Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bay of Fundy video

Yesterday I had an email from a traveller looking for a comprehensive video of the Bay of Fundy to share with his friends back home. This is the first video that came to mind - I know it is still available to purchase on line....

Where The Bay Becomes The Sea (29:27 minutes)
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Still available to order on line, link to location on NFB website.

The richness, complexity and fragility of marine life unfold like a Persian carpet in this beautiful film. The bay of the title is the Bay of Fundy, and where it meets the sea a unique ecosystem has developed. The film traces the intricate interrelationships within the food chain, from tiny plankton, through birds and seals, and finally to whales and humans. More than just a visual feast, the film is a plea for careful management of our ocean resources. First telecast as part of the
Nature of Things series.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fundy Ferry Saved!

I was relieved to hear this morning that Bay Ferries will be continuing its ferry service across the Bay of Fundy. This is a great service that runs year round back and forth between Saint John, New Brunswick and Digby, Nova Scotia. Just two weeks ago I took this trip with a bunch of tourism folks from the region. There has actually been a ferry service operating across this part of the Bay of Fundy since the early 1800s...well before any significant roadways, let alone highways, were in place. Ridership aboard the current vessel, Princess of Acadia, has decreased somewhat over the past few years which is really too bad as it's an inexpensive way to cruise the bay and also cut down on the driving. If you're lucky you may even see a whale during the crossing! Many folks in the Digby and Saint John areas frequently walk aboard the ferry and venture over to the "other side" to visit friends and relatives.

(added ferry photo on Oct.31)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bay of Fundy wins!

We won!
Last night at the Canadian national tourism conference in Jasper, Alberta, the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership was presented with a national award: the Parks Canada Award for Sustainable Tourism. I've been working with the Partnership for 9 years, so I got to go out to receive the award.

For about a year now we've been doing green business assessments for our member tourism operators: natural and historical attractions, accommodations and adventures. I'm really excited that all this hard work to make the Bay of Fundy a greener place is being recognized. Our partner for the implementing the eco-business program is Dalhousie University's Eco-efficiency Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here is a picture of me and Peggy (Manager of the Eco-efficiency Centre) in our fancy clothes accepting the award during the gala event.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Whales are following me!

The last thing I expected to see in the world's largest mall was a whale! I knew that West Edmonton Mall had “something for everyone” but I was surprised and oddly amused to discover a life-sized (albeit a bit stout) baleen whale sculpture emerging out of concrete tub in mall floor. Interpretation about this gentle giant was unfortunately a bit scant. With the volume of people moving through West Ed, it struck me as an interesting opportunity to raise awareness of Canadian whales, their endangerment and their sensitive habitats. Or maybe the wishing coins that speckle its tub could be collected for whale research. If such awareness has to take place indoors at least it is better than live shows were captive whales and other sea mammals are “on show”…in my view.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chick outta water!

Bay of Fundy chick meets Alberta prairie city…I’ve just arrived in western Canada to attend a national tourism conference for the next few days. The Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership project that I manage (my day job) has been short listed for a national award for sustainable tourism. Before heading out to the resort town of Jasper to attend the TIAC conference I’ve decided to visit the famous West Edmonton Mall...I'm told no visit to Edmonton is complete without it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Do we really eat seaweed?

I really wasn't joking in my last post, we do eat seaweed here in the Bay of Fundy...and not just because it's good for us. We actually like the taste! well, not everyone likes it, of course, but those who like it sure like it a lot. Sun-dried dulse is eaten as is or is ground into flakes or a powder (then dispensed from a shaker - see photo). I use dulse flakes wherever others might use salt. It's especially nice on poached or scrambled eggs, and also on baked potatoes. It can also be pan fried quickly (garlic butter optional) into tasty chips or baked in the oven covered with cheese then add salsa. When I was a kid we'd toss some on the back of the woodstove in the kitchen to crisp it up - try the microwave for a few seconds now. It can also be used in soups, chowders, sandwiches and salads, or added to bread/pizza dough.

Seaweed anyone?

While we are on the topic of Bay of Fundy culinary delights, I feel compelled to share my love of one of our more unusual foods: dulse. Dulse is a natural sea vegetable (a fancy way of saying seaweed). It grows on the rocks at the low tide line in many areas of the Bay of Fundy. Dulse is best picked at the full and new moom tides (locals in my area call these "dulsing tides") each summer.

In most parts of Fundy it is hand picked then dried naturally, on beach rocks, by sea breezes under the summer sun. Dulse is sold year round in most corner stores, grocery stores and farm markets around the Bay of Fundy. I keep a small stash in the car and in my briefcase in case I get the munchies while traveling. Outside Atlantic Canada I often get funny looks from people while I chomp away on my seaweed snack!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Spiced Beer Mussels

I promised to share more steamed mussel recipes after last month's posting of Mussels Panagea. The spices in this recipe are warm and appealing - perfect for the Bay of Fundy's cooling autumn temperatures.

Spiced Beer Mussels

12-ounce bottle of beer (not dark)
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 lemon wedges
3 dozen mussels, scrubbed well in several changes of water with the beards scraped off
minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

In a large pot, bring the beer to a boil with the bay leaves, the cloves, the coriander seeds, the mustard seeds, the cayenne, the salt, and the lemon wedges and boil the mixture, covered partially, for two minutes. Add the mussels, steam them, covered, over moderately high heat, stirring once or twice, for 4 to 7 minutes, or until they are opened, and discard any unopened ones. Serve the mussels sprinkled with the parsley.

Serves 6 as an appetizer, about 3 as a main. Don't forget the crusty bread to sop up the juices!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thanksgiving swim in Fundy

Well, it was my yellow lab, Belle, who was in the Bay of Fundy for a swim today - not me! The air temperature was 14 degrees C (about 57 F) and I doubt the water temperature was any warmer! By mid-afternoon the tide turned and started to go out exposing enough beach for a vigorous post-turkey walk for me and repeated swimming for Belle.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tide in...tide out!

Around the Bay of Fundy there are hundreds of interesting places to "see the tides". However, visitors often mistakenly expect to capture Fundy's extreme tidal range during a single trip to the beach.

As any local can tell you, the tides are best seen at low tide and then again (6 hrs, 13 min) later at high tide...but at the same location. These photos are good example of the high/low extremes. But if you'd gone to the beach during high tide only you may not have been terribly impressed - just looks like any pretty cove. It is the difference between high and low that really blows your mind!

These pics were taken by U.S. travel writer, David Rosenthal, when I hosted David and Donna (also a travel writer) here in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, this summer. Thanks to David for permission to post 'em!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"Friendly" Whales?

Just received this note & photo from Bay of Fundy whale watch operator, Tom Goodwin:

This season we had a few very interesting experiences with different humpback whales. 'Who's watching whom?' is the most relevant question. But also, is this good for the whales? ... Are they becoming too 'domesticated'?... is that bad or dangerous for the whales?... is our presence interfering with their normal position in their environment? .... or is it all part of 'evolution'? We whale watch operators are a conscientious lot and we like to think our activities watching whales do NOT
interfere with their behaviour, but when the whales express an interest in us, is that an interference? Hmmmmm

Learn more about Tom and his whale watching experience at Ocean Exploration "Zodiac" Whale Adventures, Tiverton, Nova Scotia

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More Fall Colours

The Bay of Fundy's coastal marshes with their twice daily salt bath from the tides also show off variations in fall colours. I was around the bay this week with a tourism colleague from Toronto, Colin Rusch. Here's a photo he snapped enroute.

This is a tidal river/salt marsh near Hillsborough on the New Brunswick side of the bay. Check out the golden sea grasses glowing beautifully below the bright maples.