Evading by Salts & Corks

Rogues Roost is an isolated cove, with narrows only a few feet deep in some places.

It is located in the vicinity of the villages of Lower Prospect and Prospect, Nova Scotia. The Rogue’s Roost and Snow’s Cove of Rogues Roost are the sheltered anchorages in the narrow passages between Roost Island and the mainland.

Notorious for it’s unique geological features which trapped many a Pirate and Rum Runner.

According to some websites, the Roost was popular as a hideout for privateers during the War of 1812. Legend has it that Young Teaser, a soldier and his boat of the same name, now haunt the route.

Snow’s Cove is named after a long-time stewart of the area, Capt John Snow, Snow’s Cove of the Rogues Roost features a tight exit into Cub Basin. During high tide, it allows a sheltered route for kayaks and canoes.

A bronze plaque affixed to a granite cliff face reads as follows:

“In Memory of John Snow, 1914-1970; keen small boat enthusiast, founding member of NS Schooner Association, leader of many organized cruises, an outstanding shipmate; [this plaque] erected by his many friends on this the site of his favorite anchorage, Snow’s Cove of Rogue’s Roost, ‘…and all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover, and quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over’; Erected July 15, 1972”.

John Snow drowned in a a tragic car accident in Halifax’s Northwest Arm in 1970.

Legend has it that the Rogue’s Roost was more than just a sheltered anchorage.

During all the great oceangoing eras, from pirates, to the exile of the the acadians, to the turn of the century rum runners, the Rogue’s Roost’s clever geological design was the rogue captain’s worst enemy.

For once you had found safety in the anchorage of Snow’s Cove, there was only one narrow exit… and the impassable backdoor into Cub Basin. Like a mousetrap, an entire ship and it’s crew, could find themselves trapped, with very little effort on the part of the assailant.

Even as recently as the last prohibition, this safe-haven was notorious for police – and bootlegger raids.

Local lore recounts tales that rum runners knew exactly how many corks it took to float a bottle of rum, and exactly how many pounds of salt it took to sink it. Armed with this knowledge they soon starting evading the hunter by throwing burlap bags filled with salt, rum and cork to the ocean depths. While their ships were examined by officers, the rum was safely stowed on the ocean floor.

No sooner were the officers gone that the salt had dissolved enough to let the cork float the rum.

The universality of this rum running legend is not limited to Nova Scotia culture. In fact, it would seem that the exact scene is shown in an acclaimed Indian film, Nayagan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayagan which is on Time Magazine’s Best 100 Films of All Time list. This bollywood blockbuster even won an Academy Award.

Take a look at this Music Video http://is.gd/4Doxc where the dumping of good under the sea takes place. At 2.50

In October of 2009, East Coast Outfitters recreated the scene. Using water conditioner salt, a plastic burlap bag, and a mason jar equal in weight to the rum. Sure enough, the legend stands true. The loot remained submerges for over an hour, before slowly floating back to the surface, unharmed.

This was known as “Sailing a whole schooner through the Revenue Act“, and so, another speakeasy could thrive.

As for the topography and fauna, the area is mostly covered in heathers, low grasses and evergreens. Berries abound nearly all seasons. The landscape is rough, and barren. Glacial Striations are noticeable on the top of Roost Island and surroundings. Deep narrow channels were carved out by retreating ice sheets tens of thousands of years ago. In many areas the topsoil has eroded to weather. Large erratic boulders and glacial anomalies salt and pepper the landscape. Areas inhabited by the Double Crested Cormorant appear as lifeless patches in the evergreens, destroyed by the birds messy occupation.

A Great Blue Heron with a recently caught fish.

Deer, mink, and a variety of other small game inhabit all the surrounding lands.

Hawks, Grey & Common Gulls, Terns and Bald Eagles are common sight in the Audubon life.

The Great Blue Heron also makes the Rogue’s Roost it’s home and is a certain sight, particularly in the evening when the sky is overcast.

There is no land access to the Rogue’s Roost. It is one of Nova Scotia’s marine features. Accessible by sailboat, pleasure boat, canoe or kayak. Rogues Roost is an ideal sunset paddle which can be done in two to two and a half hours.

Recent Trips

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