Working as I do in the tourism field I run across all kinds of cool travelers at various conferences across the country. I wasn't really expecting to see a certain Mr Claus this close to Christmas but that's exactly what happened at the November national tourism conference.
I was actually seeking colleagues who were voting for Bay of Fundy in the New7Wonders of Nature contest and wow, did I find them. Check out this video of the whole crew:
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Working as I do in the tourism field I run across all kinds of cool travelers at various conferences across the country. I wasn't really expecting to see a certain Mr Claus this close to Christmas but that's exactly what happened at the November national tourism conference.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Hey there Santa....you'd better get a move on!
Yes, it's true, the big red guy was spotted this week relaxing at Eau Spa at the Old Orchard Inn & Spa, near Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and we've got photo evidence to prove it. hmmm maybe he was there buying me gift certificates...in that case, carry on with your good deeds, Mr Claus!
Monday, December 14, 2009
One of my favourite little corners of the Bay of Fundy universe is the village of Bear River, near Digby, Nova Scotia. Bear River is located about 6 km from the Bay of Fundy on an extreme tidal river.
Bear River is well-known throughout the region as a mecca for resident artisans and as Bay of Fundy's 'village on stilts'. I was recently in the area for several days and enjoyed both the view and the food at the Bear River Cafe, pictured here.
To learn more about Bear River, check out another local blog: Flora & Larry's chronicling their adventure moving from Toronto (pop'n 2 million) to Bear River (pop'n 800)
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I've always been fond of Bay of Fundy books, poems & music so it's great to see another book to add to the collection especially near the holidays. The book is Head of the Bay by Jeffrey Ward
"A History of the Maringouin Peninsula". Here's a book description as sent by Al Smith, with Tantramar Heritage Trust in Sackville, NB.
Tales of heroism, hardship, sacrifice and success animate the pages of The Head of the Bay, by Jeff Ward. The bay in question is the Bay of Fundy and, in particular, its upper end, where the Maringouin Peninsula divides its tidal waters into Shepody Bay and Cumberland Basin. Now virtually forgotten, the communities of the peninsula once played an important role in the industrial and commercial history of Atlantic Canada. In the nineteenth century, fortunes were won and lost in the shipyards and quarries of the district and place names such as Upper and Lower Rockport, Slacks Cove, Pink Rock, Hard Ledge, and Johnson’s Mills were known and respected far and wide. Ward succeeds unerringly in linking local stories to the wider sweep of current events, showing how even small places and modest lives can influence the shaping of the world.
Looks like a neat book ~ it can be ordered from Tantramar Heritage Trust's website.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
These last few warm weeks of November (it's 15 C/ 60 F today!) mark the end of the fresh fruit harvest here on Bay of Fundy. Starting in June, we've got a series of fresh local berries to enjoy: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and finally cranberries.
In 'top secret' locations all around our bay, local folk still dry pick cranberries by hand or with a scoop. This week, while touring Bay of Fundy, I came upon these fellas harvesting cranberries on a farm near Medford, Nova Scotia. They are "wet raking" cranberries for commercial use. When the cranberries are ready to harvest, the fields are temporarily flooded with about 8 inches of water. The cranberries (which have small air pockets inside them) float to the surface with the gentle encouragement of a hand rake.
The berries are guided to the end of the field with a wooden guide (pictured here) then scooped out and taken for processing. By the way, that's salty band of blue Bay of Fundy along the horizon just past the field.
Probably these berries will be used to make cranberry juice or, even better, cranberry sauce to accompany our Christmas dinners next month!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The 2010 Olympics may start in 79 days but Canadians are getting pumped RIGHT NOW about hosting the games!
Although the games will take place on Canada's west coast, some 4300 kms from Bay of Fundy, we've all been given a fabulous opportunity to participate with the Olympic Torch Relay. The Olympic flame has been visiting various Bay of Fundy communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick during the past few days and will continue across Canada to 200 other towns and cities. If our experience is any indication, the torch will be met with great excitement and enthusiasm as it lights its way across the country!
I attended the relay at Grand Pre National Historic Site in Nova Scotia last week and Hopewell Rocks-Fundy National Park today. Here are some photos of the torch bearers & onlookers on the ocean floor (low tide) as well as my friend Keith (one of the torch bearers) with me and Hopewell Rocks staff grinning happily.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
If you live in Nova Scotia you're probably aware that the province sends one of it's most grandiose 'Christmas' trees to Boston, Massachusetts, every fall. This tree lights up the downtown over the holidays to recognize Bostonians for their many kindnesses following the Halifax Explosion in 1917.
This year a 15 metre (50 foot) white spruce was the tree of choice and this week the tree was transported to Boston via the "Princess of Acadia" (the ferry across Bay of Fundy from Digby, Nova Scotia, to Saint John, New Brunswick). A prestigious guest on a delightful Bay adventure on its way to being enjoyed by our neighbours in Boston!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Cruise ship visits to the Bay of Fundy have increased greatly in the past few years. Due to our tides, of course, there are many harbours without water for much of the day. The Fundy city of Saint John, New Brunswick, is our busiest cruise port with over 180,000 cruise passengers visiting in the run of a year.
There's a swanky new cruise terminal now on the Saint John waterfront (with an adjustable ramp system to allow for tide heights). I was in Saint John last week and was lucky enough to witness the last vessel of the season, the lovely Queen Mary II, swinging a tight U-turn in the harbour right outside our hotel.
Monday, November 02, 2009
An aerial view is one of the best ways to see the full extent of the vast low-tide-exposed ocean floor here on Bay of Fundy (keep your eyes peeled if you fly on a clear day Halifax, Nova Scotia to/from Montreal or Toronto: you'll go right over the upper bay).
Short of flying there are lots of great bluffs & trails with pretty amazing views too. Take this one at Five Islands Provincial Park in Nova Scotia.
This is just the regular view from the lower campground & picnic site. Low tide mud flats, snaking tidal river, layers of coast in the distance: just another breathtaking day (I took this photo yesterday) on Fundy bay. mmmm, yeah.....
p.s. yes those are tire tracks in the lower left corner. Probably from a clammer...
Monday, October 26, 2009
Bay of Fundy farm markets are burgeoning with lots of veggies any time from June onward. Once the autumn weather turns chilly here though my thoughts turn to root & cruciferous veggies. This Harvest Stew recipe is "Vegetarian Thanksgiving in a Pot" so the perfect recipe to share between Canada & U.S. Thanksgivings:
Harvest Vegetable Stew
6 T butter
4 med leeks
1 lb onions
3 1/5 oz parsley root (optional)
4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 t thyme
2 bay leaves
rosemary to taste
1 lb button mushrooms
1 med turnip
2 1/2 c dry white wine
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 lb russet potatoes
1/2 lb brussels sprouts
3 T flour
3 T butter
2 c hot veggie broth
2 T wine vinegar
3 T molasses
3 t paprika
salt & pepper
Melt butter in large pot. Trim and chop leeks & onions. Scrape & thin slice parsley root. Saute with herbs til leeks start to gold. Wash mushrooms and halve if large. Dice turnip in 1/2 dice. Add mushrooms, turnip, wine and W sauce to pot. Stir and lower heat. Dice and peel potatoes, wash & trim sprouts. Add to pot, cover. In another pan, melt rest of butter, add flour. Cook roux for a few minutes, add hot veg broth, stir quickly with whisk. Add vinegar, molasses, paprika, and Tabasco. Stir again til smooth, add to stew.
Simmer, covered, for about 1 hr. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot with dollop of cranberry sauce. P.S. brussel sprouts taste great here (even if you don't usually like em!)
Recipe credit: The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two.
Monday, October 19, 2009
It's never too late to become fascinated with geology and, I'll warn you, such a fascination could very well develop during a visit to the Bay of Fundy! We're surrounded by so much cool geology, you just can't help but find it interesting.
Half the time I have no idea precisely what I'm looking at but that doesn't keep me from being randomly awestruck by Fundy's many rocks & rock formations.
For example, take columnar basalt: these vertical columns are long cylinders with many straight sides (sometime appearing hexagonal from the top). They are the result of the quick cool of lava flow.
There are many basalt cliffs around Bay of Fundy but one of the most accessible and visually intriguing is the famous Balancing Rock on Long Island, near Digby. Here a single column of basalt appears to sit 'balancing' precariously atop the edge of another, while another nearby column pushes up to form a flat step beside its neighbouring columns.
These are two photos I took while hiking there this week.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I've been hiking and exploring coastal regions of the Bay again this week. Despite brisk autumn winds the fall leaf colours are still quite vibrant in a few pockets. I captured this photo on the trail to Balancing Rock on Long Island, near Digby. They showed bright: almost fluorescent!
Monday, October 05, 2009
As most of you know by now, we are participating, along with the Great Barrier Reef and other global natural attractions, in a campaign to declare the New7Wonders of Nature.
What you may not know is that the Bay of Fundy already has many of the individual features of the other sites. Take reefs for example...
Thanks to my friend, Ashley at CPAWS, for sending along this guest post & photo:
The Bay of Fundy is home to large reefs that have been formed by horse mussels (much larger than the blue mussels we eat). Images of the Bay of Fundy seafloor (as seen here) shows the mussels grow into long rows that are up to 4 m high, 40 m wide and 1 km long. That's higher than the ceiling in the average room and larger in area than an average city block!
It is thought these reefs rival Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in size. Only a few horse mussel reefs are known to exist, and the Bay of Fundy reefs are the largest such reefs to be found anywhere in the world.
These reefs are important as they provide habitat for many other species and they also filter nutrients from the water column. They are essentially huge mounds of life surrounded by a bare, sandy seafloor.
Horse reefs are very sensitive to disturbance caused by bottom impacting fishing activities. Some of images show long gauge marks where trawlers have cut into the mussel reefs. Yet another reason why the Bay of Fundy is so unique, diverse and a true natural wonder of the world! ~ Ashley
Wow - who knew!! By the way, the Nova Scotia chapter of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is working to spread awareness about the reefs and find solutions to best protect them. Learn more!
Thursday, October 01, 2009
As much as I love walking along the coast of Bay of Fundy's many tidal beaches, I'm also wildly fond of getting on the water to experience whale watching or sea kayaking.
Yesterday I experienced one of those 'best day of my life' days on a kayak tour with NovaShores Adventures along the coast of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park in Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia.
We 12 (both experienced and brand new kayakers) paddled along the dramatic coastline past sheer 200 foot cliffs, secluded coves, and carved rock formations - including the famous Three Sisters sea stacks.
It was a warm day (20 C, 75 F) and an exciting paddle (leaving at high tide and returning a few hours later on the same beach where the tide was waaaay out!). These tours are available from May to late October (winds permitting!) from the Eatonville day-use entrance of Cape Chignecto Park.
If there are any in your party who'd rather not kayak, they can visit the visitors' centre and the two trails in the Eatonville day-use area and watch you kayak below!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Longtime readers of my blog know that my yellow lab, Belle, is always keen to explore the Bay. What I may not have mentioned is that, although she is now 10 years old, (pretty much geriatric in dog years) she is one unstoppable adventurer!
This weekend we enjoyed a day or so hiking Fundy National Park's day trails: Coastal Trail, Matthews Head, Point Wolfe, Dickson Falls & Herring Cove beach. In total, we hiked about 10 km. The trails ranged in effort from moderate to strenuous with many steep but spectacular sections on the Coastal Trail particularly.
Belle was a super-enthusiastic hiker who was very keen to keep hiking after I'd reached my limit! Here's a photo of us relaxing on Point Wolfe beach at the end of the day. What you can't see from the photo is Belle nudging me to get back on the trails...
By the way, that sandbar stretching along Point Wolfe beach appears to stay high and dry during high tide - a great place to see high and low tide (park located in Alma, New Brunswick).
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
If you'd like a sneak peek at Bay of Fundy's tides, check out a live webcam at one of our tidal harbours: Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia.
This picture is a screen shot of the tide half way in this afternoon. At low tide these fishing boats would be sitting about 30 feet (10 metres) below on the ocean floor and at high tide they'll be right up alongside the top of the wharf! Tidal harbours like this are great places to witness the Bay of Fundy's vertical effect. These harbours fill up (and empty out!) twice in 24 hours.
The great thing about Hall's Harbour is that you can buy lobster from Hall's Harbour Lobster Pound to eat at the beach. You can also walk on this beach at low tide.
To see Hall's Harbour webcam click this link for Nova Scotia Webcams live feeds.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I've had a busy few days filming new episodes for our Bay of Fundy Travel Show on YouTube. One of the sites filmed this week was Reversing Falls in the Fundy city of Saint John, New Brunswick.
Now i have to confess, I really don't think I fully appreciated what was going on here 'tide wise' until I hung around for 2 days. A lot of folks who visit Reversing Falls expect Niagara Falls going backwards....well, this isn't the case, of course! But the phenomenon is still really cool.
Basically what you've got here is three very different things going on at various times in the tide cycle: LOW tide: St John River flows out into Bay >> view rapids
SLACK tide: when the Fundy tide height and the river height are the same for about 20 min between high & low (and low & high) >> view dead calm water
HIGH tide: when Fundy's tides keep coming in and are higher than the river (and continue to flow another 100 kms upriver!!) >> view rapids in a different direction than the low tide rapids
The fact that the river (and its rapids) change direction is the 'reversing' part. The 'falls' part is actually happening sub-surface. There are massive waterfalls down there in undersea geology that cause crazy rapids on the surface! These rapids may look fairly calm from the viewing decks but they are HUGE and crazy when you are in them, like I was this week on Reversing Falls Jet Boat Tours (see picture!!).
Hope to have our YouTube episode for Reversing Falls next month!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Those of us who regularly walk Bay of Fundy beaches never quite know what kind of flotsam & jetsam we're going to discover. On Fundy beaches due to the constant erosion of our tides treasures can also appear out of the sand!
The words flotsam and jetsam describe specific kinds of debris in the ocean. Historically the words had specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences, but in modern usage they came to mean any kind of marine debris.There is a difference between the two: jetsam has been voluntarily cast into the sea (jettisoned) by the crew of a ship, usually in order to lighten it in an emergency; while flotsam describes goods that are floating on the water without having been thrown in deliberately, often after a shipwreck.
I'm not sure who, then, is the rightful owner of these two chunks of historic clay pot that appeared on my daily beach yesterday...I think I'll just donate them to the local museum!!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
One thing I love about our Canadian National Parks is their specialized learning programs. Bay of Fundy's Fundy National Park in Alma, New Brunswick, has lots of great programs including this new one: Tidal Art. This is how it works: people go down on the beach at low tide with an artist and a park interpreter, take empty ice cream tubs, fill them with assorted stones, seaweed, etc., then lay out all the goodies in a pattern drawn by the artist on the beach: creating a different funky piece of Fundy art every time!
When I was at Fundy National Park this summer visitors from toddlers to seniors worked together to create this loon. The other neat part about this is that it becomes a visual art piece at high tide when the tide rolls in to recapture the piece. Kinda like an Andy Goldsworthy-type project. The Tidal Art program at FNP is over for this season but expects to resume next summer!
Monday, September 07, 2009
We're kinda into our edgy cliffs and rock formations here around the Bay of Fundy. Here're some photos I took this week at Hole in the Wall Park & Campground on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.
The Hole in the Wall formation itself is only about 10,000 years old ~ carved by the tides from rocks that are probably about 300 million years old. There's awesome coastal hiking and clifftop camping at Hole in the Wall Park. Check out the teensy tiny tent on the green patch in the right picture...gives a whole new meaning to 'camp with a view'!
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
If you're a dog person like I am you probably miss your pup while on vacation and crave a 'dog fix' with every canine you pass on the street. Imagine my delight when I arrived at the Fairmont Algonquin in the Bay of Fundy resort town of St Andrews, New Brunswick, this week: the hotel's resident yellow labrador retriever, Smudge, was "in residence" with her doggie smile and warm greeting.
Smudge, the General Manager's dog, accompanies him to work every day where she 'holds court' on her mat in the lobby. No lazy days for Smudge though ~ the front desk keeps a sign-up sheet for guests to take her for walks or runs ~ up to three times a day. Smudge has her own Fairmont business card as the hotel's "Canine Ambassador" and keeps regular 'office hours' 5 days a week. If you find yourself at the Algonquin, give Smudge a pat for me!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I was out doing some filming around the Bay of Fundy this week and spent a day at Burncoat Head, Nova Scotia. While scouting the beach, I noticed that my volunteer cameraman - my teenage son - had wandered off and was down on the beach doing yoga in the wild wind. Just seemed like the thing to do on a Bay of Fundy low tide beach! The idea of 'being one' with the elements rather than merely looking at them almost inspires me to take up yoga!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was visiting Hopewell Rocks this week when I came upon this couple 'dipping' their baby's toes in the Bay of Fundy. It turns out they are former residents of the Maritimes who now live in Ontario but wanted to be sure to give their little girl a taste of Bay of Fundy on her first trip home this summer. Starting that east coast salt running in her veins ~ cute!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Busy week 'in the field' around Bay of Fundy hosting two videographers from Britain working on a Bay of Fundy episode for Wonders of Planet Earth (USA's Travel Channel series). These folks always have such a good eye for the beauty that surrounds us here in the Bay of Fundy.
A few days of media touring reminds me that my 'ordinary' views of Fundy can really quite extraordinary to visitors. A couple Bay of Fundy locations where we filmed this week: low tide beach at Alma (at the edge of Fundy National Park, New Brunswick) and Horseshoe Cove (near Cape d'Or lighthouse, Nova Scotia).
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today temperatures were nice and hot around Bay of Fundy (mid-90s F / mid-30s C) so we did what most coastal dwellers do and scooted down to the beach to cool off. This can be a bit tricky in parts of Fundy where, due to our extreme tides, there can be no water for miles when you get there!
Most locals time their swimming excursions to begin as the tide turns to come back and rolls across the sun-baked beach, making the water the temperature of bath water - the 'sauna effect'. These photos show the start of our low tide trek across the ocean floor to get to the water's edge then, awhile later, the wavelets of incoming tide.
If you're not familiar with Fundy's tides, it's safest to swim at a supervised beach such as New River Beach or Alma, New Brunswick, or Blomidon Provincial Park or Evangeline Beach, Nova Scotia. Fundy's extreme tides can do kooky things, like come in at odd angles in some areas of the bay or create nasty high spots on sand bars that can strand you - so be careful!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Here's a longtime Bay of Fundy event happening this weekend in Parrsboro: the Nova Scotia Gem & Mineral Show. It's Canada's oldest gem & mineral event (44 yrs). If you live in the region you may even recall it being called the "Rock Hound Roundup" in the early days - must have attracted too many rock bands and dog clubs because they changed the name about a decade ago!
The show, starting tomorrow and running through the weekend, consists not only of exhibits but also interpreted beach tours, exhibits, workshops, demonstrations, and displays. Check out the list of activities of just about everything you can think of related to gems & minerals:
- gold panning demo
- wire wrapping stones for jewelry
- rock tumbling demo
- glass bead making
- healing properties of stones
- intro to basic principles of geology
- dinosaur painting for kids
- prehistoric spear making & throwing
- assorted jewelry making workshops
plus an evening of Swing with Parrsboro's Elastic Big Band at the Gemcutter's Ball on Saturday night!
The show is a great way to learn more about Bay of Fundy's amazing geology!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
You may be surprised to learn that the Bay of Fundy is home to some of the most significant scientific discoveries which supported Charles Darwin's theory on evolution.
Darwin was an English naturalist who presented evidence that all species have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he termed "natural selection". In 1859, he introduced the concept of it as a principal mechanism of evolution in his book On the Origin of Species. At the time, no one knew the age of the Earth or of milestones in our planet's history.
2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, in which the Joggins Fossil Cliffs are referenced. Charles Darwin drew on the completeness of exposure at Joggins and the recurrence of the fossil forests to illustrate that the fossil record was inherently incomplete. Darwin argued that even in the unrivaled exposures at Joggins, the intervening beds theoretically could hide “the fine intermediary gradations which must on my theory have existed between them,” with the result that the fossil record generally gives the misleading appearance of “abrupt, though perhaps very slight, changes of form".The Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Nova Scotia side of Bay of Fundy) were made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO last year. The cliffs are referred to as a "Coal-Age Galapagos" and are the best place in the world to see fossils from this period.
Friday, August 07, 2009
This blog post is proof that we beach-combing types often have overactive imaginations when we're exploring Bay of Fundy shores. My friend, Molly, sent along these photos of the "beluga whale" she spied carved in sandstone by the tides on Melvin's Beach in the Fundy Trail, St Martins, New Brunswick. Reminds me of the winter I found a Right whale on my lawn!!
Here Molly's note describing her adventure:
We walked the Bradshaw lookout through what reminded me of growing up in the West Coast rain forest- ferns, cedars and a muddy slick forest floor! When we got the beach the tide was out and to my left was a giant sandstone cave. Beyond that was a perfect crescent beach with absolutely no one in sight. I started walking, my husband said: "Where are you going"? "To sit in the middle of that beach, can you believe this"??!! I found "Beluga Rock" on the way to the beach.
The water was warm (for the Bay of Fundy, I'm not gonna lie to you) and the sun was beaming down on our faces. After the unexpected trek down to this paradise a nap was in order and then the trek back up Bradshaw with me asking many times if there were alternative routes available, and could I possibly take a look at the map for myself to be sure there was no other way out and why oh why was I doing this to myself? Before I knew it we were at the top and full of smugness for having made the trek and giddiness for the treasures we had discovered on our adventure.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Big culinary week in Bay of Fundy this week - no not another seafood festival (tho' we never get tired of our seafood here!); rather it's the annual Chocolate Fest at Canada's official chocolate town of St Stephen, New Brunswick (also the hometown of Canada's oldest chocolatery, Ganong Bros.)
This year actually marks the 25th year of Chocolate Fest! In addition to the usual events like Chocolate Museum tours, fudge-making demonstrations, and product sampling, the festival will be declaring "Chocolate Lover of the Year". Entrants had to be nominated by a friend with a 200 word essay about how/why they love chocolate so much. Sounds like fun!
Random Bay of Fundy fact: Did you know that one of the original Ganong family chocolate makers, Mr Whidden Ganong, consumed 1 pound of chocolate a day right up until his death in 2002 at age 92? Now that's inspiring!
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Farm markets around Bay of Fundy are burgeoning with fresh produce now that summer is at its peek. My Bay of Fundy travels this week took me to the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia where I stocked up on all kinds of fresh & organic farm items. It was fresh raspberries that drew me there in the first place and whoa, did I get lots of chubby, ripe, local raspberries. Perfect for making this awesome summer salad:
Raspberry, Goat Cheese & Toasted Pecan Salad
3 c assorted greens (try young beet greens or arugula!)
4 oz herbed goat cheese
1 c fresh raspberries
Toast pecans in 375 degree oven for 10 min. Let cool. In large salad bowl toss greens with Raspberry Dressing. Divide greens into four servings, top with pecans, crumbed goat cheese and raspberries.
Raspberry Salad Dressing
1 small red onion, diced
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 c raspberry vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp orange juice
3/4 c olive oil
Salt & pepper
Whisk all ingredients but oil. Add oil, whisk to cloudy.
Makes about 1 1/2 c dressing
(to morph this into a creamy dressing, add 1/2 to 3/4 c raspberry yogurt)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Perhaps one of the lesser-known facts about the Bay of Fundy is that we are biologically linked to most of the rest of the world through migrations of fish, whale and bird species. A good example of this is the annual trek of 95% of the world's population of semi-palmated sandpipers. Hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of these small shorebirds make an annual trip each summer from the Arctic to Fundy where they double their weight for their continued voyage across to west Africa and, ultimately, to South America.
These sandpipers feast on microscopic shrimp that live in the low tide-exposed mud flats of the upper Bay of Fundy. They visit en masse for about two weeks starting right away. The New Brunswick town of Dorchester hosts a annual shorebird festival (starts this weekend) to celebrate the arrival of these incredible birds.
Read more about Fundy's sandpipers on the Canadian Wildlife Service website.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Big news this week around Bay of Fundy...our beautiful bay was selected as a finalist in a global campaign to declare the New7Wonders of Nature!! Those of you who've been following my blog know that we've been participating in this campaign for over a year. There were 440 nature sites originally and we just found out yesterday that 28 international sites have been shortlisted and Bay of Fundy is one of them!
Wow... this is exciting stuff! we now have the opportunity to showcase this awesome part of Canada to the rest of the world. I was digging around in my photo archive (in preparation for the media) and turned up this aerial shot of Bay of Fundy's Cape Split in Nova Scotia.
This photo sure takes me back a few decades. When I was a teenager growing up on the Bay of Fundy, I had two friends who flew airplanes so I spent a goodly bit of time flying over this very cape and other parts of Fundy in my 'spare time'. Not typical teenage hobby but one that probably sewed early seeds of interest in Bay of Fundy: certainly MY world wonder!
Thanks to my nature pal, Bob Guscott, for the pic.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
One of my great joys (other than exploring the Bay of Fundy) is checking my Bay of Fundy email...no, seriously, I just never know who I'm going to hear from. Sometimes it's folks who live in other parts of our Bay, sometimes it's visitors reporting in about their Fundy holidays, and sometimes it's someone who has done something 'Fundy-themed', such as a poem, or play reading in Texas, or even a Fundy-inspired musical composition.
Such was the case a couple weeks ago when I heard from composer Bev Lewis, who has an excited Fundy-themed music project launching in Paris & Birmingham, England (hence, the Brummies)....
Hi Terri, I was born and grew up in New Brunswick, mainly around the greater Saint john area, and I studied music at Mount Allison University. I now live in Toronto and am, among other things, a music composer. I recently received a commission to compose a piece for English Horn and Piano from Western Kentucky University.
My piece will be premiered on July 22 at the International Double Reed Society Conference in Birmingham, UK, and will be performed on July 26 in Paris, France. The performers will be Michele Fiala (English horn) and Donald Speer (Piano).
The title of my piece is "Fundy Temperaments" and it is a programmatic work about the Bay of Fundy, based on my childhood experiences as well as on research I have been doing. Within the piece, there are musical effects which represent such things as rippling waves, fog horns, crashing waves, a drinking party complete with sea shanties, a sinking ship, a requiem, etc.
The piece is supposed to represent the fast-changing, unpredictable moods (weather conditions) of the Bay of Fundy.
I thought it might be of interest to some of your readers that a music conposition about the Bay of Fundy, composed by a native New Brunswicker, is going to be performed in Britain and France this coming July.
Congrats to Bev, on this, her opening week!!
Friday, July 17, 2009
We Fundy folk are quite fond of wild weather...well, we do live by the world's most extreme tides so I suppose it only makes sense that we like our weather on the edgey side too.
Since so much of the ocean floor is exposed here at low tide, we're quite tuned in to how the weather and tides combine to interesting effect. Take the famous Saxby Gale, for example, still venerated in local folklore. I've also previously mentioned starfish tides and strange objects turning up in the wrack line.
One of the other things the tide churns up on a regular basis is massive amounts of driftwood... and not just small chunks either. It's quite typical to see whole trees wash up, like this one I took a photo of this morning. If you're planning a beach bonfire though, be warned, it's considered impolite in Fundy circles to actually burn these tree trunks - use them as seats instead! More beach bonfire etiquette in this previous post.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
When Belle and I were out for our run this morning we came across a sight fit for an outdoor wedding: wild rose petals floating down off the breakwater and on to the beach.
The next tide will probably absorb them but they sure looked pretty out here in bright contrast to the grey cobble beach. If you look closely on the right you can see a teeny-tiny Belle patiently waiting (again) for me to take photos.
I love my salty dog!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
There are lots of great roadside fish markets around the Bay of Fundy and, if you're lucky, you can even buy lobster fresh off the wharf. The Fundy town of Alma, New Brunswick, probably wins the prize though - they've got three really nice waterfront fish markets. No fresher way to serve the over 200,000 annual visitors to nearby Fundy National Park.
In my travels to Alma this week, I popped in to Butland's Seafood Market to grab a lobster for lunch. The one great thing about a lobster market is that your lobster is guaranteed to be cooked to perfection, and this one was! It's served on newsprint in a cardboard box with little tubs of coleslaw and potato salad on the side. I grabbed mine and ate half of it while driving (not generally recommended!) to nearby Cape Enrage Lighthouse. Yum!