I might not be the most qualified person to write this blog. I am a confirmed landlubber, having spent almost all of my life in Alberta. I will however try to relate my experiences in a part of the world that has grown dear to my heart.
I will say that the Bay of Fundy was not love-at -first sight to me. I visited a portion of Fundy National Park and nearby Alma where I sampled the tastiest scallops I can imagine- much different than the rubbery little hockey pucks we get in Alberta The tidal flats are not the most pretty of scenes that you will ever see. They are very diverse and interesting places to explore on low tide however. Even the famous "flower pots" of Hopewell Rocks were a bit of a disappointment to me.. It took a bit of time for me to realize what it was that I was looking at -one of the natural wonders of the world!
Remnants of the bygone era of wooden shipbuilding dot the shore. In Harvey Bank, New Brunswick we found the old Turner Shipyard and a memorial to the "Revolving Light" - a ship that was launched from that spot on 1875 and out into the Bay of Fundy. It reminded me that European history in this part of the world goes back hundreds of years. Acadian settlement, British conquest, American Independance and even a threatened Fenian uprising (which helped to the hasten the formation of the Dominion of Canada) are all part of the story.
It wasn't until I had a chance to get out into the bay that I really appreciated it for the wonder it is. The" highest tides in the world" are something I've heard again and again, What does this really mean? For me, it means an amazing diversity of aquatic life that is represented in one thing... whales!
My first trip to Grand Manan Island and whale-watching tour on "Sea Watch Tours" http://www.seawatchtours.com/ resulted in sightings of many of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whales, along with seabirds and pelagic birds of the open ocean (such as shearwaters and puffins). Right whales are the "cows" of whales. Over fifty feet long, they float on top of the water - taking long naps between foraging. They begin to rock from tip to tail and once you see the tail come out of the water, you know they will disappear for extended periods - diving perhaps hundreds of feet to the bottom of the bay for food. Then once again they ascend to the surface and you can see and hear the clouds of mist and air expelled from their gigantic lungs. In fact we were close enough to smell their breath! I don't care who you are (or how cynical or jaded you have become) being in close contact with whales is one of the most amazing things you will ever experience as long as you live. The next day we took the ferry from Saint John to Digby, Nova Scotia and I will never forget the experience of slipping into Digby Harbor after crossing the bay from New Brunswick.
My second trip to Grand Manan was even more spectacular. This time we took a sailing ship http://www.whales-n-sails.com/ out into the bay to a spot where it meets the Gulf of Maine. I rode on the bow of the ship the entire way (which was well worth the price of admission in itself). I spotted the whales by their dual spouts of mist on the ocean ahead. As we approached the location, we could see hundreds of seabirds flying all around us and (in the water) harbor porpoises swam alongside. Whirlpools caused by the rapidly rising tide and upwellings from the bottom caused a feeding frenzy beyond my imagination. Three types of whales were in attendance that afternoon; minke whales (the smallest of the baleen whales), gigantic finbacks and the stars of the show - the humpbacks.
My last trip I made to the area was Campobello Island (in 2013). We arrived on the island via two ferries. One government ferry to Deer Island and another private ferry to Campobello. The weather wasn't great on our way to the island, but the fog lifted like a veil at the end of our journey, revealing the pretty coast of Maine and the island itself.
|Eastport, Maine from ferry|
Most of the visitors to this small Canadian island seem to be American, because it is most easily accessed by bridge from Lubec, Maine. The main thing that drew my attention to Campobello was its association with a man that I believe was the greatest president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His mother and father took 3 year old Franklin there in 1883 and they loved the place so much it became their summer home. Eventually Franklin and his wife Eleanor had their own cottage on the island where they visited almost every summer up until he became president. Tragically, in August 1921, it was at this cottage he developed the paralytic disease which left him forever paralyzed from the waist down. This huge setback didn't stop him from going on to be the 32nd President of the United States. The Roosevelt's property is now the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, which takes up a major part of the island.
On my second trip to Nova Scotia, I had the good fortune to witness the Bay of Fundy from the air and I was able to observe the "Digby Neck". The neck is a long peninsula formed of volcanic rock that extends from Nova Scotia into the bay. It, along with some other places on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy are places that I would like to visit to complete my odyssey to this unique part of the world. Though I can probably count my time spent around the Bay of Fundy in days, it is a region that has opened my eyes to the marine world and changed the way that I see nature as a whole.
|Liberty Point, Campobello|