Flowerpot Island

On September 14th (it's taken me a while to get around to editing the photos) my friend Scott and I took a bus tour up to Flowerpot Island. Flowerpot Island is right at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula: this is roughly a 300 km road trip, but because of the small and slow roads you have to take, the drive is four hours (or more, with stops). It was a long day.

Flowerpot Island's best known feature is its two sea stacks, limestone and dolomite towers about five or six metres tall. Some data source (the tour guide, or a brochure we were given, I've forgotten which) explained that these formations were thought to be about 2000 years old. To me, that's a shocking statement: in geological terms, that's the blink of an eye. Apparently there was a third flowerpot, but it fell in 1903. The others are only expected to last in the hundreds-of-years range (again, geologically fleeting).

A lesser known feature of the island is its snake population. Because it's relatively small (two square kilometres?) it doesn't support any significant predators - and snakes have found this a very fine place to be. In about three hours on the island, we saw nine Garter snakes and four Northern water snakes (we weren't specifically looking for snakes - we just kept finding them). And one leopard frog. The island is NOT home to the already relatively uncommon Massassauga rattlesnake. At one point we encountered two young women coming the other way on the trail, and Scott said "there are four snakes over there!" pointing somewhat ahead of the women. One of them shrieked and step backwards. Scott, blinded by his enthusiasm, then said "and two more over there!" The young woman shrieked again, leapt forward, landed on a nice round stick that promptly rolled so she fell backwards into my arms. Which might have qualified Scott as the best wingman ever if she hadn't been quite literally half my age ... Personally, I like snakes (although living in Georgia for a decade with their common, venomous and aggressive Cottonmouths changed that while I was there), but some people don't react well. Even though Garter snakes are about as hazardous as mosquitoes.

photo: The shoreline and one of the flowerpots.

The island shoreline with a pillar of rock standing out of the water against the sky.

photo: I love the small tree on the right: it looks to be 50-100 years old ...

A column of rock standing in the water, with a small tree precariously attached to its side.