Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mussels with Ginger-Pesto

Ginger-Pesto Mussels

Further to my series of mussel recipes, here's one that includes two of my other favourite foods: pesto and ginger.

4 1/2 lbs mussels
4 oz dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 thick slices blackforest ham (optional), chopped in small chunks
3 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp pesto
2 Tbsp grated ginger root

Scrub the beards off the mussels. Soak in cold water for 5 minutes, drain, repeat. Discard any open or damaged mussels. Place in a large saucepan with the wine and garlic. Cover and cook at high heat for three minutes or until the mussels open. Shake pan occasionally. Remove mussesl from pan, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the top shell from each mussel and arrange the mussels on the half shell in a shallow dish or baking sheet. Strain the mussel liquid through cheesecloth. Combine the ham, breadcrumbs, pesto and ginger and stir in 1 to 2 Tbsp of the mussel liquid to moisten.

Preheat grill to high. Spoon a littel crumb mixture on to each mussel then cook under the gril for 2 minutes or until golden & bubbling. Serves 4.

This receipe is a fun twist on an old favourite! For more of my favourite recipes, visit the recipes section of my blog.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Road to nowhere?

The Bay of Fundy tides can produce some interesting sights: take this one for example...A naive observer may wonder why this beach road clearly leads into the Bay. This is the road to the fish weir (see other photo) which enables low tide truck access across about a half mile of intertidal zone. As the tide recedes the weirmen drive over to fetch their herring and mackeral. Their acute awareness tide times ensures that they are off the beach before the tide comes back in to make a mystery of their access road. If their truck stalled down at the weir it would be covered with about 35 feet of water at high tide!

I took this photo at Partridge Island, only about 3 km from Parrsboro. I'll get back down to the beach when the tides are right to get a photo of the weir at low tide. It's pretty cool!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bay of Fundy winery wins big!

It sometimes surprises visitors that we have so many wineries in the Bay of Fundy region on the east coast of Canada. The climate here is perfectly suited to the successful development of both grape and fruit wines, as evidenced by this week's big win at the All Canadian Wine Championship. Domaine de Grand Pre and their winemaker Jurg Stutz received three gold and one bronze medals.

The All Canadian Wine Championships (ACWC), the oldest and largest competition solely for Canadian wineries. Over 40 industry professionals critiqued a record 932 entries from 132 wineries representing all wine regions from coast to coast.

Great recognition for our emerging wine region!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pretty little fishy!

Here's one last photo of Scott Leslie's plus a link to his website!

This little fellow is an eel pout whose photo was taken off the coast of Brier Island. Also known as ocean pouts, these fish live in a range of temperatures that includes sub-zero. They get their name from the pouting appearance of their lower lip.

This, I'm afraid, will look like me if Bay of Fundy doesn't receive recognition as one of the Seven Wonders of Canada in the CBC contest. If you haven't already voted, it's not too late! Visit the CBC website before May 25. So far the BoF is coming in as one of the top three picks across Canada - yay!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Describing life sub-surface

Here's a bit more information from Andi's article previously quoted.

...the waters of the Bay of Fundy lie somewhere between two extremes in temperature, tropical and arctic, the region harbors an unusual mixture of creatures, drawn to the plant and animal plankton that thrive in its nutrient-rich waters.

While such marine life may be present in large quantities, it can still be hard to find. The green-tint that results from the abundance of phytoplankton can result in poor underwater visibility.

Photographer, Scott Leslie has witnessed the devastating impact that fishing trawlers have had on the ecosystem. “You’ll be swimming along in this gorgeous rich habitat then all of the sudden it becomes this desert,” caused by trawlers scouring the seafloor, he says. In this regard, Leslie’s images serve to educate and instill a deep appreciation of the richness of life not far from our shores and remind us of all we have to lose.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The art of undersea photography

While scouting out information about the undersea life of the Bay of Fundy I discover the photography of Scott Leslie’s on the Gulf of Maine Times website. Here's what editor, Andi Rierdon, says about Scott's images:

On an icy spring day in Nova Scotia when the sea and sky are the color of pewter, it’s hard to imagine a creature as animated and colorful as the blue morph lumpfish living beneath the surface of the Bay of Fundy. To the untutored eye, Leslie’s undersea images are more likely to conjure up the tropical waters of Bonaire, Cozumel or the Great Barrier Reef. From the iridescent blues andon the magentas of a lion’s mane jellyfish shooting to a sunlit surface, to the translucent rainbow arc of a ctenophore, these portraits convey a kaleidoscope world full of character and surprise ... and testify to the variety and beauty of creatures living within the coves and open waters of the northern Gulf of Maine and Atlantic Canada.

Dive into certain areas along the Bay of Fundy coast, for example, “and within 20 minutes you can pick out five, six, seven different phylums—you are actually seeing all these different planets of life,” Leslie says. The undersea repertoire includes everything from rock crabs, sea ravens and fan worms to northern lampshells, anemones, eel pouts and tunicates. And unlike the more tropical locales where divers and snokelers abound, he adds, “the adventure of photographing in cold water environments is that it is so rarely done.”

Leslie, who lives in Granville Beach, Nova Scotia, has worked for years as a land-based wildlife photographer and continues to publish widely in North American publications. His foray into undersea photography began in the 1990s after viewing the works of National Geographic undersea photographer David Doublilet.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Undersea life in the Bay of Fundy

Although the Bay of Fundy receives much attention for the 100 billion tonnes of sea water that moves in and out with the tide twice a day, there is a whole other story to tell about the permanent undersea environment of the Bay. The rich ocean floor of the Bay of Fundy has been compared to the Amazon rainforest in terms of its significance to the world. As part of the larger Gulf of Maine inland sea, the Bay of Fundy is rich with a conglomeration of life uniformly bound together by dependence on the cold, rich, and relatively unspoiled waters of this marine ecosystem.

I'm certainly no marine scientist but I thought I'd use the next few blog posts to take a look sub-surface to see what lies beneath.

To start I've selected a few intriguing images of some of the creatures who inhabit the Bay of Fundy floor. Here we've got a purple sunstar, sea raven (that's the fish) and a regular starfish sharing space with an anemone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

7 Wonders of Canada - Bay of Fundy makes shortlist!

Wow, heard yesterday that our beloved Bay of Fundy had made the shortlist of 50 possible Wonders of Canada. This friendly contest initiated by CBC received about 18,000 nominations from all across Canada! The big list was whittled down to 50 from which an eventual 7 will be chosen sometime in the next few weeks. I think this contest was a great way to raise awareness of some pretty amazing places and some quintessentially Canadian wonders like the Montreal bagel and the canoe!!

Visit the CBC website if you'd like to vote for your favourite 7 Canadian Wonders.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Right whale sightings in record numbers

Interesting new Cape Cod this week: for some reason 'our' Northern Right whales are congregating there this spring in record numbers before they make their annual trek up to the Bay of Fundy for summer feeding.

Staff at the Provincetown (Massachusetts) Center for Coastal Studies have identified at least 120 whales - that's out of a worldwide population of about 400 of these critically endangered whales.

Marine Fisheries has issued an advisory to mariners in the region which has insured that boat speeds are set at 10 knots for a circle about 10 miles in diameter around Provincetown until the whales leave the area for the Bay of Fundy as they usually do by early May.

Whale monitoring is certainly an international effort with many researchers up and down the Atlantic seaboard in various states and provinces keeping a close eye on Right whales and other whales. From this map you can see the normal annual travel range of Northern Right whales

Here in the Bay of Fundy, our whale watch tour companies not only follow a strict code of ethics to protect the whales but also contribute to whale research by logging sighting details from now through November when the whales head south again. Kudos to these small tourism business operators for contributing to public awareness of Right whales and for doing their bit to add to the vast body of knowledge about this endangered species.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What is a Tidal Bore?

The Bay of Fundy's tidal bore is one of many aspects of the world's highest tides that fascinates people.

A tidal bore is a wall of water that moves 'backwards' up low-lying rivers during an incoming tide. Tidal bores form when an incoming tide rushes up a river which is flowing down toward the sea. Thus we have the phenomenon of the river changing its flow before your very eyes, flowing in over the outgoing river water.

The height of tidal bores increases with the range of the tide and may very in height from just a ripple to several feet. A tidal bore (bore = crest or wave) is a natural phenomenon which is seen in very few parts of the world. Bay of Fundy tidal bores are seen in many rivers in the upper bay with every tide, twice every 24 hrs, year-round.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New book about Grand Manan Island

Longtime blog readers will recall my previous posts about Bay of Fundy weirs, dulse, herring, salt and clams and will therefore not be surprised at my most recent book discovery: Rhythm of the Tides: The Fisheries of Grand Manan by Tim Peters. Tim's book is a striking visual journey through the cycle of fisheries on Grand Manan Island. Seventy-five color photographs illustrate the courage and determination of islanders pursuing their livelihood in the island's intertidal zones and in the surrounding waters of the lower Bay of Fundy.

The following review exerpt from The National Post says it perfectly: “The material is nothing new—we’ve all seen cute boats and lighthouses before—but through Peters’ lens, the clichés of east-coast Canada become strangely exotic and alluringly beautiful!” I've been pouring through my copy over and over again since I got it last week - it will easily become a favourite Fundy book!

Check out Tim's website or email him at

Friday, May 11, 2007

Blueberry Crisp Recipe

I noticed our blueberry farmers tending to their fields this week in preparation for the late summer harvest and, surprisingly, I realized that I'd yet to post a favourite blueberry recipe on my blog! Here's a good one (courtesy of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association):

Wild Blueberry –Apple Crisp

5 c wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ c sugar
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 c (approx 2 large) diced, peeled apple

½ c light brown sugar
2 tsp or more cinnamon
1 tsp or more nutmeg
½ c white flour
½ c chopped pecans
½ c rolled oats
¼ lb cold butter

In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Mix well and place in an 8 x 8 pan. (Double recipe if you’d like to use a rectangular pan).

Combine all crisp ingredients except butter in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over the Wild Blueberry mixture. Bake 45 minutes at 325 F or until crust is brown. Serves 6.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cascading fog

This is one of the more unusual sights around the Bay of Fundy coast: a cascading bank of fog! Fundy's cliffs are so abrupt in some places that you can actually watch fog roll along the water and up the embankments. Sometimes fog creeps up behind a peninsula then spills over the top of the cliff and into the Bay like a mystical waterfall. This photo was taken at Fundy National Park in Alma, New Brunswick.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hike to Cape Split video

Here is another Bay of Fundy-ish video I discovered on YouTube - this time of Cape Split on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay. A couple of fellas filmed its mesmerizing 190 ft shear cliff, ahem, a bit close to the edge for my liking...
I am totally getting my video camera going this summer. Now that I've finallly figured out how to get the most out of this little device, I'm going to make it my mission to capture more of the Bay of Fundy on film.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Kayaking the Bay of Fundy - across the whole bay!

I love kayaking the coast of the Bay of Fundy but I have to admit it's never crossed my mind to kayak across it. I just heard about a fellow, Christopher Lockyer, who is in full training for a Labour Day crossing across the Bay from Saint John, NB, to Digby, NS. He'll be doing the trip to raise money for cancer.

Chris is calling the fundraiser “Kayak for Kenyon” after family friend John Kenyon who was diagnosed with Leukemia last fall and cancer this winter.

Chris is sea kayak instructor with Paddle Canada and the British Canoe Union, an Outward Bound instructor and professional guide. “This is not about personal enjoyment. That always used to be the reason I kayaked,” says Lockyer. “Now I’m paddling for a purpose.”

For more information about Chris, his training and his journey, visit his website.

The trip from Saint John to Digby is 70 km and he estimates it will take him all day on some of the most turbulent ocean water in the world. Lockyer will start from Saint John at the end of the ebb tide and hopes to reach the bandstand by the Digby Information Centre around nightfall on Sept. 3, 2007.

It will be an incredible trip for a really good cause ~ best wishes for a safe trip, Chris!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Theatre on Kipawo ferry

The ferry I mentioned in the Extreme Makeover post is certainly not the only ferry to have plied the waters of the Bay of Fundy. Historically communities around the Bay were linked more easily by ferry than they were by road. (It's about a 8-hr drive around the Bay from St Andrews, NB, to Digby, NS. A trip across the Bay by boat varies from 45 minutes to 3 hours!)

One such ferry that still exists (at least in modified form as a dry-docked waterfront theatre) is the M.V.Kipawo. The "Kip" is now berthed at the edge of the Parrsboro harbour where it has been home to a professional theatre, Ship's Company Theatre for 23 years.

Over the years the company has enjoyed tremendous support locally, regionally and nationally. Ship's Company Theatre's season (including an awesome concert series) starts in early July and runs into September.

Since 1984 Ship's Company has commissioned, developed and/or produced twenty-seven new works as well as having given thirteen new plays valuable second productions. A number of world premiere plays have gone on to grace stages across Canada.

I've seen all but a couple of plays aboard the Kipawo. It definitely qualifies as a Bay of Fundy must-do activity!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Real Hopewell Rocks

I thought it only fair to add a photo of the actual Hopewell Rocks. This is a great pair of photos that the site and NB Tourism often use to promote this tidal interpretive experience on the Bay of Fundy. Sets of high/low images like this give a dramatic but accurate impression of the variance of Fundy's tidal range.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fundy Fun at Hopewell Rocks

My colleague Shelley and I had the chance to take in the annual Saltscapes Travel Show in Halifax, NS, last weekend and, wow, while there we got to hold up Hopewell Rocks! Naw, actually this was just a fun display by NB Tourism. The real Hopewell Rocks are much taller and heavier than these cool styrofoam replicas.

The Hopewell Rocks are definitely on my list of interesting Bay of Fundy places to explore. It's an excellent location for seeing the dramatic difference between the two tidal extremes: at low tide you can walk on the ocean floor in and around these towering sea stacks (often called Flower Pots) then at high tide six hours later the same formations are transformed into tall islands. As with most Bay of Fundy coastal areas, you absolutely must plan to see it at high and low tide to fully appreciate it! Luckily most attractions, including Hopewell Rocks, post accurate tide times to assist visitors with their trip planning.