Friday, March 30, 2007

East Quoddy Lighthouse painting

I've visited most of Bay of Fundy lighthouses around the Bay of Fundy (both those accessible by foot and some only by boat) - I have to say I've got a bit of a thing going for lighthouses in general. Here's another of Nita's lovely paintings: the East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island. The East Quoddy Light is accessible on foot at low tide but the path is a little trickier at high tide.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

1st Swim of 2007!

Well, of course, it was Belle (my yellow lab) who went for a swim, not me! The weather has turned warm and springy and most of winter's ice cakes have melted. Belle couldn't resist hopping into the harbour for a dip last evening...brrrrrr! Personally I'd rather be on the Bay most of the time than in it!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Facelift for the Princess of Acadia

Here's a bit of news about an extreme makeover Bay of Fundy style! While I was in Saint John last week I learned that the ferry between this Fundy city and the town of Digby on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay (the Princess of Acadia) is scheduled for a complete refurb this spring. Owners, Bay Ferries, have actually hired an interior decorator to spiff up this well-loved ferry link between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The two main passenger spaces is being fully recarpeted, all furniture is being reupholstered, the seating configuration is being changed, and the company will be adding new computers stations for passengers. This, combined with a new fare structure, is expected to renew interest in traversing the Bay of Fundy by ferry. The crossing only takes about 3 hours - I think it sounds like an awesome Bay of Fundy mini-cruise!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Saint John farmer's market

I had the good fortune to be in Saint John, New Brunswick this week for a few days of meetings.

A full city block in length, this amazing 125 year old Market runs downhill from the "head of the Market" on Charlotte Street, gently sloping to the Germain Street entrance, a full 20 feet below. At both entrances hang the same gates that have swung closed at the end of each business day since 1880.

Whenever I'm there I always make a point to stop by the City Market for fresh baguettes, odd fruit that I can't get at home in the country and, as you can see in this photo, a few fine fishes. It rates right up there in my 'must' experiences around the Bay of Fundy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Musquash Estuary becomes Canada's newest MPA

The Bay of Fundy's Musquash Estuary has just been officially designated as Canada's sixth Marine Protected Area (MPA).

It is a rural, relatively pristine area with little development, and an outstanding example of a fully functioning estuary and salt marsh complex.

Located approximately 20 kilometres southwest of the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, the Musquash ecosystem provides a rich habitat for a variety of plants, commercial and non-commercial fish species, and other wildlife. The Musquash Estuary is highly valued by local residents, government agencies, and conservation organizations in the region.

This is one of David H. Thompson's photos of the Musquash Marsh. For more of David's photos or to learn more about Marine Protected Areas.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sign of Spring on Fundy Bay

One sure sign that Spring is starting to arrive around the Bay of Fundy is the return of fog. Once winter sets in it's too cold to be foggy, since fog forms as warm, moist air drifts over a colder surface being cooled from below. I'm quite fond of fog - I find it enchanting, mystical and lovely to breathe in big, generous gulps. I smiled in my sleep last night when I heard our fog horn sound in the middle of the night for the first time in 2007.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

How to dig clams on the Bay of Fundy

My recent attempt at creating a new Bay of Fundy sport (ice cake scambling) put me in mind of one of our longtime coastal activities - clam digging. The vast expanse of the Bay of Fundy's intertidal zone (the ocean floor that is exposed at low tide) proves to be an excellent area for digging bar clams.

Tools required for this exercise include: pitch fork, bucket and clothes that you don't mind getting really muddy.

Small holes in the sand/mud are your first clue that you are in 'clam country'. When you spot one, poke the pitchfork gently into the hole or step near the outside edge of the hole . If water spurts up, start digging with the pitch fork and retrieve the clam or cluster of clams.

If you're interested in digging clams while you visit the Bay, consult the local Department of Fisheries and Oceans for details on the clamming season and safe digging zones.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Bay of Fundy high/low tide

Those of you who've been following my blog (love ya!) and new readers will not be surprised to learn that I kind of 'collect' sets of high-low tide photos.

OK, some people collect stamps, but hey, if you lived where I live you couldn't resist doing this either.

Artist Mary Sheehan Winn took this set from her beachside cottage in Parrsboro (on my dog walking route). Oddly, Mary and I had never 'met' until we crossed paths in the blogosphere! I rather pride myself on discovering and welcoming the 'summer people' (it's a small town, what can I say...). I'll look forward to sharing a cuppa tea with Mary when she arrives this summer!

To see other high-low tide sets, check out these previous posts: Road Under Water, Two Islands, Flower Pot Rocks.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

More tidal power for Bay of Fundy

More news on the tidal power front this week: A U.S. company plans to generate electricity with new technology by tapping the tides of Passamaquoddy Bay, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy surrounded by New Brunswick and Maine.

Ocean Renewable Power is zeroing in on the waters off Deer Island and are suggesting that the company's first tidal power generators could be operating in the bay as early as 2009. They are creating a floating structure that contains four turbine generators.

Ocean Renewable Power's initiative is just one of the recent projects aimed at harnessing the tidal powers in the Bay of Fundy, considered one of the best sites in the world for such attempts.

In mid-February, Nova Scotia Power announced that it was teaming up with an Irish company to try to build one of the world's largest single underwater turbines in the six-kilometre-wide Minas Passage by late 2009.

See my previous posts about in-stream tidal power.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Chock 'a block on Digby Neck

Just had this note from whale watch operator, Tom Goodwin (Ocean Explorations) in Tiverton on Digby Neck at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy.

There's been quite a bit of ice out here. .... With especially cold weather (like Jan '04 and Feb '07), we get alot of ice forming in St.Mary's Bay which then floats off with high tides and drifts around to the Bay of Fundy, through the passages with the tide(s). This is a photo of the car ferry that runs from the mainland to Tiverton, pushing ice out of the way as it goes.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ice cake "scramble"

Let me introduce you to a new Bay of Fundy winter sport: ice cake scrambling. This involves climbing small ice bergs deposited in the intertidal zone (beach) after the tide recedes. The tricky bit is that some may dissolve beneath you as you clamber up and over over.

Since I first observed the early ice sheets forming in January they've really picked up some oomph and chunked up into mini-icebergs. I'm sure they are a severe navigation factor but I do find them interesting explore at least when they drop on land. This morning I gave up my dog walk and opted for ice cake scrambling instead. (Belle enjoyed the climbing too!)

Monday, March 05, 2007

N'ice Lighthouse

This winter may just have to go on record as one of the best years for ice cakes in the upper Bay of Fundy. My normal dog walk into the intertidal zone at low tide was significantly impeded today by globs of ice cakes. Those in the foreground are about 8 ft high...I'll have to get back over with better climbing gear!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Massive moosehead in the Bay of Fundy

Just when I thought I'd seen every interesting perspective of the Bay of Fundy....

A chance Internet search by a Nova Scotia man living in Saskatchewan revealed a natural oddity that the rest of us had never noticed: the world's largest moose head.

John Patterson, of Meadow Lake, SK, couldn't resist sending Moosehead Breweries a Google satellite image of an area near Walton, NS that clearly shows a giant Bay of Fundy sandbar shaped exactly like the brewer's moose head logo. "What struck me was how detailed it was and to be in the middle of Moosehead country made it that much more intriguing," he said.

Ian Spooner, Professor of Environmental Geoscience at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS, said the naturally occurring phenomenon is actually a delta formed by an offshore accumulation of sediment enhanced by flood and ebb tide currents, as well as the shoreline geography. "The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world so there is considerable energy influencing the deposit build up here. Fortunately the satellite photo was taken at just the right moment - a few minutes earlier or later and the image would look different."

"When Mr. Patterson e-mailed us we thought it was a joke, but when we checked the image ourselves we couldn't believe our eyes," says Moosehead President Steve Poirier. "...It's great to see that Moosehead is part of the Nova Scotia landscape," he chuckled.