Climate data for Sable Island, 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1897−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.5
(58.1)
12.8
(55.0)
13.7
(56.7)
13.9
(57.0)
17.8
(64.0)
21.7
(71.1)
26.7
(80.1)
27.8
(82.0)
27.0
(80.6)
22.8
(73.0)
18.9
(66.0)
15.6
(60.1)
27.8
(82.0)
Average high °C (°F) 3.0
(37.4)
1.8
(35.2)
3.3
(37.9)
6.5
(43.7)
10.2
(50.4)
14.2
(57.6)
18.5
(65.3)
20.7
(69.3)
18.6
(65.5)
14.3
(57.7)
9.9
(49.8)
5.5
(41.9)
10.6
(51.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.1
(31.8)
−1.2
(29.8)
0.7
(33.3)
4.0
(39.2)
7.5
(45.5)
11.4
(52.5)
15.8
(60.4)
17.9
(64.2)
15.8
(60.4)
11.7
(53.1)
7.3
(45.1)
2.5
(36.5)
7.8
(46.0)
Average low °C (°F) −3.1
(26.4)
−4.2
(24.4)
−2.0
(28.4)
1.5
(34.7)
4.8
(40.6)
8.6
(47.5)
13.0
(55.4)
15.1
(59.2)
13.0
(55.4)
9.1
(48.4)
4.6
(40.3)
−0.5
(31.1)
5.0
(41.0)
Record low °C (°F) −19.4
(−2.9)
−18.3
(−0.9)
−13.6
(7.5)
−8.9
(16.0)
−8.3
(17.1)
0.6
(33.1)
3.0
(37.4)
4.4
(39.9)
0.6
(33.1)
−1.2
(29.8)
−7.8
(18.0)
−16.7
(1.9)
−19.4
(−2.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 144.7
(5.70)
112.5
(4.43)
130.4
(5.13)
114.8
(4.52)
101.3
(3.99)
115.9
(4.56)
100.8
(3.97)
121.6
(4.79)
129.5
(5.10)
144.9
(5.70)
150.7
(5.93)
144.5
(5.69)
1,511.6
(59.51)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 110.4
(4.35)
92.4
(3.64)
107.7
(4.24)
105.9
(4.17)
101.2
(3.98)
115.9
(4.56)
100.8
(3.97)
121.6
(4.79)
129.5
(5.10)
144.8
(5.70)
145.1
(5.71)
123.7
(4.87)
1,399
(55.08)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 33.3
(13.1)
19.8
(7.8)
22.1
(8.7)
9.1
(3.6)
0.1
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
trace 5.2
(2.0)
18.6
(7.3)
108.3
(42.6)
Average precipitation days(≥ 0.2 mm) 20.4 16.8 16.7 16.0 14.5 13.9 13.5 12.0 12.4 16.2 19.3 19.8 191.5
Average rainy days(≥ 0.2 mm) 12.1 9.9 12.5 15.1 15.3 13.8 13.3 12.4 13.0 16.2 18.7 15.6 167.8
Average snowy days(≥ 0.2 cm) 11.6 10.0 7.2 2.6 0.19 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.06 2.8 8.6 43.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 61.0 78.6 119.0 140.0 169.4 186.6 192.3 194.3 174.1 138.3 80.2 61.8 1,595.5
Percent possible sunshine 21.2 26.6 32.2 34.8 37.1 40.4 41.1 44.8 46.3 40.4 27.6 22.2 34.6
Source: Environment Canada

According to PlantMaps, Sable Island lies in Hardiness Zone 8a (10 °F–15 °F) for plant hardiness.

Climate change

Being a large low-lying sandbar, Sable Island is vulnerable to sea level rise. This is further exacerbated by an ongoing increase in storm frequency and intensity caused by climate change, further eroding the island. These factors point toward Sable Island disappearing by the end of the century.

Sable Island derived its name from the French word for "sand." It lacks natural trees, being covered instead with marram grass and other low-growing vegetation. In 1901, the federal government planted over 80,000 trees in an attempt to stabilize the soil; all died. Subsequent plantings resulted in the survival of a single Scots pine. Although planted in the 1960s, it is only a few feet tall. It is decorated yearly as a Christmas tree in December as part of a tradition among the station staff.

The island is home to over 550 free-roaming horses according to a 2016 report, protected by law from human interference. During a 2017–2018 study, the estimated population was 500 horses, up from the roughly 300 recorded in the 1970s. Because of the harsh spring of 2017, the mortality rate was about 10% but the normal rate is about 1% annually, primarily due to starvation and hypothermia.

This feral horse population is likely descended from horses confiscated from Acadians during the Great Expulsion and left on the island by Thomas Hancock, Boston merchant and uncle of John Hancock. In the early 1800s, many of the horses were used by men patrolling the island, searching for ships in distress, and the animals also moved lifeboats and equipment to sites of shipwrecks.

In 1879, 500 horses and cattle were estimated to live on the island, and the island vegetation was described as covered with grass and wild peas. In the past, excess horses were rounded up, shipped off the island, and sold, many used in coal mines on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In 1960, the Canadian Government, under the Canada Shipping Act, gave the horse population full protection from human interference. This was partly motivated by a plan in the 1950s, eventually aborted due to public pressure, to remove the horses from the island, after some biologists reported that they were damaging the ecology of the land. Nonetheless, some continued to view the horses as an invasive species which is not suitable in a protected region where ecological integrity should be preserved according to the National Parks Act.

Sable Island horse and foal

Harbour and grey seals breed on the island's shores. Seal counts from the 1960s for the grey seal population estimated 200–300 pups born at that time on the island, but surveys from as recent as 2003–2004 estimated the number of pups born in that season at 50,000. The seals are occasionally preyed upon by the various shark species that inhabit the waters nearby. Unusual 'corkscrew' bite wounds on dead seals suggest that the Greenland shark is probably responsible for most attacks here.

Several large bird colonies are resident, including the Arctic tern and Ipswich sparrow, a subspecies of the Savannah sparrow which breeds only on the island. Many other species are resident, migratory, or transient, blown out to sea in storms and returned to land out of their natural range.

It was formerly believed the freshwater sponge Heteromeyenia macouni was found only in ponds on the island. However, it is now considered to be the same species as Racekiela ryderi, found elsewhere.

Rabbits, cattle, and goats were also released on the island, with little success, at one point.

At one point, there was a walrus population on the island, until hunters drove the population to extinction.

Sable Island station
Sable Island
Summary
Airport typePrivate
OwnerParks Canada
OperatorParks Canada
LocationSable Island, Nova Scotia
Time zoneAST (UTC−04:00)
• Summer (DST)ADT (UTC−03:00)
Elevation AMSL4 ft / 1 m
Coordinates43°55′59.8″N060°00′25.2″W /43.933278°N 60.007000°W /43.933278; -60.007000
Map
CSB2
Location in Canada
Helipads
Number Length Surface
ft m
1 1,500 457 Sand

The Sable Island Station, managed and staffed by Parks Canada, is the only permanently staffed facility on the island. Climatological record-keeping on Sable Island began in 1871 with the establishment of the Meteorological Service of Canada, and ran continuously from 1891 until Aug 20, 2019.

Sable Island has been the subject of extensive scientific research over the years. The Meteorological Service of Canada operated a wide range of manual and automated instruments, including the Automated Weather Observing System, an aerology program measuring conditions in the upper atmosphere using a radiosonde carried aloft by a hydrogen-filled weather balloon to altitudes beyond 40 km (25 mi), and a program collecting data on background levels of carbon dioxide, which began there in 1974. Research was done to monitor the long-range transport of pollution aerosols. Fog chemistry has also been studied, examining the transport and composition of atmospheric toxins it carries. Tropospheric ozone was measured and analyzed by researchers in Canada and the United States along with 20 other North American sites.

Britten-Norman Islander being unloaded on the beach at Sable Island

The installation of the BGS Magnetic Observatory on Sable Island was funded as a joint venture between the British Geological Survey, Sperry-Sun Drilling Services, and Sable Offshore Energy. The data it collects aid scientific research into rates of change of the Earth's magnetic field and increase the accuracy of the BGS Global Geomagnetic Model. Data from the geomagnetic observatory is used by the offshore energy industry for precise positioning activities such as directional drilling.

Supplies are delivered to the Sable Island Station approximately twice a month by Sable Aviation using a Britten-Norman Islander. Although the island has a heliport (CST5), there is no permanent runway for fixed wing aircraft, which land instead on south beach in an area designated as the Sable Island Aerodrome (CSB2). Prior permission is required to land, as the area is often unusable due to changing sand conditions.

The unique landscape, history of shipwrecks, and wildlife, especially horses, have made Sable Island an iconic place in Atlantic Canada and attracted considerable international following.

In non-fiction

Shipwreck survivors published early survival narratives about their experiences at Sable Island, beginning with the sinking of the Delight in 1583. The first formal history of the island, Sable Island: its History and Phenomena, was written in 1894 by George Patterson. Many other histories of the island and its shipwrecks have been published since, such as Lyall Campbell's two books – Sable Island, Fatal and Fertile Crescent in 1974 and Sable Island Shipwrecks: Disaster and Survival at the North Atlantic Graveyard in 1994 – and more recently, A Dune Adrift: The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island, written in 2004 by Marq de Villiers. In his 1997 book, The Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger briefly describes the geography and history of the island. Joshua Slocum describes Sable Island in Sailing Alone Around the World during his 1895 solo circumnavigation.

In fiction

The island has also inspired works of fiction beginning in 1802 when Nova Scotia author Thomas Chandler Haliburton published "The Sable Island Ghost," a story about a ghostly woman inspired by the loss of the brig Francis in 1798. His story helped raise support for the establishment of a rescue station on the island. Canadian writer James MacDonald Oxley wrote a youth novel The Wreckers of Sable Island in 1897. Frank Parker Day's 1928 novel Rockbound features a vivid depiction of the sinking of the schooner Sylvia Mosher during the 1926 August Gales at Sable Island. One of the island's most notable temporary residents was Nova Scotian author Thomas H. Raddall, whose early experiences working at the wireless post there served as the inspiration for his 1950 novel The Nymph and the Lamp. In his novel The Templar Throne, published in June 2010, author Paul Christopher mentions the island as the final location of the True Ark of the Christian Old Testament.

In photography

The dunes and horses of Sable Island have drawn many photographers. Among the first was Arthur Williams McCurdy who photographed the island, its horses and shipwrecks in 1898 for National Geographic during a visit with Alexander Graham Bell. A further National Geographic visit in the summer of 1964 yielded an article entitled Sable Island; Graveyard of the Atlantic. In more recent times, Roberto Dutesco, a fashion photographer, began taking photos of Sable horses in 1994 and features this work in a permanent photo exhibition entitled "Wild Horses of Sable Island" at his gallery in New York. Nova Scotian photographer Paul Illsley's photographs of Sable Island horses inspired both a Canadian stamp and coin in 2005.

In music

In 1970 Stompin' Tom Connors published his song "Sable Island" in 1970's Stompin' Tom Meets Big Joe Mufferaw. Canadian folk singer Catherine McKinnon recorded a song arranged by Don Gillis also entitled "Sable Island" for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1975. The first line of the Buck 65 song "Blood of a young wolf" is "Ten thousand horses, Sable Island, endless summer."

In documentaries

The island has been the subject of many Canadian documentaries by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the National Film Board of Canada, beginning with the 1956 NFB film Sable Island by Allan Wargon, the 2003 NFB documentary Moving Sands by Phillipe Baylaucq, and more recently, an episode of Land and Sea. The most recent work about Sable Island is the 2015 Canadian-produced film, "S(t)able Island: The Beauty of the Free," created by Rae-Anne LaPlante. The film explores in-depth the wild horse population that has called Sable Island its home for over 250 years. A number of international documentaries have also explored the island, including the 2007 film "Ile de sable" made by Jean-François Ducrocq and Malek Sahraoui for France 3, French public television. In 2007, Matt Trecartin of Halifax directed Chasing Wild Horses, a documentary about photographer Roberto Dutesco and his photography of the Sable Island horses.

In other films

In the 1937 film Captains Courageous, the fishing boat passes Sable Island on the way to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Spencer Tracy's character Manuel later says his father died off Cape Sable. Sable Island is briefly featured in the 2000 feature film The Perfect Storm, which depicts the sinking of the fishing vessel Andrea Gail near Sable, although the island is erroneously portrayed with trees and a giant stone lighthouse. Sable Island is the setting for the 2002 film Touching Wild Horses starring Jane Seymour; however, little attempt was made to mimic the natural landscape of Sable, with trees and rocks abounding in the background of most every scene. Instead, Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario stood in for the island in the film.

In exhibits

A permanent exhibit about Sable Island is featured at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, which includes two rescue boats from Sable and numerous name boards and figureheads from Sable Island wrecks. Another permanent exhibit about Sable Island, exploring its ecology and the on-island researchers' work, is found at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. The horses were featured in a 1994 exhibit at the Equine Museum of Japan in Yokohama.

On radio

On September 11, 2014 Don Connolly of CBC Radio's Information Morning broadcast part of the daily current affairs program from Sable Island. It was the first ever live public radio broadcast from the island.

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  17. C. J. MacGillivray. Timothy Hierlihy and his Times: The story of the Founder of Antigonish, N.S. Nova Scotia Historical Society., p.47
  18. http://archives.gnb.ca/exhibits/forthavoc/html/AmericanMSSVol1.aspx?culture=en-CA
  19. ""Manhasset-1947", Nova Scotia Museum On the Rocks Marine Heritage Database". Museum.gov.ns.ca. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  20. "Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Sable Island Shipwreck & Lifesaving Web Page". Maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca. 1999-07-27. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  21. ""Sable Island Graveyard of the Atlantic" Digital Collection, Industry Canada". Epe.lac-bac.gc.ca. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  22. In collaboration with Lyall Campbell (1983). "Morris, James Rainstorpe". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  23. "Thomas E. Appleton, "Dorothea Dix", USQUE AD MARE A History of the Canadian Coast Guard and Marine Services". Ccg-gcc.gc.ca. 2013-06-24. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  24. E.H. Rip Irwin. Lighthouses and Lights of Nova Scotia, Nimbus Press, pages 100-102
  25. Greg McNeil Published on October 30, 2008 (2008-10-30). "Sable Island Native Returns Home Cape Breton Post (30 Oct 2008)". Capebretonpost.com. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  26. "MSC's Aerological Program Ends After 75 Years of Service".
  27. "Sable Island". DX-World.net. Retrieved2017-02-24.
  28. "Sable Offshore Energy Project".
  29. "Sable Island named national park". Cbc.ca. 2011-10-17. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  30. Siri Agrell. "The 'Graveyard of the Atlantic' – reborn". Theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  31. Ross, Selena (2012-04-01). "Parks Canada Takes Control of Sable Island Today (The Chronicle Herald, April 1, 2012)". Thechronicleherald.ca. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  32. "MP defends decision to vote for Sable Island national park". Cbc.ca. 2013-06-19. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  33. Anjuli Patil, "Sable Island now on Google Street View", CBC News July 13, 2016
  34. Parker Donham "Google Street View comes to Sable Island", The Contrarian, July 13, 2016
  35. ""Sable Island: Graveyard of the Atlantic", Mysteries of Canada". Mysteriesofcanada.com. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  36. Sheridan, Kate (June 8, 2015). "The Curious Case of Sable Island". Hakai Magazine. Retrieved8 June 2015.
  37. "The Climate of Sable Island". The Climates of Canada. Environment Canada. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved17 May 2015.
  38. "Sable Island". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Archived from the original on 2020-07-17. Retrieved2013-09-22.
  39. "Nova Scotia Interactive Plant Hardiness Zone Map". PlantMaps. Retrieved2016-09-14.
  40. "Sable Island: An uncertain future as a national park". CBC News. 2014-09-04. Retrieved2020-06-02.
  41. Taylor, Isaac (1896). Names and Their Histories: Alphabetically Arranged as a Handbook of Historical Geography and Topographical Nomenclature. London: Rivington, Percival & Co. p. 241. Retrieved2017-05-29. name sable island french sand.
  42. "There's only one tree on Sable Island. Now, it's a Christmas tree".
  43. National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada, 2nd Edition. National Geographic Society. 2016. pp. 50–55. ISBN 978-1-4262-1756-2.
  44. "The hard life of a wild Sable Island horse:'Eking out a living on this sandbar'". National Post. 21 March 2019. Retrieved24 March 2019. Francesco Cali, reputed leader of the Gambino crime family, in a mugshot taken in 2008 by the Italian police.
  45. ""Free as the Wind: How the Horses Came to Sable Island", Sable Island: A story of Survival website Nova Scotia Museum". Epe.lac-bac.gc.ca. Retrieved2014-01-02.
  46. "Sable Island: The wild horses' history and future". CBC. 4 September 2014. Retrieved24 March 2019.
  47. "Miscellaneous". The Cornishman (56). 7 August 1879. p. 6.
  48. "Year of the Horse: The wild horses of Sable Island". Nature Conservancy. 5 February 2014. Retrieved24 March 2019. Today, Sable Island is a new National Park Reserve. It is managed by Parks Canada, whose National Parks Act includes the statement that, "Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks." Because ecological integrity is degraded by any populous alien species, the horses should be regarded as a threat to that particular mandate.
  49. "SSable Island horses may face extinction, Parks Canada report warns". CBC. 28 November 2014. Retrieved24 March 2019.
  50. Sable Island: Photographic Survey of Grey Seal Pups (Feb 2004)
  51. Shark Predation on Sable Island Seals (July 2008)
  52. Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 328. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
  53. van Soest, R. (2014). Van Soest RW, Boury-Esnault N, Hooper JN, Rützler K, de Voogd NJ, de Glasby BA, Hajdu E, Pisera AB, Manconi R, Schoenberg C, Janussen D, Tabachnick KR, Klautau M, Picton B, Kelly M, Vacelet J (eds.). "Heteromeyenia macouni MacKay, 1900". World Porifera database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved2014-05-22.
  54. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
  55. Rainer K. Baehre "The Casting Away of the Delight" in Outrageous Seas: Shipwreck and Survival in the Waters off Newfoundland, 1583–1893 McGill-Queens Press (1999), p. 12
  56. Sebastian Junger The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea, Norton (1997), pp. 133-135
  57. Slocum, Joshua (1900). Sailing Alone Around the World(PDF). The Century Company.
  58. Gail Anne McNeil, "Sable Island, the Graveyard of the Atlantic", in Disasters at Sea, Tony Cranston (1986), p. 119.
  59. Gwendolyn Davies, "Afterword", Rockbound, University of Toronto Press (1989), p. 302
  60. Heath, Jeffrey M. (1 September 1991). Profiles in Canadian Literature. 7. Dundurn. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-55002-145-5.
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  63. ""Moving Sands" CM Magazine Manitoba Library Association, (Feb. 4, 2005) Vol. XI, No. 11". Umanitoba.ca. 2005-02-04. Retrieved2014-01-02.
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  • A Dune Adrift: The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island, by Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle, ISBN 0-7710-2642-0, McClelland & Stewart, August 2004
  • Ethos of Voice in the Journal of James Rainstorpe Morris from the Sable Island Humane Station, 1801–1802, by Rosalee Stilwell, ISBN 0-7734-7663-6, Edwin Mellen Press, January 2001
  • Free as the Wind: Saving the Horses of Sable Island, text by Jamie Bastedo, illustrations by Susan Tooke, Red Deer Press, 2007
  • Sable Island, by Bruce Armstrong, ISBN 0-385-13113-5, Doubleday, July 1981
  • Sable Island Journals 1801–1804, by James Rainstorpe Morris, ISBN 0-9689245-0-6
  • Sable Island Shipwrecks: Disaster and Survival at the North Atlantic Graveyard by Lyall Campbell, Nimbus pub., ISBN 1-55109-096-1, December 2001
  • Wild and Beautiful Sable Island, Pat Keough et al., ISBN 0-9692557-3-X, Green Publishing, September 1993
  • Wild Horses of Sable Island, by Zoe Lucas, ISBN 0-919872-73-5, Firefly Books Ltd., August 1992
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Sable Island
Sable Island Language Watch Edit For the island just off the tip of the southwestern Nova Scotia mainland see Cape Sable Island For the non existent island named Ile de Sable see Sandy Island New Caledonia Sable Island French ile de Sable literally island of sand is a small Canadian island situated 300 km 190 mi southeast of Halifax Nova Scotia and about 175 km 109 mi southeast of the closest point of mainland Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean The island is staffed year round by four federal government staff rising during summer months when research projects and tourism increase Notable for its role in early Canadian history and the Sable Island horse the island is protected and managed by Parks Canada which must grant permission prior to any visit Sable Island is part of District 7 of the Halifax Regional Municipality 3 in Nova Scotia However the Constitution of Canada specifically names the island as being under the authority of the federal government 4 The island is also a protected National Park Reserve and an Important Bird Area 5 Sable Island ile de SableIsland from Space Shuttle April 1994 North is in the lower left corner Coordinates 43 56 59 N 59 54 57 W 43 94972 N 59 91583 W 43 94972 59 91583 Coordinates 43 56 59 N 59 54 57 W 43 94972 N 59 91583 W 43 94972 59 91583CountryCanadaProvinceNova ScotiaMunicipalityHalifax Regional MunicipalityDistrict13Area 2 Land31 km2 12 sq mi Population Total0 6 25 personnel from Meteorological Service of Canada are stationed on Sable Island on rotation at Sable Island Station only 1 Density0 km2 0 sq mi Time zoneUTC 04 00 AST Summer DST UTC 03 00 ADT GNBC CodeCBRQR Nautical Chart Atlantic Sea Pilot 1884 Contents 1 History 1 1 Early history 1 2 Shipwrecks 1 3 The Nova Scotia Rescue Station 1 4 After Confederation and creation of a weather station 1 5 National Park 2 Geography 3 Climate 3 1 Climate change 4 Vegetation and wildlife 5 Sable Island Station 6 Sable Island in popular culture 6 1 In non fiction 6 2 In fiction 6 3 In photography 6 4 In music 6 5 In documentaries 6 6 In other films 6 7 In exhibits 6 8 On radio 7 See also 8 References 9 Bibliography 10 External linksHistory EditEarly history Edit The expedition of Portuguese explorer Joao Alvares Fagundes explored this region in 1520 1521 and they were among the first Europeans to encounter the island It is likely that he named the island Fagunda after himself 6 An island called Fagunda appears on later Portuguese maps placed to the southeast of Cape Breton fairly near its present location however the identification of Sable Island with Fagunda is not certain 7 On the other hand 16th century Portuguese sources describe a fishing colony founded by the navigator in Cape Breton Island 8 further north It is also possible that Fagundes sighted the island while heading southwest reaching the Bay of Fundy as the 1558 map of Diogo Homem and later Samuel de Champlain suggested but this is unclear 9 The island was inhabited sporadically by sealers shipwreck survivors and salvagers known as wreckers Troilus de La Roche de Mesgouez attempted to colonize the new world with convicts in 1598 When the convicts mutinied they were left on the tree less and stone less Sable Island Most of the settlers died but a few managed to survive in mud dwellings for 5 years before being returned to France in 1603 10 11 12 Shipwrecks Edit Sable Island is famous for its large number of shipwrecks An estimated 350 vessels are believed to have fallen victim to the island s sand bars Thick fogs treacherous currents and the island s location in the middle of a major transatlantic shipping route and rich fishing grounds account for the large number of wrecks The first recorded wreck was the English ship Delight 1583 in 1583 part of Humphrey Gilbert s Newfoundland expedition 13 There were at least three incidents of ship wrecks in the 1700s In 1736 a well known Presbyterian preacher the Irish born Rev Robert Dunlap 1715 1776 wrecked on the island on his way to America 14 Decades later there were two major shipwrecks In November 1760 Major Robert Elliot 1715 after 1765 of the 43rd regiment was shipwrecked on Sable Island he was rescued in January 1761 15 En route to Prince Edward Island under the command of Major Timothy Hierlihy Lieutenant Anthony Kennedy 16 and 25 men wrecked on the island in November 1778 The crew was stranded on the island for the winter Two died and the remainder were rescued and transported to Halifax the following April 17 18 It is likely that the construction of lighthouses on each end of the island in 1873 contributed to the decrease in shipwrecks The last major shipwreck was the steamship Manhasset in 1947 Her crew were all saved the last significant rescue of the Sable lifesaving station 19 After the 1991 Perfect Storm the commercial fishing vessel Andrea Gail s emergency position indicating radio beacon EPIRB was discovered on the shore of Sable Island on November 6 1991 nine days after the last transmission from the crew Other items found were fuel drums a fuel tank an empty life raft and some other flotsam All crew members perished and were never found No further wrecks occurred until 1999 when the three crew members of the yacht Merrimac survived after their sloop ran aground due to a navigational error 20 Few of the wrecks surrounding the island are visible as they are usually crushed and buried by the sand 21 The Nova Scotia Rescue Station Edit A series of life saving stations were established on Sable Island by the governor of Nova Scotia John Wentworth in 1801 The rescue station began the continuous human presence on the island which continues today Wentworth appointed James Morris a Nova Scotian veteran of the British Royal Navy as the first superintendent of the island Morris settled on the island in October 1801 with his family By the time Morris died on the island in 1809 he had built up the humanitarian settlement to include a central station two rescue boat stations several lookout posts and survivor shelters 22 The station s rescue equipment was upgraded in 1854 with the latest generation of self bailing lifeboats and life cars through the fundraising efforts of social reformer Dorothea Dix who had visited the island in the previous year 23 After Confederation and creation of a weather station Edit The Canadian government took over administration of the station with Confederation in 1867 and added two lighthouses in 1872 Sable Island East End Light cylindrical skeletal tower built 1980s replacing earlier iterations from 1873 1888 1917 and 1951 the eastern tip and Sable Island West End Light pyramidal skeletal tower built 1979 replacing earlier towers from 1873 1903 and 1935 on the western end 24 Until the advent of modern ship navigation Sable Island was home to the families of the life saving crews and the lighthouse keepers In the early 20th century the Marconi Company established a wireless station on the island and the Canadian government similarly established a weather station Several generations of island staff were born and raised families of their own on the island although a decline in shipwrecks gradually reduced the size of the lifesaving community Only two people have been born on Sable Island since 1920 25 Improvements in navigation led to a dramatic drop in shipwrecks by the mid 20th century As such the rescue station on Sable was reduced and eventually closed in 1958 The Canadian Coast Guard CCG first automated in the 1960s and eventually decommissioned the West light station in 2004 leaving only the East lighthouse active However during this period the island s role in science grew first in weather research The Canadian government expanded the collection of weather data originally started by the rescue station into a full meteorological station operated by Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans The station conducted routine atmospheric and meteorological studies from a permanently occupied station on Sable Island until Aug 20 2019 26 In addition to weather studies research on the island expanded to a range of ecological and wildlife studies due to its unique position in the Atlantic Sable Island is specifically mentioned in the British North America Act 1867 Part 4 Section 91 as being the special responsibility of the federal government the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to 9 Beacons Buoys Lighthouses and Sable Island For this reason it is considered a separate amateur radio entity equivalent to a country for award credit and with visiting operations using the special callsign prefix CY0 Because it is a separate radio entity Sable Island is a popular Dxpedition destination 27 Out of concern for preserving the island s frail ecology all visitors to the island including recreational boaters require specific permission from Parks Canada Sable Island s heliport contains emergency aviation fuel for search and rescue helicopters which use the island to stage further offshore into the Atlantic When the Sable Offshore Energy Project was active the island was designated as an emergency evacuation point for crews aboard nearby drilling rigs In 2017 Exxon Mobil began the plugging and abandonment of the production wells in the Thebaud field the Sable Offshore Energy Project wells closest to Sable Island all facilities were removed by Nov 2020 28 National Park Edit Main article Sable Island National Park Reserve On October 17 2011 29 the Nova Scotia government entered into an agreement with the federal government to eventually protect the Island as a national park 30 The news followed an announcement made by the federal government in May 2010 increasing the level of protection the island receives by transferring control from the Canadian Coast Guard to Parks Canada which manages the island under the National Parks Act 31 Sable Island became a National Park Reserve on June 20 2013 with approval of Mi kmaq stakeholders Full national park status has yet to be achieved pending settlement of native land claims The park is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna including a breed of the unique Sable Island horse The park is also a breeding ground for marine life 32 In July 2016 a hike across Sable Island was added to Google Streetview Google worked with Parks Canada to add the interactive views of Sable and five other Canadian National Parks 33 The imagery was collected in September 2015 by a Parks Canada employee who carried a backpack version of the Street View car camera around an area on the centre of the island part of Google s Trekker program which explores off road scenic locations The route follows a hiking route that Parks Canada staff uses to escort adventure tourists who visit the island 34 Geography Edit Sable Island from the northwest Sable Island is a narrow crescent shaped sandbar with a surface area estimated around 34 km2 13 sq mi Despite being approximately 43 15 km 26 81 mi long it is only 1 21 km 0 75 mi across at its widest point The long crescent shaped island rises gently from the shallows of the continental shelf approximately 285 km 177 mi east of Halifax Nova Scotia Its location in tandem with the area s frequent fog and sudden strong storms e g hurricanes and nor easters have resulted in over 350 recorded shipwrecks It is often referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic 35 as it sits astride the great circle route from North America s east coast to Europe The nearest landfall is 160 kilometres 99 mi to the northwest near Canso Nova Scotia Sable Island is believed to have formed from a terminal moraine deposited on the continental shelf near the end of the last Ice Age 36 It is slowly moving as waves erode the western shore and new sand is added on the eastern shore and continually changing shape through the effects of strong winds and violent ocean storms The island has several freshwater ponds on the south side between the station and west light however in recent years their protecting dune line has been eroded to such an extent that they are changing from one year to the next In prior years a brackish lake named Lake Wallace existed in the centre of the south beach At its largest it extended for many miles indeed during World War II amphibious aircraft landed on it Over the years the lake shrank with an infilling of sand until in late 2011 it filled in entirely and disappeared Since the south beach is subject to flooding during fall storms photos often show water in the area around the former location of Lake Wallace however this flooded area is relatively shallow only a few feet at most and is not a remnant of the lake The original lake was of a significant enough depth that even during times when the area was flooded the lake could be seen in aerial photographs as a darker deeper patch in the middle of the flooded area The island is a part of the Halifax Regional Municipality the federal electoral district of Halifax and the provincial electoral district of Halifax Citadel although the urban area of Halifax proper is some 300 km 190 mi away on the Nova Scotian mainland Climate EditSable Island has a humid continental climate Koppen Dfb but its climate is strongly influenced by the sea 37 As such winter temperatures average near freezing while during the summer months daily maximum temperatures average around 20 C 68 0 F 37 The average annual temperature range in Sable Island is only 18 6 C 33 5 F owing to the influence from the sea compared to 24 3 C 43 7 F at Halifax and 38 9 C 70 0 F in Winnipeg 37 Generally February is the coldest month while August is the warmest month 37 Sable Island averages 1 372 millimetres 54 0 in of precipitation a year which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year though October through January are the wettest months due to frequent and intense fall and winter storms 37 Being located in the path of major frontal storms and tropical cyclones year round most of the precipitation comes from these storms 37 Thunderstorms are rare with only 11 days with thunderstorms per year 37 There are frequent heavy fogs in the area due to the contrasting effects of the cold Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream on average there are 127 days out of the year that have at least 1 hour of fog 37 This makes Sable Island the foggiest place in the Maritimes 37 The foggiest season is during the summer months where July averages 22 fog days 37 During the winter Sable Island has the warmest temperatures in Canada apart from the Pacific coast and can have the warmest temperatures in the country on some occasions due to the influence of the Gulf Stream Summers are among the coolest in southern Canada though It is also the most hurricane prone part of Canada also due to the Gulf Stream and is the only place where Category 3 hurricane force winds are likely in all of Canada citation needed The highest temperature recorded was 27 8 C 82 0 F on August 27 1951 while the lowest temperature recorded was 19 4 C 2 9 F on January 31 1920 37 Climate data for Sable Island 1981 2010 normals extremes 1897 presentMonth Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec YearRecord high C F 14 5 58 1 12 8 55 0 13 7 56 7 13 9 57 0 17 8 64 0 21 7 71 1 26 7 80 1 27 8 82 0 27 0 80 6 22 8 73 0 18 9 66 0 15 6 60 1 27 8 82 0 Average high C F 3 0 37 4 1 8 35 2 3 3 37 9 6 5 43 7 10 2 50 4 14 2 57 6 18 5 65 3 20 7 69 3 18 6 65 5 14 3 57 7 9 9 49 8 5 5 41 9 10 6 51 1 Daily mean C F 0 1 31 8 1 2 29 8 0 7 33 3 4 0 39 2 7 5 45 5 11 4 52 5 15 8 60 4 17 9 64 2 15 8 60 4 11 7 53 1 7 3 45 1 2 5 36 5 7 8 46 0 Average low C F 3 1 26 4 4 2 24 4 2 0 28 4 1 5 34 7 4 8 40 6 8 6 47 5 13 0 55 4 15 1 59 2 13 0 55 4 9 1 48 4 4 6 40 3 0 5 31 1 5 0 41 0 Record low C F 19 4 2 9 18 3 0 9 13 6 7 5 8 9 16 0 8 3 17 1 0 6 33 1 3 0 37 4 4 4 39 9 0 6 33 1 1 2 29 8 7 8 18 0 16 7 1 9 19 4 2 9 Average precipitation mm inches 144 7 5 70 112 5 4 43 130 4 5 13 114 8 4 52 101 3 3 99 115 9 4 56 100 8 3 97 121 6 4 79 129 5 5 10 144 9 5 70 150 7 5 93 144 5 5 69 1 511 6 59 51 Average rainfall mm inches 110 4 4 35 92 4 3 64 107 7 4 24 105 9 4 17 101 2 3 98 115 9 4 56 100 8 3 97 121 6 4 79 129 5 5 10 144 8 5 70 145 1 5 71 123 7 4 87 1 399 55 08 Average snowfall cm inches 33 3 13 1 19 8 7 8 22 1 8 7 9 1 3 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 trace 5 2 2 0 18 6 7 3 108 3 42 6 Average precipitation days 0 2 mm 20 4 16 8 16 7 16 0 14 5 13 9 13 5 12 0 12 4 16 2 19 3 19 8 191 5Average rainy days 0 2 mm 12 1 9 9 12 5 15 1 15 3 13 8 13 3 12 4 13 0 16 2 18 7 15 6 167 8Average snowy days 0 2 cm 11 6 10 0 7 2 2 6 0 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 06 2 8 8 6 43 0Mean monthly sunshine hours 61 0 78 6 119 0 140 0 169 4 186 6 192 3 194 3 174 1 138 3 80 2 61 8 1 595 5Percent possible sunshine 21 2 26 6 32 2 34 8 37 1 40 4 41 1 44 8 46 3 40 4 27 6 22 2 34 6Source Environment Canada 38 According to PlantMaps Sable Island lies in Hardiness Zone 8a 10 F 15 F for plant hardiness 39 Climate change Edit Being a large low lying sandbar Sable Island is vulnerable to sea level rise This is further exacerbated by an ongoing increase in storm frequency and intensity caused by climate change further eroding the island These factors point toward Sable Island disappearing by the end of the century 40 Vegetation and wildlife Edit Sable Island horse Sable Island derived its name from the French word for sand 41 It lacks natural trees being covered instead with marram grass and other low growing vegetation In 1901 the federal government planted over 80 000 trees in an attempt to stabilize the soil all died Subsequent plantings resulted in the survival of a single Scots pine Although planted in the 1960s it is only a few feet tall It is decorated yearly as a Christmas tree in December as part of a tradition among the station staff 42 The island is home to over 550 free roaming horses according to a 2016 report protected by law from human interference 43 During a 2017 2018 study the estimated population was 500 horses up from the roughly 300 recorded in the 1970s Because of the harsh spring of 2017 the mortality rate was about 10 but the normal rate is about 1 annually primarily due to starvation and hypothermia 44 This feral horse population is likely descended from horses confiscated from Acadians during the Great Expulsion and left on the island by Thomas Hancock Boston merchant and uncle of John Hancock 45 In the early 1800s many of the horses were used by men patrolling the island searching for ships in distress and the animals also moved lifeboats and equipment to sites of shipwrecks 46 In 1879 500 horses and cattle were estimated to live on the island and the island vegetation was described as covered with grass and wild peas 47 In the past excess horses were rounded up shipped off the island and sold many used in coal mines on Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia In 1960 the Canadian Government under the Canada Shipping Act gave the horse population full protection from human interference 43 This was partly motivated by a plan in the 1950s eventually aborted due to public pressure to remove the horses from the island after some biologists reported that they were damaging the ecology of the land 46 Nonetheless some continued to view the horses as an invasive species which is not suitable in a protected region where ecological integrity should be preserved according to the National Parks Act 48 49 Sable Island horse and foal Harbour and grey seals breed on the island s shores Seal counts from the 1960s for the grey seal population estimated 200 300 pups born at that time on the island but surveys from as recent as 2003 2004 estimated the number of pups born in that season at 50 000 50 The seals are occasionally preyed upon by the various shark species that inhabit the waters nearby Unusual corkscrew bite wounds on dead seals suggest that the Greenland shark is probably responsible for most attacks here 51 Several large bird colonies are resident including the Arctic tern and Ipswich sparrow a subspecies of the Savannah sparrow which breeds only on the island 52 Many other species are resident migratory or transient blown out to sea in storms and returned to land out of their natural range It was formerly believed the freshwater sponge Heteromeyenia macouni was found only in ponds on the island However it is now considered to be the same species as Racekiela ryderi found elsewhere 53 Rabbits cattle and goats were also released on the island with little success at one point 43 At one point there was a walrus population on the island until hunters drove the population to extinction 43 Sable Island Station Edit Sable Island station Sable IslandIATA YSAICAO noneTC LID CSB2SummaryAirport typePrivateOwnerParks CanadaOperatorParks CanadaLocationSable Island Nova ScotiaTime zoneAST UTC 04 00 Summer DST ADT UTC 03 00 Elevation AMSL4 ft 1 mCoordinates43 55 59 8 N 060 00 25 2 W 43 933278 N 60 007000 W 43 933278 60 007000Map CSB2Location in CanadaHelipadsNumber Length Surfaceft m1 1 500 457 SandSource Canada Flight Supplement 54 The Sable Island Station managed and staffed by Parks Canada is the only permanently staffed facility on the island Climatological record keeping on Sable Island began in 1871 with the establishment of the Meteorological Service of Canada and ran continuously from 1891 until Aug 20 2019 26 Sable Island has been the subject of extensive scientific research over the years The Meteorological Service of Canada operated a wide range of manual and automated instruments including the Automated Weather Observing System an aerology program measuring conditions in the upper atmosphere using a radiosonde carried aloft by a hydrogen filled weather balloon to altitudes beyond 40 km 25 mi and a program collecting data on background levels of carbon dioxide which began there in 1974 Research was done to monitor the long range transport of pollution aerosols Fog chemistry has also been studied examining the transport and composition of atmospheric toxins it carries Tropospheric ozone was measured and analyzed by researchers in Canada and the United States along with 20 other North American sites Britten Norman Islander being unloaded on the beach at Sable Island The installation of the BGS Magnetic Observatory on Sable Island was funded as a joint venture between the British Geological Survey Sperry Sun Drilling Services and Sable Offshore Energy The data it collects aid scientific research into rates of change of the Earth s magnetic field and increase the accuracy of the BGS Global Geomagnetic Model Data from the geomagnetic observatory is used by the offshore energy industry for precise positioning activities such as directional drilling Supplies are delivered to the Sable Island Station approximately twice a month by Sable Aviation using a Britten Norman Islander Although the island has a heliport CST5 there is no permanent runway for fixed wing aircraft which land instead on south beach in an area designated as the Sable Island Aerodrome CSB2 54 Prior permission is required to land as the area is often unusable due to changing sand conditions Sable Island in popular culture EditThe unique landscape history of shipwrecks and wildlife especially horses have made Sable Island an iconic place in Atlantic Canada and attracted considerable international following In non fiction Edit Shipwreck survivors published early survival narratives about their experiences at Sable Island beginning with the sinking of the Delight in 1583 55 The first formal history of the island Sable Island its History and Phenomena was written in 1894 by George Patterson Many other histories of the island and its shipwrecks have been published since such as Lyall Campbell s two books Sable Island Fatal and Fertile Crescent in 1974 and Sable Island Shipwrecks Disaster and Survival at the North Atlantic Graveyard in 1994 and more recently A Dune Adrift The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island written in 2004 by Marq de Villiers In his 1997 book The Perfect Storm Sebastian Junger briefly describes the geography and history of the island 56 Joshua Slocum describes Sable Island in Sailing Alone Around the World during his 1895 solo circumnavigation 57 In fiction Edit The island has also inspired works of fiction beginning in 1802 when Nova Scotia author Thomas Chandler Haliburton published The Sable Island Ghost a story about a ghostly woman inspired by the loss of the brig Francis in 1798 His story helped raise support for the establishment of a rescue station on the island 58 Canadian writer James MacDonald Oxley wrote a youth novel The Wreckers of Sable Island in 1897 Frank Parker Day s 1928 novel Rockbound features a vivid depiction of the sinking of the schooner Sylvia Mosher during the 1926 August Gales at Sable Island 59 One of the island s most notable temporary residents was Nova Scotian author Thomas H Raddall whose early experiences working at the wireless post there served as the inspiration for his 1950 novel The Nymph and the Lamp 60 In his novel The Templar Throne published in June 2010 author Paul Christopher mentions the island as the final location of the True Ark of the Christian Old Testament 61 In photography Edit The dunes and horses of Sable Island have drawn many photographers Among the first was Arthur Williams McCurdy who photographed the island its horses and shipwrecks in 1898 for National Geographic during a visit with Alexander Graham Bell 62 A further National Geographic visit in the summer of 1964 yielded an article entitled Sable Island Graveyard of the Atlantic In more recent times Roberto Dutesco a fashion photographer began taking photos of Sable horses in 1994 and features this work in a permanent photo exhibition entitled Wild Horses of Sable Island at his gallery in New York Nova Scotian photographer Paul Illsley s photographs of Sable Island horses inspired both a Canadian stamp and coin in 2005 In music Edit In 1970 Stompin Tom Connors published his song Sable Island in 1970 s Stompin Tom Meets Big Joe Mufferaw Canadian folk singer Catherine McKinnon recorded a song arranged by Don Gillis also entitled Sable Island for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1975 The first line of the Buck 65 song Blood of a young wolf is Ten thousand horses Sable Island endless summer In documentaries Edit The island has been the subject of many Canadian documentaries by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the National Film Board of Canada beginning with the 1956 NFB film Sable Island by Allan Wargon the 2003 NFB documentary Moving Sands by Phillipe Baylaucq 63 and more recently an episode of Land and Sea 64 The most recent work about Sable Island is the 2015 Canadian produced film S t able Island The Beauty of the Free created by Rae Anne LaPlante The film explores in depth the wild horse population that has called Sable Island its home for over 250 years 65 A number of international documentaries have also explored the island including the 2007 film Ile de sable made by Jean Francois Ducrocq and Malek Sahraoui for France 3 French public television 66 In 2007 Matt Trecartin of Halifax directed Chasing Wild Horses a documentary about photographer Roberto Dutesco and his photography of the Sable Island horses 67 In other films Edit In the 1937 film Captains Courageous the fishing boat passes Sable Island on the way to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland Spencer Tracy s character Manuel later says his father died off Cape Sable Sable Island is briefly featured in the 2000 feature film The Perfect Storm which depicts the sinking of the fishing vessel Andrea Gail near Sable although the island is erroneously portrayed with trees and a giant stone lighthouse Sable Island is the setting for the 2002 film Touching Wild Horses starring Jane Seymour however little attempt was made to mimic the natural landscape of Sable with trees and rocks abounding in the background of most every scene Instead Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario stood in for the island in the film 68 In exhibits Edit A permanent exhibit about Sable Island is featured at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax which includes two rescue boats from Sable and numerous name boards and figureheads from Sable Island wrecks Another permanent exhibit about Sable Island exploring its ecology and the on island researchers work is found at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History The horses were featured in a 1994 exhibit at the Equine Museum of Japan in Yokohama 69 On radio Edit On September 11 2014 Don Connolly of CBC Radio s Information Morning broadcast part of the daily current affairs program from Sable Island It was the first ever live public radio broadcast from the island 70 See also EditNatural Gas Fields in the Sable Island AreaReferences Edit https www pc gc ca en pn np ns sable culture histo cultur Sable Island National Park Reserve Parks Canada Government of Canada Retrieved 26 May 2020 Search Results Sable island gsa1 gov ns ca Retrieved 2014 10 06 Constitution Act 1867 UK 30 amp 31 Vict c 3 s 91 item 9 reprinted in RSC 1985 App II No 5 IBA Site Listing www ibacanada org Retrieved 2021 02 03 A Brief History of Sable Island Sableislandfriends ca 2012 09 04 Retrieved 2014 01 02 Vigneras L A 1979 1966 Fagundes Joao Alvares In Brown George Williams ed Dictionary of Canadian Biography I 1000 1700 online ed University of Toronto Press Tratado das ilhas novas e descombrimento dellas e outras couzas 1570 Francisco de Souza Page 6 1 Mount Allison University Marshlands Records of Life on the Tantramar European Contact and Mapping 2004 Black Conrad 2014 Rise to Greatness The History of Canada From the Vikings to the Present McClelland amp Stewart ISBN 978 0 7710 1355 3 gt Canadian Military Heritage Cmhg gc ca 2011 11 03 Archived from the original on 2013 12 25 Retrieved 2014 02 19 Roger E Riendeau 2007 A Brief History of Canada Infobase Publishing p 36 ISBN 978 1 4381 0822 3 Delight 1583 Nova Scotia Museum On the Rocks Marine Heritage Database Museum gov ns ca Archived from the original on 2013 10 17 Retrieved 2014 01 02 https archive org stream collectionsmain00socigoog page n344 mode 1up search nova scotia Major Robert Elliott https archives gnb ca exhibits forthavoc html Roll of Officers aspx culture en CA C J MacGillivray Timothy Hierlihy and his Times The story of the Founder of Antigonish N S Nova Scotia Historical Society p 47 http archives gnb ca exhibits forthavoc html AmericanMSSVol1 aspx culture en CA Manhasset 1947 Nova Scotia Museum On the Rocks Marine Heritage Database Museum gov ns ca Retrieved 2014 01 02 Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Sable Island Shipwreck amp Lifesaving Web Page Maritimemuseum novascotia ca 1999 07 27 Retrieved 2014 01 02 Sable Island Graveyard of the Atlantic Digital Collection Industry Canada Epe lac bac gc ca Retrieved 2014 01 02 In collaboration with Lyall Campbell 1983 Morris James Rainstorpe In Halpenny Francess G ed Dictionary of Canadian Biography V 1801 1820 online ed University of Toronto Press Thomas E Appleton Dorothea Dix USQUE AD MARE A History of the Canadian Coast Guard and Marine Services Ccg gcc gc ca 2013 06 24 Retrieved 2014 01 02 E H Rip Irwin Lighthouses and Lights of Nova Scotia Nimbus Press pages 100 102 Greg McNeil Published on October 30 2008 2008 10 30 Sable Island Native Returns Home Cape Breton Post 30 Oct 2008 Capebretonpost com Retrieved 2014 01 02 a b MSC s Aerological Program Ends After 75 Years of Service Sable Island DX World net Retrieved 2017 02 24 Sable Offshore Energy Project Sable Island named national park Cbc ca 2011 10 17 Retrieved 2014 01 02 Siri Agrell The Graveyard of the Atlantic reborn Theglobeandmail com Retrieved 2014 01 02 Ross Selena 2012 04 01 Parks Canada Takes Control of Sable Island Today The Chronicle Herald April 1 2012 Thechronicleherald ca Retrieved 2014 01 02 MP defends decision to vote for Sable Island national park Cbc ca 2013 06 19 Retrieved 2014 01 02 Anjuli Patil Sable Island now on Google Street View CBC News July 13 2016 Parker Donham Google Street View comes to Sable Island The Contrarian July 13 2016 Sable Island Graveyard of the Atlantic Mysteries of Canada Mysteriesofcanada com Retrieved 2014 01 02 Sheridan Kate June 8 2015 The Curious Case of Sable Island Hakai Magazine Retrieved 8 June 2015 a b c d e f g h i j k The Climate of Sable Island The Climates of Canada Environment Canada Archived from the original on February 18 2010 Retrieved 17 May 2015 Sable Island Canadian Climate Normals 1981 2010 Environment Canada Archived from the original on 2020 07 17 Retrieved 2013 09 22 Nova Scotia Interactive Plant Hardiness Zone Map PlantMaps Retrieved 2016 09 14 Sable Island An uncertain future as a national park CBC News 2014 09 04 Retrieved 2020 06 02 Taylor Isaac 1896 Names and Their Histories Alphabetically Arranged as a Handbook of Historical Geography and Topographical Nomenclature London Rivington Percival amp Co p 241 Retrieved 2017 05 29 name sable island french sand There s only one tree on Sable Island Now it s a Christmas tree a b c d National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada 2nd Edition National Geographic Society 2016 pp 50 55 ISBN 978 1 4262 1756 2 The hard life of a wild Sable Island horse Eking out a living on this sandbar National Post 21 March 2019 Retrieved 24 March 2019 Francesco Cali reputed leader of the Gambino crime family in a mugshot taken in 2008 by the Italian police Free as the Wind How the Horses Came to Sable Island Sable Island A story of Survival website Nova Scotia Museum Epe lac bac gc ca Retrieved 2014 01 02 a b Sable Island The wild horses history and future CBC 4 September 2014 Retrieved 24 March 2019 Miscellaneous The Cornishman 56 7 August 1879 p 6 Year of the Horse The wild horses of Sable Island Nature Conservancy 5 February 2014 Retrieved 24 March 2019 Today Sable Island is a new National Park Reserve It is managed by Parks Canada whose National Parks Act includes the statement that Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity through the protection of natural resources and natural processes shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks Because ecological integrity is degraded by any populous alien species the horses should be regarded as a threat to that particular mandate SSable Island horses may face extinction Parks Canada report warns CBC 28 November 2014 Retrieved 24 March 2019 Sable Island Photographic Survey of Grey Seal Pups Feb 2004 Shark Predation on Sable Island Seals July 2008 Scheffel Richard L Wernet Susan J eds 1980 Natural Wonders of the World United States of America Reader s Digest Association Inc p 328 ISBN 0 89577 087 3 van Soest R 2014 Van Soest RW Boury Esnault N Hooper JN Rutzler K de Voogd NJ de Glasby BA Hajdu E Pisera AB Manconi R Schoenberg C Janussen D Tabachnick KR Klautau M Picton B Kelly M Vacelet J eds Heteromeyenia macouni MacKay 1900 World Porifera database World Register of Marine Species Retrieved 2014 05 22 a b Canada Flight Supplement Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020 Rainer K Baehre The Casting Away of the Delight in Outrageous Seas Shipwreck and Survival in the Waters off Newfoundland 1583 1893 McGill Queens Press 1999 p 12 Sebastian Junger The Perfect Storm A True Story of Men Against the Sea Norton 1997 pp 133 135 Slocum Joshua 1900 Sailing Alone Around the World PDF The Century Company Gail Anne McNeil Sable Island the Graveyard of the Atlantic in Disasters at Sea Tony Cranston 1986 p 119 Gwendolyn Davies Afterword Rockbound University of Toronto Press 1989 p 302 Heath Jeffrey M 1 September 1991 Profiles in Canadian Literature 7 Dundurn p 82 ISBN 978 1 55002 145 5 Christopher P 2010 The Templar Throne Penguin Group US ISBN 9781101198018 Retrieved 2014 10 06 McCurdy Arthur Williams Canadian Dictionary of Biography Biographi ca Retrieved 2014 01 02 Moving Sands CM Magazine Manitoba Library Association Feb 4 2005 Vol XI No 11 Umanitoba ca 2005 02 04 Retrieved 2014 01 02 Land and Sea Sable Island Cbc ca Retrieved 2014 01 02 http stableisland com Ile de sable 2007 bonne compagnie Chasing Wild Horses documents photographer s obsession Cbc ca 2008 09 17 Retrieved 2014 01 02 IMDB Sable Island Horses Green Horse Society Sable Island CBC makes history broadcasting live from island Information Morning broadcast live from Sable Island CBC News CBC 11 September 2014 Retrieved 2014 09 16 Bibliography EditA Dune Adrift The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island by Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle ISBN 0 7710 2642 0 McClelland amp Stewart August 2004 Ethos of Voice in the Journal of James Rainstorpe Morris from the Sable Island Humane Station 1801 1802 by Rosalee Stilwell ISBN 0 7734 7663 6 Edwin Mellen Press January 2001 Free as the Wind Saving the Horses of Sable Island text by Jamie Bastedo illustrations by Susan Tooke Red Deer Press 2007 Sable Island by Bruce Armstrong ISBN 0 385 13113 5 Doubleday July 1981 Sable Island Journals 1801 1804 by James Rainstorpe Morris ISBN 0 9689245 0 6 Sable Island Shipwrecks Disaster and Survival at the North Atlantic Graveyard by Lyall Campbell Nimbus pub ISBN 1 55109 096 1 December 2001 Wild and Beautiful Sable Island Pat Keough et al ISBN 0 9692557 3 X Green Publishing September 1993 Wild Horses of Sable Island by Zoe Lucas ISBN 0 919872 73 5 Firefly Books Ltd August 1992External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Sable Island Wikisource has the text of The New Student s Reference Work article Sable Island Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article Sable Island This article s use of external links may not follow Wikipedia s policies or guidelines Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links and converting useful links where appropriate into footnote references December 2018 Learn how and when to remove this template message Sable Island Institute formerly the Sable Island Green Horse Society Aircraft Charter to Sable Island Sable Island Satellite View Google Maps Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Halifax Sable Island Shipwreck Page Tales of Tragedy and Triumph Canadian Shipwrecks a virtual museum exhibition at Library and Archives Canada Friends of Sable Island Society formerly Sable Island Preservation Trust Ships of War lost on the Coast of Nova Scotia and Sable Island during the Eighteenth Century Note the Major Elliott of the 43rd Regiment of Foot survived a 1760 shipwreck see below Major Robert Elliott A Sable Island Shipwreck survivor Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History Sable Island An Island of Sand The Wild Horses of Sable Island Gallery photos by Roberto Dutesco Wild Horses of Sable Island Mobile Museum List of shipwrecks by year Sable Island National Park Reserve Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Sable Island amp oldid 1052121803, wikipedia, 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