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A Brief History of the Mahone Bay Islands...

Mahone Bay Island Names

Are there 365 islands in Mahone Bay?
"Chester, with its 365 emerald-carpeted islands-one for each day of the year-is a veritable elysium"
(DesBrisay, Miles B., History of Lunenburg County, 1895, p.254)
Desbrisay did not acknowledge the origin of the above statement. So in an attempt to answer the question, the MICA Resource Documentation Committee has compiled this list of named islands from historical archives.

Our first step was to identify the geographical area for Mahone Bay, and Hydrographic Chart 4381 seemed the most logical choice.

Those names in bold are from 4381, but others in plain type have a reference provided. If two islands have the same name, their geographical locations are given. Following the chart's format, no apostrophes are included in any names.

This is a living document as there are still archives to check including old charts, maps, grants and local knowledge. So the question remains, would these islands plus remnants that are exposed shoals at low water, along with many named rocks, equal the mythical 365?

We do not know the answer, and finding it is another historical challenge for MICA. If you would like to contribute information, please contact us at

MICA RD Committee, March 2016 -
Michael Ernst, Sidney Lang, Margaret MacDonald, Jim Rosbee, Linda Wieser

1929 Mines Map Adams (Squid Cove, near Graves I. Topo 21 A/9)

Andrews     Wamblewreath (Grant)     Billys (Local)     Ernst (Local)


Arties (East River Topo 21A/9)

Backmans     Prince Royal (DesBarres)     Bachman (CGM and AC)

Bella   Elisabeth Isle (DesBarres)

Big     Kurser (4381 1945 ed.)     Kursers Pt. (AC)     Keizer (DM 29)     Bird (CGM)

Big Crow (near Stonehurst East Topo 21A/8)

Big Chain (Rackets Topo 21A/8)   Centre, Dry, Snipe (Local)

Big Fish

Big Gooseberry

1950s Topo Map Big Tancook     Royal George (DesBarres)   Uktankook (Mi'kmaq-facing the open sea.)

Birch(Indian Pt.)     Burgoynes (Local)

Birch (Chester)

Bow/Bowl (Stonehurst Topo 21A/8)

Coveys - Island No. 7, Covey (CGM), William Henry (DesBarres), Payzant, Meisner & Chase (Local)

Chockle Cap     Jock Cap (CGM)     Hobsons (DesBarres)

Crowbar (near Daniels, Martins Pt. Trak)

Daniels     Sisters (Local)

Dauphinees (near Middle River Topo 21A/9)

East Ironbound

1945 Chart 4381 Ernst Part of Giff. (DM 29)

Fifty Acre



Gifford     Young (Local)


Gorehams (Rackets Topo 21A/8)

Grassy (near Tancook)

Grassy - (Rackets near Big Chain Topo 21 /8 and Trak)



Gunning (near Stonehurst East Topo 21A/8)     Tanner

Des Barres Atlantic Neptune Heckmans

Hell (near Stonehurst Topo 21A/8)


Hobsons     Hobsons Nose (AC)


Indian (North East end of Heckmans I. Topo 21 A/8)

Jake Is. Rock (Topo 21A/8)

Jimmys (near Deep Cove Topo 21A/9)

Kaulback     Rubys (Local)    Heislers (Local)

Klungemache     Burgoynes (Local)

Little Islands (near Brick Hill 2nd Penn. Topo 21A/8)

Little Crow (near Stonehurst East Topo 21A/8)

1929 Mines Map Little Duck

Little Fish

Little Green (Rackets Topo 21A/8)

Little Hermans

Little Island (2nd. Penn)
1945 Chart 4381

Little Island (West Shore)
Swinnehammer (DM 29)
Swinehemers (Chart 4381 - 1940s)

Little Crow (Stonehurst Topo 21A/8)

Little Gooseberry

Little Green (Stonehurst)

Little Rafuse Black (CGM)

1945 Chart 4381 Little Tancook


Lookout (Stonehurst Topo 21A/8)

Loye     Louisa Isles (DesBarres)     Trapeans (AC)     Varlings (Local)



A Church map of Lun. County Mark

Marsh (near Long Topo 21A/8)



Mason     Edward Isle (DesBarres)     Sand Islands - Masons and the Rafuses (AC)

Mason (First Penn.)

1945 Chart 4381 Meisners     Naas (AC)     Norse (1945 Chart 4381)


Mud Islands (near Stonehurst, local name)

Oak     Island No. 28     Gloucester (DesBarres) Smiths (Local)

Pearl     Green (AC &Topo 21 A/8)

Peters ( near Stonehurst East Topo 21A/8)

Plum (near Oak - Local)     Round (Topo 21A/8)

Quaker Chart 4381 1945

Des Barres Prince Harbour Rake

Rafuse     Frederick Isle (DesBarres)     Big Rafuse (Local)

Round     Augustus Isle (DesBarres)     Winters (local)

Round Island Nubble     Mrs. Finneys Hat (local)

Rous     Rouse (DM 29) Moshers (Local)     Stevens (Local)


Saddle (Chester)

Saddle (Aspotogan)


Seacombe     Secomus (AC)

Shaw     Hume (DM 29)     Webber **     Mosher **

Sheep (Ind. Pt.)     Frog (AC)

Sheep (Rackets)

1940s Topo Map Snake

Snipe (Rackets, Local)


Spectacle (Rackets Topo 21 A/8)

Star     Starr (CGM)

Stony (Stonehurst Topo 21A/8)

Strum     Ham     Hamm (DM 29)


Sweat Islands (Topo 21 A/8)

Tanner (Trak and Topo 21 A/8)

Young     Pernette's (CGM)

Westaver     Westhaver (DM 29)

Wilneffs (near Stonehurst Topo 21A/8)


Zwicker     Green (US Hydro.)


AC - Ambrose Church, Map of the County of Lunenburg, early 1880s.

Chart 4381, 1945 ed., corrected to 1946 Chart 4381, corrected to 2011.

CGM - Crown Grants Map, Sheet #47, available through NS Dept. of Natural Resources.

DesBarres - DesBarres Atlantic Neptune, March 1779.
(Mahone Bay Harbour is Prince Harbour , Mackworth Bay is near Oak Is, Mahone Bay is the area between Aspotogan and Chester.)

DM 29 - Department of Mines, 1929.

** Eaton, K., History of Shaw Island, Lancelot Press, 1984.

Island Numbers - Coveys-Island No. 7, Oak Island No.28, from original grants.

Topographical Maps 21/8, 1940, ed. Topographical Maps 21/8 and 9, 2000 ed.

Trak - Mahone Bay Geobathymetrical Chart,

US Hydro - US Navy Hydrographic Office chart "from British Surveys 1862 -1864" Pub.1903, corrected/printed 1927.

Compiled by the MICA RD Committee, March, 2016

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Updated September 28, 2022
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