Friday, August 31, 2007

Blueberry Ginger Sorbet

Now that our blueberries are abundant, it's a perfect time to 'waste' a whole bunch on blueberry sorbet - combining two of my favourite Bay of Fundy flavours: blueberry and ginger! This recipe comes from The Joy of Ginger cookbook.

Blueberry Ginger Sorbet

1 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar
1 cup + 2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp grated ginger
6 cups wild blueberries
1/4 c lemon juice

1. Combine sugar, water, ginger in medium sauceapn and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Let stand til cool.
2. Place this syrup along with blueberries and lemon juice in blender; blend til smooth. Strain through a fine wire sieve.
3. Refriderate until cold, then freeze.
4. Before serving, take it out of freezer and let stand for a half hour. (The flavours stand out best when softened slightly).

Makes about 5 cups. P.S. Watch out for funny blue teeth!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rapelling at Cape Enrage

In additional to searching for rocks on the beach , there are other ways to get "up close and personal" with Bay of Fundy geology - such as by rappelling. Since our tides cause constant coastal erosion it's best to do this with the assistance of staff who have the gear and the proper training. If you are inclined toward rappelling, you would likely get a kick out of visiting Cape Enrage in New Brunswick. Rappelling here involves about two hours of descents (about 6 repetitions if you're up for them) on 140-ft cliffs overlooking the Bay of Fundy's tides and currents. It will inspire those of us who are middle-aged to know that an 80 year old Fundy gal celebrated her birthday a couple years ago by rappelling at Cape Enrage!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Norman-style chateau on the Bay of Fundy

I just realized that since making the 'architecture' category on my blog last month, I haven't actually created many posts - yet truth be told Bay of Fundy architecture could easily fill its own blog for many years. To me, the architecture around the Bay is such an intriguing mix of classic, creative and quirky!

Take this Norman-style chateau, for example. It's the Digby Pines Resort in Digby, Nova Scotia. This classic resort has welcomed guests from all over the world to the Bay of Fundy since 1929. During a recent stay at the Pines, I got up early to catch the terrace in morning light as well as the view across the pool to the Bay. I love the ambiance and historic feel of these beautifully maintained vintage hotels!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Look What The Tide Dragged In...

You never quite know what the 100 billion tonnes of water moving into the Bay of Fundy on each tide is going to drag in...

Whale tour operator, Quoddy Link Marine in St Andrews, New Brunswick just reported seeing this rare ocean sunfish, Mola mola. Here is an excerpt from the Quoddy Whale blog:

These bizarre looking fish, from the same family as pufferfish, averages about 6 feet long and weighs 2200 lbs! The most obviously strange part is their shape, they look like a fish head without a tail. Through the course of evolution their caudal fin (tail) has disappeared and been replaced by a pseudo-fin called a clavus. Their diet consists mainly of jellyfish and to maintain their bulk they have to consume a very large amount. Ocean sunfish are covered in a slime instead of scales and they swim by a characteristic sculling motion of their dorsal and anal fins. They are the heaviest "bony" fish in the world, but their bodies are actually mostly comprised of cartilaginous tissues which is lighter than bone and can allow them to grow to such a large size (which is uneconomical for other bony fishes).

For a clearer photo and more info on the Mola mola, visit Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oh, To Be A Bay of Fundy Cow!

This is definitely not the first time I've come across a field of cows grazing nonchalantly beside a million dollar view. I find quite refreshing that we've got so many lovely fields like this around the Bay of Fundy. In many other parts of the world pastures with such views would have already been sold for housing developments. Maybe we're a bit behind the times but maybe we like it that way....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blueberry Cake

The Bay of Fundy region has the perfect soil and climate for growing blueberries. Early August bring the wild blueberry harvest season which will continue for about a month. I noticed the first folks out scooping this morning. Looks like time to dust of my favourite blueberry cake recipe. This is the best!

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Sauce

1 scant cup butter, room temp
2 c white sugar
½ c milk
½ c hot water
4 eggs
3 ¼ c flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 c blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream butter and sugar. Add milk and boiling water. Stir. Sift flour, salt & baking powder. Add alternately with eggs. Fold in berries gently. Put in 9 x 13 pan.


Mix the following with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle atop the cake batter in the pan.
½ c brown sugar
½ c cold butter
¾ c flour

Bake at 350F for 45 min to 1 hr

Generally, I'm all for making everything from scratch but seriously this is an awesome sauce that is a whole lot easier to make: it's lemon pie filling! Just mix according to directions, but add up to 1 c extra water to thin it to sauce consistancy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Quartz crystals

One of the neat things about basalt is that other rock seams are sometimes found between its layers. A rough seam of quartz crystals lies exposed at Cape Sharp. Here are some photos I took last weekend (with my hand in there for some perspective). Typically Fundy, I think there might be some agate mixed in there too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Columnar basalt

Probably the best known example of columnar basalt around the Bay of Fundy is Balancing Rock in Tiverton, between Digby and Brier Island, Nova Scotia. It only takes about 15 minutes to hike out to the lookoff. Here it's obvious that the original lava cooled into angular columns. You may have heard of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland - one of the world's amazing places to see hexagonal basalt columns. I haven't been there yet but it's on my list!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Molten lava in the Bay of Fundy

Basalt is the most common type of solidified lava on earth; it actually makes up most of the ocean floor. The Bay of Fundy tides, our constant erosion and our complicated geological history result in a good deal of basalt available here to be 'seen'. Previous readers of my blog will recall references to 'basalt headlands' such as the one over my shoulder at Cape Sharp in Sunday's post two days ago. That's is basalt in its craigy, scarpy form. Basalt also presents here in two other ways: as obvious columns and as rock faces smoothed by the tides. I always think that the smooth basalt looks close to its original molten lava form. I snapped this photo at Cape Sharp beach.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hike to Cape Sharp

Took advantage of the great weather this weekend to hike out to Cape Sharp lighthouse. Cape Sharp is located near the village of Black Rock, overlooking the Minas Channel (near where the proposed tidal energy project may be) near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The hike to the lighthouse is about 20 minutes via the old access road. The lighthouse was automated in 1989 so that road is only traversable by foot now. Doesn't bother me - it's well worth it for both the view and the solitude. The lighthouse itself is a salt shaker style, dating from 1886. It stands about 35 feet in height and its light reaches out 11 miles in the upper Bay of Fundy. That's just about perfect because that's pretty much the distance over to Cape Blomidon on the opposite side of the Bay! Luckily the tide was out today enabling me to take this photo looking up to the lighthouse from the beach - at high tide here I'd be way under water. All safe up on the lighthouse though where I stopped to explore the panoramic view.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tidal energy info sessions start Monday

Just heard that the Offshore Energy Environmental Research Association will hold a series of six environmental assessment community forums starting next Monday.

The forums will provide an opportunity to share information about the potential to generate tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy using tidal in-stream turbines.

"The Bay of Fundy may be the best location in the world for grid-connected tidal power generation, but this form of renewable energy technology is still very new," said Meinhard Doelle, chairman of the Fundy Tidal Energy Technical Advisory Group.

The forums will run from 7 to 9 p.m. The dates and locations are:

August 13, Monday, Yarmouth, Rodd Grand Yarmouth;

August 14, Tuesday, Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa;

August 15, Wednesday, Wolfville, Acadia University;

August. 20, Monday, Parrsboro, Fundy Geological Museum; Aug. 21,

Truro, Best Western Glengarry Hotel; Aug. 22, Halifax, Dalhousie University.

Pre-registration for the forums is available at Offshore Energy Research office (click on Events) or by calling Wanda Barrett at 1-888-257-8688. For more info on tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy see the sidebar of my blog.

Actual site of highest recorded Fundy tides

Yikes! I neglected to mention one more very interesting location for seeing the tides around the Bay of Fundy: the site where the highest tides in the world measurement was taken! The record was set at Burncoat Head, near Maitland, Nova Scotia. Burncoat Head Community Park consists of a great little park and restored lighthouse/interpretive centre. Here you can walk on the beach at low tide, view the tides from the lookoff, and explore the many smooth sandstone rock formations. The rock formations are so intriguing here that Burncoat Head looks like a moonscape (see photos). All rock formations become small islands at high tide of course. The normal tidal range here is about 15 metres or 50 feet. The record here is 17 metres or 56 feet.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How to 'see' tides - 4th way

4) One other way to see the tides is to visit a location where the tidal rapids, whirlpools or rips can be seen. The Bay of Fundy coast is definitely not smooth and linear; there are many craigy cliffs and sharp headlands jutting out into the Bay and, I supppose, in some ways interfere with the flow of water in and out of the Bay, or at the very least cause the water to flow in interesting patterns.

This is a photo of the "Old Sow: the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere, the second largest in the world - second only to the Maelstrom Whirlpool of Norway. Located between Deer Island and Indian Island, this natural wonder can be seen from the shores of Eastport, Maine. It is called “Old Sow” because of the sounds that are heard from the churning waters. The best time to see the "Old Sow" is 3 hours before high tide.

Other places to see tidal rapids and rips include:
in New Brunswick

  • by boat in the Passamaquoddy Bay (such as off the coast of St Andrews or between Black's Harbour and Deer Island)
  • Reversing Falls in Saint John
  • Cape Enrage
in Nova Scotia
  • Cape d'Or near Advocate
  • Cape Split - it's a 4 hr hike out there (near Wolfville)
  • in the water passages of Digby Neck and Islands: Long Island, Brier Island

Monday, August 06, 2007

How to 'see' tides - 3rd way

3) Vertical Tidal Effect - This is the effect seen at most of our wharves around the bay. This is also best seen at high then low tide but if you are really stuck and can only visit for an hour or so, plan to visit at low tide. At low tide local fishing boats are sitting high and dry on the ground against the wharf while the tide is a mile or so away. Or at low tide thick gooey riverbanks and riverbeds of mud are exposed. See photos in the high-low photo section of my blog.

Some of my favourite harbours where this can be seen...
in New Brunswick:

  • Alma, St Martins, Hopewell Cape, the Chocolate River near Hillsborough, Petticodiac River in Moncton, Sackville
in Nova Scotia
  • Advocate Harbour, Parrsboro, Hall's Harbour, Margaretsville, Harbourville, Digby

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How to 'see' the tides - 2nd way

Here's another way to 'see' the tides...

2) Horizontal Tidal Effect - this phenomenon occurs in many locations in the upper part of the Bay of Fundy but you need to allow 6 hours to appreciate it. Basically, it involves going to the same beach at both high and low tide to see the difference. If you are accustomed to the 1-6 foot tides in the rest of the world, this may not sound very impressive. However, with the volume of water we have moving in & out of the Bay (100 billion tonnes each tide, 50 ft tides) the horizontal effect can be a truly an amazing sight!

At low tide a vast expanse of the ocean floor is exposed. In the upper part of the Bay the tide can be a few miles away from where it was at high tide. And, of course, there is nothing like sea kayaking at high tide over where you were previously walking at low (see links).

Here are a few of my favourite places to explore the horizontal effect:
In New Brunswick...

  • St Martins - eat 'world's best chowder' at the waterfront restaurant, explore the ocean floor and sea caves at low tide. Seakayaking available. You can also get out onto the beach at the Fundy Trail or at least see the intertidal zone from its various accessible lookoffs.
  • Alma - explore the intertidal zone (that's what we call the exposed ocean floor) carefully on your own or take in a program there at Fundy National Park. Sea kayaking.
  • Hopewell Rocks - the Rocks (as we locals call 'em) are probably the most photographed image of the Bay of Fundy. There is a great interp centre here as well as many acccessible lookoffs and, of course, access to the ocean floor and the famous 'flower pot' sea stacks. Seakayaking here too.
On the Nova Scotia side of the bay...
  • Joggins - one of the coolest things about low tide at Joggins is the exposure of a vast expanse of fossils and geological reefs. Previous blog readers may remember me mentioning that the Joggins Fossil Cliffs will soon receive UNESCO world heritage site status. There is a fabulous new interpretive centre under construction there - should be open this fall. There is still beach access there now but it kinda helps to be with staff so you know what you are looking at! Kayaking in nearby Advocate.
  • Five Islands - the stretch of Route 2 from the village of Economy, through Five Islands then to Parrsboro is one of the best places to see the vast intertidal zone. Here both Five Islands Provincial Park and Two Islands (near Parrsboro) are not surrounded by water at low tide. Recent readers will recall me mentioning the 'new' Not Since Moses' running event around the Five Islands at low tide. Don't try this without a guide!
  • Grand Pre - One of the most easily accessible Bay beaches Evangeline Beach near Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. Grand Pre is the village near Wolfville. The nice thing about visiting Grand Pre is that during the 6 hr interval there is lots to do in the area. There is a national historic site in the village of Grand Pre itself - recalling the history of the Acadians (our French settlers who were expelled in the 1780s). This is also Nova Scotia wine country; there are several wineries in the area - one , the Grand Pre Winery, right in Grand Pre.
(added photo on Aug 10 - Five Islands at low tide)