Thursday, November 30, 2006

Right whales heading south...finally!

Good news to report this week. About 40 rare North Atlantic right whales that were lingering in the Bay of Fundy are finally heading south. It's assumed that they delayed their departure by six weeks because of an abundance of plankton in the Bay.

The Department of Fisheries reports that they were spotted in the Gulf of Maine as they ventured further south.

Earlier this month, lobster fishermen agreed not to set traps within two kilometres of a whale in a bid to prevent entanglements, while the Fisheries Department conducted aerial surveillance flights to track their movements.

Officials and conservation groups say the whale's eventual departure caps a bleak season that saw the loss of two females and the deaths of a calf and adult that were hit by ships in the summer feeding grounds.

Two whales could have produced in excess of 20 calves over their lifetimes - a vital contribution to a population that has dwindled to about 320 worldwide after years of being slaughtered, dying in gear or being struck by ships.

About 19 right whales were born this year, but one calf was killed and a pregnant female died in U.S. waters.

Scientists and ecologists are hoping to reduce the risk of ship strikes by pressing the International Maritime Organization to make the Roseway Basin an area to be avoided by large vessels. Whales migrate to the basin, a diverse ecosystem rich in marine life off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia, every year to feed on plankton and other food sources.

Lori Murrison of the Grand Manan Whale and Seaboard Research Station said Transport Canada has approved the initiative to issue an advisory to seafarers and is optimistic the international group will approve it, possibly next year.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bay of Fundy wrack lines

Wrack lines are rows of seaweed, shells pieces, driftwood, etc. that run the length of the beach marking the place where the tide reaches its highest point. Since the tides of the Bay of Fundy differ in height every day a quick glance down the beach will often give you a glimpse past few days' tidal history.

I snapped this photo at our tidal harbour when I was out walking the dog on the weekend. There are 5 clear wrack lines there showing that the tide was higher in the first cycle (1), then slightly lower on the subsequent four cycles. One big full moon tide will scoop up all those rack lines and form a nice neat line along the beach above them all!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Strange uses for Bay of Fundy lighthouses

I've heard of people having their weddings at lighthouses, etc., but today heard of something even more fun (okay, so I'm a car nut!): Cape d'Or Lighthouse and approaching cliffside roads being used for 2007 truck road tests by General Motors - no kidding!

Here's a taste of Lesley Wimbush's road test commentary...(photos also by Lesley).

We're high above the point where the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia runs into the Minas channel and yet, the clifftops of Cape D'or tower over us. Winding down and around the jagged cliffs and thick forest, a rough road resembling a logging trail ends at a ledge that juts out into the Bay. Perched on this ledge, the Lighthouse of Cape D'or overlooks the hauntingly remote panorama of the Fundy shoreline.

Our arrival at the lighthouse turned bed and breakfast was a scheduled lunch stop on a two-day driving program - a Canadian press launch for General Motors new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Our journey had begun in New Brunswick, with photo stops at the fossil strewn shoreline of Joggins, where fishing boats were left stranded by the receding tide.
We'd reached our rest stop via the harrowing forest road, bordered only by a battered guardrail. Parking our trucks and making our way to the edge of the cliff, more than one person remarked that it could just be the end of the earth....

To read more, take a look at Lesley's full posting (Nov. 24) on!

Friday, November 24, 2006

High/low tide aerial photos

I was digging around in my photo archives this afternoon (a.k.a. cleaning my office) and came across these rarely seen aerial photos of the tide in and tide out at Hopewell Rocks on the New Brunswick side of the bay. Another perspective of the tidal 'scene' in the bay with the awesome tides!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

other awesome Fundy books

There are several other Bay of Fundy books that I'd recommend:

  • Whales of Fundy - a pocket-sized guide to the whales who visit the Bay.
  • Dykes & Aboiteaux - another tiny book that tells the story of the elaborate sluice innovation that allowed the Acadians to cultivate the vast Fundy Bay marshlands for over one hundred years.
  • Tangled in the Bay - a children's book written by Fundy whale researcher, Deborah Tobin. The story of a right whale mother & daughter in the Bay of Fundy, who come to the Bay to feed in the rich waters and prepare for the winter.
  • Dawning of the Dinosaurs - Important fossil finds have occurred in the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Fundy. The story of the rise and fall of the dinosaurs.
Got a favourite Fundy read? send me a note using the comment link below!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Seven Wonders of the World

Did you know that there is currently a global competition to name the seven wonders of the world? In this case it's the seven manmade/architectural wonders of the world...the Egyptian Pyramids being the only surviving structure of the orginal seven wonders of the ancient world.

Anyone in the world can vote by visiting:

Contest organizer, Swiss Adventurer Bernard Weber, "felt it is time for something new to bring the world together" and to "symbolize a common pride in global cultural heritage".

I think it's also time to re-consider the NATURAL wonders of the world. The Bay of Fundy is sometimes identified as one of the world's great natural wonders, along with the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon, and Mount Everest. Yet, by times, the Bay of Fundy turns up on a list of Seven Forgotten Wonders of the World - ah, that's not so good!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Favourite Bay of Fundy books

The annual Atlantic Canadian booklet arrived in the mail this weekend, reminding me that there are many excellent Bay of Fundy titles out there for consideration as Christmas gifts. I seem to have a habit of collecting Fundy books. One of my favourites...

Tidal Life: A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy
by Harry Thurston - I've read and re-read this book many times and give it to speakers at Fundy conferences or to new people who have moved to my Fundy community. Harry's writing is captivating and informative and the photos are stunning. Published by Nimbus in both hard & soft cover and available at independent book stores, assorted Fundy gift shops and Chapters/Amazon.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Greenpeace, YouTube & Bottom Trawling

Now that I've got a couple months of blogging experience, I figured YouTube was the next web medium to explore. And what to my wondering eyes should appear today but a new video spoof by Greenpeace slamming Canada's stance on deep-sea dragging just as a
six-day round of talks on sustainable fisheries begin at the United Nations.

The online ad features the lippy kids from South Park: their target is the Canadian government and its opposition to a ban on bottom trawling on the high seas.

Greenpeace Canada said they launched the ad Friday as a way to reach a segment of the population who might not otherwise be familiar with Ottawa's position on trawling.

Opponents of bottom trawling say the heavy, weighted nets destroy sensitive marine habitats as they drag along the ocean floor. Conservation groups note that Ottawa has long supported
a ban on drift-netting. They maintain that if Canada refuses to back a trawling ban, along with Spain, Iceland and Japan, it's unlikely the UN will pass a tough resolution outlawing dragging.

Sounds like a perfect time to dash off a note to my local Member of Parliament!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bay of Fundy in November?

Just had these photos and a fascinating note from Trish at the Annapolis Historic Gardens in the town of Annapolis Royal on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy...reporting dozens of unusual sights in the gardens for this time of year!

Nov. 13 - I had absolutely no intention of doing another Bloom Report for 2006, since the season is over. But then today happened, and well, it's just too nice out there not to share it with others! A member emailed me this morning and told me about some things she found as she walked the Gardens this weekend, including forsythia in the Victorian Garden. So naturally, I thought I should grab my camera and take a few photos. 193 shots later, I came home! The Gardens right now are like a magical treasure hunt... if you keep your eyes open and really explore the Gardens carefully, you'll discover all sorts of flowers, berries or other interesting colour and texture. ~ Trish

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Green Thai Curry Mussels

This month's mussel recipe: Green Thai Curry Mussels...mmmmm!
This recipe is imported from our neighbouring province: Newfoundland! I plucked it right off St John's Telegram newspaper's food section while visiting that fine part of Canada this week. I have to confess, I haven't made this recipe yet so if you venture forth before I do, send me a note to let me know how it turned out!!

Green Thai Curry Mussels
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as an appetizer

1 Tbsp veg oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp green thai curry paste (or more if you like it spicier)
1 14 oz can coconut milk
juice of a lime
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 lbs fresh mussels
1/4 chpd cilantro

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and curry paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar & soy sauce and bring to a gentle simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add mussels, cover, and cook until just open (about 3-4 minutes). Divide the mussels and sauce among bowls, sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Can also be served atop steamed rice.

green thai curry paste is available at Asian markets or in the Asian food aisle of most supermarkets.

Previous mussel recipes on my blog include October's Spiced Beer Mussels and September's Mussels Panagea. Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Whales Linger in the Bay of Fundy

Bay of Fundy whales have been in the news a lot in the past few days. Here's photo of a Right whale seen last week by Quoddy Link Marine the coast of Black's Harbour on the New Brunswick side of the bay. Whales in the bay are not normally very newsworthy but whales in the bay at this time of year are! Usually by now all but a couple Bay of Fundy whales have gone into the Gulf of Maine then south for the winter.

Yesterday, the Department of Fisheries & Oceans reported 22 whales in the bay during an aerial assessment and it is estimated that there could be up to 30 out there.

The most pressing concern is that the lobster fishing season is about to re-commence in the this part of the bay. The $30-million fishery takes place in two areas and involves about 300 boats. Possible entanglement of whales in fishing gear as well as boat strikes pose risks to our visiting whale population.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fundy cliffside apple picking

Just completed one of the more extreme sports in our family - cliffside apple picking! While we have access to many wild apple trees on our property here by the Bay of Fundy it's always this particular tree, hanging over the edge of a 200 foot cliff, that bears the best fruit. Snapped this pic atop the cliff with the bay's horizon looking like it could make a fine slice of that perfect apple!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Monitoring the Bay of Fundy

There are many people and interesting groups around the Bay of Fundy keeping a pretty close eye on the health and vitality of the many different aspects of our bay.

One organization, based right in the bay, is Fundy Baykeeper. Fundy Baykeeper works for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick to defend the public's right to a healthy Bay of Fundy. This right is inherent in laws written to protect the marine environment and the species that inhabit it. Too often, however, these laws are not enforced. Part investigator,
scientist, lawyer, advocate and educator, the Fundy Baykeeper's top priority is to make sure environmental laws are enforced as citizens expect them to be.

This photo shows the fine vessel that Fundy Baykeeper, David Thompson, uses to patrol the Bay of Fundy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bay of Fundy poetry

I'm sure that the Bay of Fundy is not the only dramatic seascape to inspire pen to paper! The first time I recall seeing the bay in poetry was Bliss Carmen's Low Tide on Grand Pre in high school English. Bliss Carmen, born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was, at the time, Canada's best known poet.

Fundy poetry popped to mind recently when I met a come-from-away Parrsboro resident, Donna Sheehy, who just published a book of poetry called "Romancing on the Bay of Fundy: My Soul's Attraction".

Here is a sample of her Bay of Fundy poetry....

There is a rhythm in this place
with a gentle stillness and grace,
unlike anywhere I have been
it touches the soul from within.

The aroma of salt in the air
breezes whisper like a prayer,
alongside the pebbled beach
with blue skies endless reach.

The woodlands frame the coast
a wildlife haven for all to boast,
life is astir in this bountiful place
unharmed by society’s embrace.

Stand silent, face toward the sea
close your eyes and you’ll agree,
the rhythm of this beautiful Bay
will hypnotically lure you away.

"The Rhythm on the Bay"
by Donna Sheehy
Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved.