Sunday, September 27, 2009

My dog out-hiked me at Fundy National Park!

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

Watch Fundy tides via webcam

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

Jet boating thru Reversing Falls

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

Flotsam, jetsam & clay pots?

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

Funky fundy beach art

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

Hole in the Wall & cliff edge camping!

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 a whole new meaning to 'camp with a view'!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Canine welcome at Fundy's Fairmont Algonquin

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!