Saturday, December 24, 2011

Church bells sound around the bay on Christmas eve

A quick trip into Bay of Fundy's architecture archives reveals an interesting fact: many of our heritage churches were designed and built by shipbuilders

These churches were intended to be both prominent and permanent fixtures in communities, and, unlike their tall ship counterparts have weathered the test of time.

On Sundays (and on Christmas eve, for sure) church bells still ring from church towers in my town and in many other communities around the Bay...a tradition that warms the hearts of all who hear them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do-it-yourself-Christmas tree?

If you happen to have 40 or 50 spare lobster traps kicking around this season why not construct one of these charming Christmas trees...guaranteed to make you a very popular neighbour around our bay.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chicken bones for Christmas?

Since mentioning our lobster-eating Christmas tradition in my last post, I feel compelled to reveal another Bay of Fundy food tradition oft witnessed at this time of year: eating chicken bones. And no, it's not random leftover body parts of real chickens that creep their way into our poultry-free season - it's the famous Ganong chicken bones candy.

In case you're not from the Bay of Fundy, I should explain: "chicken bones" are a pink, tubular, cinnamon candy with a row of semi-sweet chocolate lengthwise inside. Chicken bones were invented by our Ganong Bros. chocolate company and are still available throughout the region (and the country!).

Based in St Stephen, New Brunswick, Ganong is actually Canada's oldest candy company (founded in 1873). It's still thriving; employing about 400 people and shipping throughout the world. Chicken bones are readily available here year-round but, somehow, they always remind of Christmas! (p.s. real 'chicken bone' connoisseurs are careful to avoid the 'knock offs' - not nearly as tasty the real thing!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Turkey vs. Lobster: the great debate!

It's not unusual for Bay of Fundy folk to celebrate family occasions with a lobster boil. Here in upper Fundy the lobster season comes to a close at the end of December so it's a great chance to have a final feed before next spring when the season opens again.

In our family it's an easy choice between turkey and lobster for Christmas dinner...the red guy looks so jolly and always wins!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Elf shoe makers in Bay of Fundy

Yes, this tale is for real...there is a small company of cobblers in the village of Granville Ferry, near Annapolis Royal, on the Nova Scotia side of Bay of Fundy. These folk have been making specialty shoes for film and theatre for about 20 years. Think: faerie shoes, Shrek boots, elf slippers....

The shoemakers work out of a historic building in the community ('though come to think of it, all the houses in pretty Granville Ferry are historic!) equipped with fairytale-like workbenches, cutting tables, heavy-duty sewing machines and floor-to-ceiling bolts of leather.

Previous clients for Handmade Shoes include Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Opera Company, as well as many Broadway productions (including Shrek) and theatre festivals. They are currently designing and producing fancy footwear (picture here) for Wicked, a touring show based on Gregory Maguire's book The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

And, in case this post gave you a hankering for the original Christmas elf story, here's link to a version of the original Brothers Grimm tale.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Aye, she fishes, that she does

Although there are many enticing job prospects for those of us who live around the Bay of Fundy, such as dulse picker, flounder boat T-shirt designer, mudshrimp biologist, seagull watcher, elf shoe maker, rug hooker, intertidal zone moon walker, salmon smoker and seagull researcher, I've never quite gotten over the appeal of becoming a lobster fisher.

Despite repeated warnings that it's intense, smelly, dangerous, strenuous work I'm still fascinated...which recently lead me to pester my colleague Shelley for a snapshot of what life is really like at sea for a Bay of Fundy chick.

In summer and early fall Shelley works for Brier Island Whale & Seabird cruises on Brier Island, Nova Scotia, where she's been manager and dedicated whale researcher for 21 years. In lobster season (November to May) for the past few years she's taken up lobster fishing!

Typical of most whale watch companies in our bay, the vessel she uses for whale watching is the same one used for lobster fishing: it undergoes an extreme makeover between seasons. To prepare for lobstering all the passenger seating, decorative railings, etc. are removed as is the boat's stern. Lobster gear is added, including an anchor rank to assist with hauling the traps. The smell, as Shelley says, is 'added gradually'. Shelley's fisher/fisherman/fisherwoman (she's not fussed about what you call her) days are 12 to 18 hours long, depending on the weather and the proximity of the traps.

When I asked what surprised her most about the reality lobster fishing it wasn't the long days or the heavy work, she actually said she was amused by how fiercely competitive the industry is - everyone has their own special spot in the bay that delivers 'the best' Bay of Fundy lobster!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gingerbread Biscotti

Folks around the Bay of Fundy still use both molasses and ginger in ginger cakes, molasses cookies and ginger snaps. Ginger arrived here during the golden Age of Sail and good ole molasses (from the West Indies) arrived along with it.

I'm quite sure ginger & molasses aren't traditional Italian biscotti ingredients so I had to make up this biscotti recipe on my own. Took awhile to perfect because I insisted on adding molasses to what is normally a fairly dry cookie recipe. The result is a gingerbread biscotti true in taste, if not in form, to Fundy's traditional sweet treats.

Gingerbread Biscotti

3 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3 tsp ground (powdered) ginger
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup chopped crystalized ginger

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and spices.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and molasses.
3. Stir wet into dry until a soft, sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Form into smooth ball (adding a bit more flour if necessary to reduce stickiness).
4. Divide dough in half. Roll each into logs, approximately 12 inches long. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet.
4. Brush logs with egg white; bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
5. Remove, let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer logs to cutting board. Using a sharp unserated knive, cut diagonally into 3/4 inch thick slices. (To make biscotti longer, cut slices at sharper angle).
6. Stand cookies upright on a baking sheet, leaving space between them. Return to oven for 2nd baking for 20 minutes at reduced heat of 325 degrees F.
7. Cool biscotti on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Biscotti will keep for a month in an airtight container in the fridge.

Cranberry Orange Biscotti recipe

Just starting to dig out Christmas cookie recipes and thought I'd share this one for cranberry-orange biscotti. Certainly cranberries are well known for their connection to Christmas but in our house oranges also have a place of honour.

Growing up on a Bay of Fundy farm in the 1940s my father remembers receiving only a single orange per year: the one in the toe of his Christmas stocking. Now, of course, oranges are available year round courtesy of cross-border imports from the U.S.A.

Cranberry Orange Biscotti
(makes 2 dozen)

3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup dried sweentened cranberries
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup melted butter
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 egg white, slightly beaten

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, almonds and cranberries
2. In a seperate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and orange rind.
3. Stir wet into dry until a soft, sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Form into smooth ball. Divide dough in thirds. Roll each into logs, approximately 12 inches long. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet.
4. Brush logs with egg white; bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
5. Remove, let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer logs to cutting board. Using a sharp unserated knive, cut diagonally into 3/4 inch thick slices. (To make biscotti longer cut slices at sharper angle).
6. Stand cookies upright on a baking sheet, leaving space between them. Return to oven for 2nd baking for 20 minutes at reduced heat of 325 degrees F.
7. Cool biscotti on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Biscotti will keep for a month in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shubie Canal celebrates 150 yrs!

Even my generation of Fundy folk are well aware that, historically, travel in our region was more likely to occur via waterway than land. Many of us will also recall the importance of the Shubenacadie Canal.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the first complete commercial voyage on the completed canal. To celebrate, two local fellows paddled their canoe over the past couple of days through the original 100 km from the Customs Wharf in Halifax to the wharf in Maitland on the Bay of Fundy. Although the first full large boat trip on the canal was by the 60-foot long barge, the MV Avery these two paddlers chose to make this celebratory trip by canoe in honour of the Mi'kmaq who originally traveled this waterway by canoe.

Canals were common transportation routes in North America in the 1800s but this was the only canal ever developed in Atlantic Canada. Although used by First Nations for thousands of years prior, it developed and connected as a commercial shipping route by Sir John Wentworth. It was completed in 1856 but its effectiveness in bringing all manner of industrial goods into Halifax ultimately contributed to its demise as a commercial route. One of the biggest sources of revenue for the canal was the transport of iron for the new Nova Scotia railway. Only 14 years after the canal opened the railway replaced the canal's draw bridges with solid bridges that prevented commercial boats from passing beneath.

The Shubenacadie Canal, although long since lost to commercial transport, is still an extraordinary network of rivers and lakes that are greatly enjoyed by recreational canoeists and kayakers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wazzup with the glowing blueberry fields?

Late autumn winds may have sent our bright fall leaves aloft then crunching underfoot but there are still two lingering blasts of colour to enjoy here around Bay of Fundy: blueberry fields and Tamarack trees!

I've been out 'in the field' this week with my attention grabbed by these bright red fields and glowing trees.

I'll try to get a photo of the golden Tamaracks to post too but, in the meantime, check out these glow-in-the-dark-days-of-November blueberry fields. No photoshopping, no special lens, no nothing: just plain old extraordinary nature here on the big-tide bay!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rare caviar turns up in Bay of Fundy?

Even if you're not inclined to eat some of the weird culinary offerings from our bay, you've got to admit, if you're a caviar eater, you'd be tempted by this: Breviro Caviar. It's one of the world's rarest caviars, recently revived and sustainably crafted here in the Bay of Fundy. My mouth waters at this description from their website...

Caviar from Acipenser Brevirostrum, one of the rarest of the 26 species of sturgeon left worldwide, isn’t available anywhere else. At last, through smart, sustainable methods and a patient, artisanal approach, our company has developed this delectably unique caviar with its distinctive explosion of flavour.

Our hand-reared, mature sturgeon produce a rich, golden brown roe, which we harvest at the peak of perfection. Preparation involves fresh, icy Canadian water and a hint of natural sea salt from the world famous Bay of Fundy: that’s all. We personally inspect the eggs, and apply stringent standards to grade our caviar on an absolute scale, so only the very finest caviar receives our highest grades.
Our hand-rearing, exclusive stock and attention to detail make the availability of Breviro caviar extremely limited. The natural, rich intensity of our caviar will be unlike anything you have ever tasted.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What a tidal wave we made!

Special message for Bay of Fundy fans:

Four years ago, we began a exciting journey together – a campaign to make the Bay of Fundy one of the New7Wonders of Nature. It has been an amazing adventure competing with some of the world’s most prestigious destinations on the international stage. 

Now that the votes have been counted, we know that the Bay of Fundy has not been selected as one of the official top seven. But our journey is not over. If anything, it is just beginning. By coming together to express our love for this  unique and beautiful place, we have created unprecedented global interest in the Bay of Fundy as a world-class destination.

Frommer’s Travel Guides recently selected the Bay of Fundy as one of the top 10 places in the world to visit for 2012 as a direct result of our campaign. In all, we have generated more than $8 million in media exposure for our region, and we know that the name recognition and awareness that the Bay of Fundy has received from this campaign will bring an increase of visitors to the region. These are significant achievements that we can build on. 

As we begin the next steps on our journey, we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank those who have helped us along the way. We have received tremendous support from people throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and the Atlantic region. By voting, and inventing creative ways to promote the vote, you have energized and inspired us with your boundless enthusiasm. We want to thank all Canadians for embracing the Bay of Fundy and helping us let the world know that it is a true Canadian icon.

A major effort such as this requires government support and we were fortunate to have strong federal and provincial partnerships. We thank New Brunswick Tourism & Parks; Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development and Tourism; the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Your guidance and passion helped maximize the scope and impact of our campaign to seize the benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Now, as we look to the future, let us continue to be champions for the Bay of Fundy. Let us welcome every visitor eager to explore this incredible region as we would a new friend. We have one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders right here in our own backyard. Let us continue to cherish it, and show people around the globe why our beautiful Bay means the world to us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Final voting boost!

A few photos from our wild voting spree in Saint John on the final day of the campaign. Go Fundy!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Whale of a time in the Fundy city!

We're making an exciting dash to the finish line in the global New7Wonders of Nature campaign that concludes this Friday. Folks in the Fundy city, Saint John, New Brunswick, celebrated the Bay's participation in the campaign by hosting a city-wide voting day today. Several hundred folks dropped by the Marco Polo Cruise terminal on the waterfront to Vote Fundy. 

And we welcomed one special guest: this fabulous North Atlantic Right whale. It's an exact size replica of a baby Right whale...such a cutie! On loan from Irving, who has been instrumental in the re-routing of shipping lanes to protect Right whales in our Bay.

Whales are among my favourite Fundy critters. The members of our Bay of Fundy facebook fan page are having fun adding a caption for this photo...add yours!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dare to be deep?

Speaking of we lead into the final 7 days of the New7Wonders campaign, seven years ago the federal government made a commitment to establish a network of marine protected areas across our country by 2012. Why? Because Canada boasts one of the world's largest ocean territories but only 1% of it is protected through long-term conservation. Yikes!

While there might not be enough time to get a full network of MPAs in place before next year there is a groundswell of support surging across the country. CPAWS (Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society) is engaging Canadians from coast to coast in its Dare to be Deep initiative. Its quest involves getting 12,000 Canadians to endorse a message to the federal government requesting 12 marine protected areas by the end of 2012.

Our Bay of Fundy, due to its 'wonderful' ecological significance, is one of the areas under consideration so I'm pledging, are you?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Whoooo we've got celebrities everywhere...

Thanks to a few more Canadian celebs we've been making a bit of a wave across Canada in these last couple weeks of the campaign. Although it goes against my personal blog etiquette to post video after video, I simply MUST share this new celebrity vid.

See more videos from David Myles, 22 Minutes crew, etc. on our website.

And now YOU can submit your own 30 sec video supporting the Bay of Fundy's quest to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature. C'mon you know you want here for info. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rick & Measha go whale watching!

And, Rick Mercer also went whale watching off the coast of St Andrews with Canadian opera singer, Measha Brueggergosman. It was a spectacular day for whale sightings on our Bay! Any, by the way, there are over 12 species of whales who call the Bay of Fundy home between May and December. Bay of Fundy whale watching tours take place from Campobello Island, Grand Manan & St Andrews in New Brunswick and from Digby Neck, Long Island and Brier Island in Nova Scotia.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rick Mercer loves Bay of Fundy!

When Canadian celebrity Rick Mercer tells you to do something you really Vote for the Bay of Fundy in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. This is especially true when he's gone to great lengths to recently 'emmerse' himself in all things Fundy; or at least two things Fundy...Rick got soaked by the Bay of Fundy on the Reversing Falls Jet Boat Tour in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Parliament Hill: Mission Accomplished!

Humphrey the Fundy whale car and I made a big splash along with our tourism colleagues from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as our two new young Ottawa friends, on Parliament Hill yesterday.

We started our day with a presentation to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage then hosted a press conference outside the main chamber where we presented our Messages in a Bottle to MPs. I hafta say I don't think I've seen a group of grownups more excited about anything as these heartfelt messages from kids!

If you're a keen Parliament Hill watcher, check out these couple of clips from the press conference and from our message presentation to MP Peter MacKay.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fundy kids love our Bay!

Humphrey the Fundy whale car and I are on a very special mission this weekend:  to boldly go where no whale car has gone Ottawa! We're taking a very special parcel to our nation's capital - 107 messages in one giant bottle.

This week Bay of Fundy schools wrote messages to Members of Parliament which we are delivering on Tuesday to the House of Commons.

Humphrey is quite excited about his first trip outside the region and will be posting on his facebook page for the next few days if you'd like to follow along!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pumpkin Regatta this weekend!

Not only are our TIDES huge here in Bay of Fundy but so are our PUMPKINS. Pumpkins in Hants County, Nova Scotia, are so big that people just naturally want to cut off the tops, scoop out the seeds, hop in and race them in a Pumpkin Regatta!! well, why not!

This Pumpkin Regatta takes place every Thanksgiving Sunday (that's the 2nd weekend in October - earlier than U.S. Thanksgiving). I'll be joining about 10,000 people in downtown Windsor this weekend to watch up to 100 giant pumpkins parade through town then enthusiastically compete against each other in a paddle across the lake. Check out this episode of our Bay of Fundy Travel Show that we filmed at the race last year.

When you visit Windsor any time of year drop by Howard Dill's Pumpkin Farm: Howard is the world winning pumpkin grower who really put Windsor on the map and the family farm (source of all the giant pumpkin boats) is a delight to visit.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Fundy rocks!

The Bay of Fundy's intense tides continuously carve its coast creating intriguing rock formations such as this one off Five Islands Provincial Park.

No doubt it has a formal name but to locals it's known as the Old Wife.

Turn your head to the left to see the lady herself wearing a fine, peaked bonnet and a hooped dress.

I snapped this photo yesterday from the ocean floor at low tide: at high tide, of course, the old gal is surrounding by a Bay of Fundy cleansing spa!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hooray for sardines!

It's great to see a previously unsung Bay of Fundy food product finally getting it's due: sardines! Now that Omega-3s and foods with essential fatty acids are popular, sardines are becoming the trendy new health food.

Here around the Bay of Fundy we've been eating canned sardines for over 100 years - thanks to really good producers like Brunswick sardines. The Connors brothers in Black's Harbour, New Brunswick, have been canning seafood since 1889.

The company still thrives: stocking not only the shelves of all Canadian grocery stores but supplying sardines and other fishy stuff to over 40 countries.

A love of sardines has become the unofficial way of screening compatibility for a new staff in our office. We were worried about the new chick from Alberta last year but, no fear, she arrived on Day 2 with mustard sardines in her lunch!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn sunsets ~ Fundy style!

There is probably a scientific reason why our Bay of Fundy fall sunsets are so spectacular. Whatever the reason, the hurricane season breezes and cooler temperatures of Autumn bring many fine photo ops.

Year-round, there are 2 things I never leave home without: my scissors and my camera. Scissors for wildflowers or goose tongue greens from Bay of Fundy's prolific marshes and ditches, and camera for capturing such this lucky shots as this in Five Islands, Nova Scotia.

And to think, I was just 'minding my own business' on the way to a meeting! whoa....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wow the Bay of Fundy looks great on TV!

What an exciting day here on the Bay of Fundy! CTV Canada AM's Jeff Hutcheson was here at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick and then in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

Missed it on TV? take a look online at CTV's website It's a great way to get the word out to the rest of the country to support its only finalist in the global New7Wonders of Nature campaign. Here's a photo of local folk on the ocean floor at low tide greeting Jeff and promoting the vote.

Go to to vote using your email address, or text FUNDY to 77077 on any Canadian cell phone ($0.25 per text)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guess who's coming to breakfast!

Thursday, September 15, is a BIG day here on the Bay of Fundy. CTV's Canada AM is coming to film its fun weather guy, Jeff Hutcheson, on the shores of our bay. These are live shoots and you are very welcome to join us in giving the CTV crew an enthusiastic Fundy welcome.

The first half of the show will be filmed live at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick from about 6:30 to 8:15, the second half from the Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, harbour starting at 8:00 'til about 9:30. (Jeff traverses the bay speedy-speedy 'as the seagull flies' by helicopter)

If you're not in the 'hood to join us for a morning coffee then please tune in anywhere across the country to see glimpses of our pretty bay on Canada's most watched morning show.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bay of Fundy Mud'icure...all in a day's work!

Believe it or not, the job of promoting Canada's wonderful Bay of Fundy can be a challenging one. Although the planning, publicity and outdoor adventure may seem fun it really can be quite arduous...don't believe me?

Alright decide for yourself if you'd take on this week's challenge...the mission: to choreograph and host a day's worth of zany adventures on the Nova Scotia side of Bay of Fundy for Jeff & Chris Eager, hosts of the Great Canadian Adventure Tour.

Oh the day started off ordinarily enough...just speeding out at dawn for whale watching with Ocean Explorations, then opening lobster with bare hands on the beach at Halls Harbour, but got decidedly more interesting after a tromp & tasting through the vinyard at Domaine de Grand Pre winery when the three of us had an up-close-and-personal look at mud ecology at Evangeline Beach....heh heh heh...all in a day's work here on the bay.

The day was captured on film as part of their Great Canadian Adventure Tour series (will be posted on their website in a few days). In the meantime, follow these crazy fellas as they head out across Canada to capture the essence of our great country, coast to coast, 41 days, check 'em out on facebook or on twitter @CanadaAdventure.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Teen fun in Fundy? brrrrrr

It's true: most teens living on the Bay of Fundy are located in small towns and rural areas. But just because they're not near malls & movie theatres doesn't mean they don't know how to have fun.

It's a fairly common sight to see kids of all ages 'wharf jumping' on a hot summer's day. Since the water temperature is only about 10 degrees you can imagine that it's quite a refreshing dip. Needless to say, they don't linger but use the tidal wharf ladders to scoot back up and do it repeatedly.

Oddly, you never see adults doing this...brrrrrrrr!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Great white shark appreciation day!

Hey! Did you know it's Great White Shark Appreciation Day in the Bay of Fundy today?

Further to my last post, I've decided to declare the Great White Shark our official fish mascot for the Bay of Fundy in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign!

You may have heard that a few great whites have been working diligently in our bay in recent weeks, promoting votes for Bay of Fundy... sooooo adorable! see pic --->

If you'd like to start your own "Great White Shark Appreciation Day" I've gather a few facts that you may find helpful in countering the Jaws-silly-movie-goer factor:

1) Sharks, in general, date from 420 million years ago (about 2x older than the world's oldest dinosaurs, ergo, waaaaay older than humans) and have diversified, world-wide, into over 400 species.

2) They possess amazing problem-solving skills, social skills, curiosity and playfulness.

3) Sharks grow replacement teeth as needed many times in their lives (this is exceedingly interesting to me as I pass through middle age)

4) They have a complex dermal corset (outer skin) made of flexible collagenous fibres and arranged as a helical network surrounding their bodies (I have no idea what this means but it, too, appeals to my middle-aged self!)

5) Their survival is under serious threat from over-fishing and other human activities (geez, did we do that again...?)

6) They rely on their livers, not bladders like other fish, for buoyancy and their livers make up 30% of their body size (no comment from the beer fridge on the appeal of that one)

7) True, they are color-blind, but they can see underwater and in the dark (James Bond would love this!)

8) They have the best electrical sensitivity of any animal. They find their prey (even those hidden in sand) by the electrical fields they produce. (Bond again...just sayin')

9) Great whites are among many species of sharks found in the Bay of Fundy: also sighted here are Sharpnose, Basking, Blue, Porbeagles, Whitetips, Makos, etc. (Repeat after me: "Aren't we lucky to have one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems that hosts such a variety of fascinating creatures")

10) Great white sharks don't eat people: they prefer tuna, rays, other sharks, dolphins, porpoise, whales, seals, sea turtles, sea birds. When humans are involved (try these low stats: 31 human interactions in the Mediterranean in the past 2 centuries, most non-fatal) it's generally a case of mistaken identity: thinking a person's silhouette is a seal's. One bite = taste test, the kinda thing that happens in nature.

11) The last great white shark sighting in Bay of Fundy (until a couple weeks ago) was 6 years ago.

12) And, finally, Jaws author, Peter Benchley, and Jaws film director, Steven Spielburg, later worked diligently to dispel the image they created of great whites as man-eating monsters. (a bit late there lads but still a nice gesture ~ thank ye very much!).

Dangerous critters lurk in our bay! haha

There've been a few sightings of great white sharks in our bay in the past few weeks (yes, they are the JAWS movie sharks).

These sightings would be rather ho-hum if it wasn't for the overzealous, uninformed, fear-mongering media reports of them. Reporters using terms like 'fierce predator' 'man-eating monsters' 'massive killer fish' to describe this extraordinary fish. Really? I mean really......

So let's set the record straight: sub-surface the Bay of Fundy is full of all kinds of dangerous and s-c-a-r-y critters, isn't it?

1) Lobster: these crustaceans could take your fingers off with their grabber claws if our deft fishermen didn't immediately pop those blue elastic bands on them, and, even still, they could choke you if you tried to eat their claw meat too fast.

2) Sea cucumbers: coolest thing ever to look at (related to a star fish but kinda inside-out, see image in this post) but if you pick one up it will pee on you - ewwwww - as it deflates and tries to defend itself.

3) Jelly-fish: oh so delicate and innocent-looking to see but did you know they sting? ouch

4) Sea weed: will reach up and WRAP AROUND people's legs when they are swimming in the bay. (The locals, btw, have tamed some of it and harvest it and eat it!)

Tourists: visit at your peril! hahah

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recipe for sun-dried starfish

Take two (or more) starfish washed up on a Bay of Fundy beach after a wild & windy tide.

Lay out starfish "sunny side up" on your patio table or deck.
Place on newsprint initially if they are gooey.

Bake in full sun for 8 hours, flipping to the other side about half way through.

Lightly brush to remove seaweed or loose rocks.
To lighten, leave in sun an extra couple days.
Once dry, bring inside for decoration.

P.S. Do not eat - bleck!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bay of Fundy starfish tide

If you're lucky on a Bay of Fundy beach after a particularly turbulant tide you can catch a rare deposit of starfish high & dry. Such was my luck this weekend on West Advocate Beach, Nova Scotia. I discovered several 10-in starfish caught up in the wrack line after the tide receded. They are dry, if a bit briny-smelling. Being the beachcomber that I am, I scooped this one up with the intention of giving it a new home on my bookshelf!

If you think I'm being insensitive to the plight of the starfish you need to know that life is tough for our marine creatures in the intertidal zone. At high tide, cold water smothers plants and sea creatures at high tide; sun cooks them at low tide in summer & ice encases them in winter. So, yes, we do get some casualties - it's just part of life around the world's biggest tide bay...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I was visiting Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site today when I crossed over this tidal river and remembered that I had a photo of it buried in my archives somewhere.

Sure enough there it was! My Ontario colleague, Colin, snapped this pic when we were attending some meetings around the Bay of Fundy a few years ago.

Many of Fundy's tidal rivers (or estuaries, if you want to be fancy!) show interesting sights at low tide when the sea water recedes and the fresh water river lingers beneath.

Every time I see such mud-flanked rivers my mouth waters...their edges look for all the world like creamy chocolate! So be warned: travels around the Bay of Fundy may be hazardous to your waistline.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tide by timelapse

One of the best, though possibly slightly confuzzling, ways to 'see the tides' before a visit to Bay of Fundy is to check out one of our many time lapse videos. Here's a first: a new 24-hour time lapse prepped by Nova Scotia's provincial photographer, Len Wagg, from about 7000 still images. It's phenomenal...(oh and the reason it's confuzzling is that visitors sometimes think the tide actually comes in this quickly....oooops! it's actually 6 hrs 13 min from high to low folks)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fundy beach fire etiquette

In case you find yourself around the beautiful Bay of Fundy this summer, I thought I'd pass along a few tips for hosting a proper bonfire.

Tip #1 - arrive before dusk to gather driftwood. Look well above the normal high tide line (e.g. in the marsh grasses) for wood because the usual to-fro of the tides will have drawn back most driftwood from the regular tide line. (Note that by the end of the summer you may have to bring some of your own woodstove wood because the driftwood might be quite picked over.)

Tip #2 - look for a couple of large driftwood trees to use as benches. At commonly frequented beaches, these will often already be set in a V or U around a makeshift pit. (BTW it is considered a major faux pas to use driftwood tree trunks as fire wood!!)

Tip #3 - it is not necessary to build one of those cute oval fire pits surrounded by large rocks; this will immediately give you away as a city camper. You are on a stone beach - there is nothing nearby to catch fire! (Exception: if you have little kids with you, you may want to put some sort of visual barrier around the pit).

Tip #4 - determine if the tide is coming in or out. If it's on its way in and you build your fire half way down the beach you may not have time to roast a marshmallow. Instead, I'd suggest building your fire just below the anticipated high tide line. If the tide is in or just heading out when you build your fire, build it on the high side of tide line or you'll end up sitting on wet sand.

Here's a photo of our first beach fire of the season (last night), which leads me to my final tip:

Tip #5 - train your dog to fetch more driftwood while you cook your s'mores. You can see our yellow lab in action just behind the blaze.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Right whale research gets a boost

If you've purchased gas at any Irving station in our region lately you may have seen a nice poster of Moira Brown and her whale research initiative with staff and students from the New England Aquarium. Moira is certainly no stranger to our bay: she's been researching whales and whale habitat here for decades and she was instrumental in working with industry to reroute shipping lanes through the Bay of Fundy. Our Right whale population has rebounded to about 450. Get more info about the partnership between the New England Aquarium and Irving or watch this video! on this website.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Go ahead, get muddy!

One of our favourite surprises for families visiting from outside the region is to take them to the beach. Surely not an uncommon activity for those living in coastal Atlantic Canada but a few of our beaches are a little 'different' here on the Bay of Fundy. One of my favourites is the beach at Five Islands Provincial Park in Nova Scotia. This is the site of the annual Not Since Moses race across the ocean floor but it's also a local swimming and mud-sliding spot. I snapped a couple photos this weekend as evidence!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Crazy Saint Johners make Giant 7

There's certainly LOTS of excitement about the Bay of Fundy representing Canada in the global New7Wonders of Nature campaign. In fact, folks in the Fundy city of Saint John, New Brunswick, are so excited about 700 of them decided to turn up on the waterfront a couple days ago to form a giant human 7. Check out this time-lapse video... Gooooooooo Fundy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time to race across the ocean floor!

This summer's biggest tides happen this coming weekend which, for the folks in the upper Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia means one thing: the Not Since Moses race !

We tidal coast dwellers are kinda crazy and one day a year we like to invite the public to join us for an organized but slightly risky race across the low tide ocean floor in Five Islands, Nova Scotia. This year about 800 walkers and runners are expected.

The race was the brainchild of one of our newer residents: Dick Lemon (orginally from California). Here's how he describes the race in an interview yesterday with the Chronicle Herald:

"Not since Moses have we been able to have the sea part for us," Lemon said. "It is an incredible process. We are all slaves to something, whether we know it or not, and we can escape. We run in beauty and, in that moment, we are free." Read more

I'll be at the race this Sundy morning with the Humphrey, the Fundy whale car. Drop by and say hi! Race headquarters on Sand Point Road.

Photo credit: Wally Hayes, Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture & Heritage

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

We grow our critters BIG here in Bay of Fundy

Well look what the tide dragged in this week...22.3 lb (10 kg) lobster! One of our lobster fishermen, Troy Mitchell, and his son Ian just landed their largest-ever single lobster catch, which they nicknamed "Tiny".

Troy has put the lobster up for sale online in hopes someone might want to save Tiny, either to donate to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, N.B. to display or to set him free.

He says his preference is to donate the proceeds to the local Cancer Society charity, instead of selling the lobster to the market within the next few days.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest lobster ever found was a 20-kilogram (44 pounds) beast, caught off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977.

An average caught lobster in the Bay of Fundy is in the 1.5 pounds to two pounds range.

Oh and how old would a 22 lb lobster be? good question: about 40 years!

Three years ago in New Brunswick, a 10-kilogram lobster named Dee-Dee was saved from a boiling pot by a $1,000 donation, even though a fish shop owner was offered $5,000 by a group that wanted to eat it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Moving day? Bay of Fundy style...

Locals along our coast in the upper Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, were recently treated to an increasingly unusual sight: a building relocation and re-purposing. Historically here on the Bay we've put our crazy tides to good use for moving homes and other large structures to new spots. As a child I remember hearing the story of a family who moved by barge about 20 km down the Bay while the children napped and the mom baked bread inside the house!

Such was the case for this 167-year old church which recently took a ride down river to become part of the new Avondale Sky Winery. The church was purchased by the winery owners for just $1 after it was decommissioned a few years ago. But if you think you'd like to do same, consider the challenges of moving 30 tonnes of history.

Looking forward to seeing St Matthew's in its new Avondale location this summer!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Humphrey takes a hike!

The May long weekend (known as Victoria Day weekend in Canada) is a busy one around the Bay of Fundy. It's the weekend when many of our parks and attractions open for the season.

Humphrey the Fundy Humpback Whale Car and I were happy to be in St Martins, New Brunswick, today for the season opening of the Fundy Trail.

This is one of my favourite places around our bay: it's a coastal access network which includes a low-speed auto parkway with about a dozen scenic lookouts (Humphrey visits one in today's photo), 16 km of walking and/or cycling trail, footpaths to beaches and river estuaries, and an Interpretive Centre.

Take a video tour of the Fundy Trail in Episode # 9 of our Bay of Fundy Travel Show on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bay of Fundy Travel Show episode #17: Blomidon Provincial Park

We truly are blessed with many fabulous coastal parks around the Bay of Fundy in both provinces. Fresh out of the edit room is the episode of our Bay of Fundy Travel Show filmed last fall: Blomidon Provincial Park in Nova Scotia. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Kayaking Fundy Bay

Had a really good time at the Saltscapes Expo last weekend - it's a fun show featuring music, food and craft from our Atlantic provinces. I also did a bit of 'virtual kayaking' in the New Brunswick Tourism booth at the show. A great reminder of how much awesome sea kayaking we have here on the Bay of Fundy.

Take a look at my other previous posts of Bay of Fundy kayak companies: Nova Shores Adventures, FreshAir Adventures, Baymount Adventures, and Seascape Kayak Tours.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tideview Cider wins GOLD Internationally

I was quite excited to find out at the annual Saltscapes Expo this weekend that Tideview Cider just won four medals at the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition in Michigan This competition is the largest of its kind in North America and the second largest in the English-speaking world.

Tideview's big winner was Tideview Heritage Dry Cider 2007: a classic dry cider winning both a gold medal for Best North American Style Cider and an honourable mention for Best of Show. According toTideview’s cider-maker, John Brett, there were over 130 entrants in that category.

Other Tideview awards include a silver medal for Heritage SemiDry 2008, and a bronze medal for the Raspberry Cider 2008.

The Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition is open to all apple and pear fermentation beverages. Brett emphasizes that “Cider” and “Perry” are alcoholic beverages made by fermenting apple or pear juice. Entries came from 17 US states and three Canadian provinces, as well as producers in the English counties of Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Dorset and Suffolk.

“Our goal is to produce fine ciders and hopefully, in the process, revive the strong cider-making tradition that existed in Nova Scotia from the 17th through the 19th century,” says Brett. “Most people wouldn’t know that the Acadian settlers planted apple orchards in the 17th century so they could make hard ciders - which makes our cider tradition one of the oldest on the continent.”

“In other parts of the world where cider is popular there isn’t any confusion,” Brett explains. “Cider is an alcoholic beverage, like wine. But here in North America, we often use “cider” to refer to sweet, unfermented apple juice…sometimes when we sample our ciders at special events or the farm market it takes people by surprise.”

Tideview Cider has been around for six years. All of the special cider apples and other fruit is grown at Noggins Corner Farm or by neighbouring farms. The farm is located on the shores of the Minas Basin at the head of the Bay of Fundy, between Wolfville and New Minas.

I often give this 'Bay of Fundy themed' cider as a gift: can be purchased at Noggins Farm, in many Nova Scotia Liquor stores and at several specialty wine shops in Halifax.