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About Dale, The Maritime Explorer

Welcome to the blog and website of Dale Dunlop, the Maritime Explorer. I’ve been exploring the Maritimes and the world and writing about it from my base in beautiful St. Margaret’s Bay for over twenty-five years. My wife Alison Scott has been at my side the entire way as have at various times my sons Alex and Dale Jr. and my daughter Lenore. Two generations of miniature poodles have trotted, ran and slogged through thousands of miles of hiking trails and cross-country ski tracks with nary a complaint. A hardy group of intrepid adventurers from around the province have been my companions on some of the most interesting and unique explorations I have been privileged to be a part of. As a child of Nova Scotian parents and later a teenager growing up far away from their home province, I would revel in reading about it in the books of Clara Dennis and Will R.Bird. My favourite was Off-Trail in Nova Scotia that described Mr. Bird’s travels to some of the most remote and unfrequented places in Nova Scotia. I had to see these places for myself.

Upon returning to Nova Scotia in 1974 I set about the task of driving every road, hiking every trail, visiting every museum – you get the idea. Along the way I started taking detailed notes and photographs to document the many wondrous places I encountered, often almost literally in my backyard. While the books of Ms. Dennis and Mr. Bird were wonderful, they were long out of print and nothing had come along to replace them. That led to the publication by Alison and me of Exploring Nova Scotia by Formac Publishing in 1995, followed by five more editions since then, the latest in 2010. It has sold well over 20,000 copies and continues to be used by many as their guide to exploring Nova Scotia. Although it is not easy to get established as a travel writer, and it certainly will never supplant the income from my day job as a lawyer, the publication of Exploring Nova Scotia did open the door for many more opportunities to explore and write about not just Nova Scotia, but Atlantic Canada and the world as well. This in turn led to the ability to qualify for membership in a number of travel writing organizations including the Travel Media Association Canada (TMAC), the North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA) the Golf Journalists Association of Canada (GJAC) and most recently, the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). It also enabled me to be sponsored for membership in the Explorer’s Club and elected a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Unlike many freelance travel journalists, I do not go on free fam trips where one is expected to write effusively about the places visited, regardless of how crappy they really are. I select my destinations and pay my way to get there. While I am more than happy to accept some help from the destination like admission and transportation passes, I always pay for my accommodations and meals. The opinions I write are my own and can’t be bought.

On this site you will find links to published stories from many magazines and newspapers as well as photo galleries that contain many more photographs than the original stories. However, this site is about far more than published stories. The stories under Destinations & Explorations contain descriptions of trips I’ve never tried to publish, but are the ones I am most proud of because they are about exploring and not just traveling. They reflect my experiences in the many places around the world and are updated on a regular basis. The picture on my home page was taken by Alison at the Balancing Rock on Digby Neck more than a few years ago and while I can only wish I was still that young, the spirit of exploration remains strong. So come along with the Maritime Explorer and see what a wonderful journey life can be if you only let it.