Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bring on the parting of the sea

As a lifetime resident of the Bay of Fundy I'm often surprised and delighted by visitors' impressions of our region. And sometimes it takes a newcomer to see the Bay with fresh eyes and new potential. Such was the case a few years ago when a Californian arrived on the shores of Five Islands in the upper Bay on the Nova Scotia side. Dick Lemon turned up and created an ecological retreat atop one of the islands then, while looking out at his extraordinary view, thought "wouldn't it be fun if we created an event where people could enjoy this beauty by walking and running across the ocean floor during the one or two lowest tide days of the year." Hence, the Not Since Moses race was born!

This year's race is today and tomorrow, sold-out, with over 600 walkers & runners attending. This short video I made last year will give you an idea of what a crazy bit of fund this was last year. Bring it on again today!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MIgratory bird habitat now under protection

A goodly portion of the Bay of Fundy is rural & small town - the road less traveled - so not subject to massive amounts of development. Still, there are some areas of critically important habitat that warrant a higher level of protection. Johnson's Mills along the Bay of Fundy coast in New Brunswick is one such areas and Fundy nature types are happy to hear that more of this region has just been acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

This new 80 hectare purchase adds to the current 128 hectares protected by the Johnson's Mills Shorebird Reserve. This area, along with adjacent Mary's Point, is a critically important feeding area for migratory birds on their annual trek from the Arctic to South America (via Bay of Fundy and the west coast of Africa). Indeed an estimated 85% of the world's population of semi-palmated sandpipers stop here in Fundy every summer to pump up their weight on our tiny mud shrimp for their next non-stop flight.

Three cheers for the NCC for adding Johnson's Mills to their national protected areas!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A child's view of our BIG tides

In addition to high-low tide photos sets, videos of Bay of Fundy are great ways to represent our intriguing seascape. Here is a delightful video that shows the genuine curiosity and pure delight of a little gal exploring the Fundy coast with her dad. It warms my heart to see our young friends embracing our tidal coast like this!

Thanks to Dave at Annapolis Valley Audio Visual for sharing this video. Another enthusiastic Fundy fan!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sea kayaking on the Fundy coast

Every time I sea kayak the Bay of Fundy I'm astonished that we can do this awesome sport in such an extraordinary coastal environment. First kayak of the year this season happens to have been with Nova Shores in Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Like many of the kayak companies based in Fundy, owners Werner and Else Marie like to have a little fun with their guests by 'parking' the kayaks on dry beach and allowing the tide to come in to float the kayakers out to start the tour. Kinda makes an impression with visitors, that's for sure.

Here are some images of the coming-up-to-high tide launch then way low tide (this was after we were well back and had enjoyed dinner at the Wild Caraway Cafe). 'twould be a long haul dragging those kayaks across that vast expanse of beach had gone on a longer adventure!

Check out previous blog posts for all Fundy companies I've kayaked with, all on the New Brunswick side: Baymount Outdoor Adventures, FreshAir Adventures, and Seascape Kayak Tours. All fun folks who run super tours!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bay of Fundy BACK in New7Wonders campaign

Every day is an interesting one here on the Bay of Fundy but there is one day last week that I'll remember for quite some time. We had a call from Brussels, Belgium, to say that Bay of Fundy has been reinstated as Canada's official nominee in the international campaign to declare the New7Wonders of Nature!

Those who follow my blog may remember that Bay of Fundy was in a neck & neck race with several other Canadians nature sites late last Fall and early winter to represent Canada in Spring Phase 2 of the contest. In January, we appeared to have lost first place to an Alberta site (western side of Canada - we're on the east coast) but just found out that they lost their standing in the contest and we are back in! Fun!!!

Even if you voted for us in the Fall, you can now vote again. Bay of Fundy has been back in the campaign for a several days now and the New7Wonders website is going wild. Please help by voting before July 7, 2009, when the top 77 international sites will be declared...Bay of Fundy can be on this list with your help!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fundy's chique urban park

In addition to Saint John, New Brunswick, offering a vibrant waterfront and historic streetscape downtown, the city is also home to two fine parks: Rockwood Park with 10 lakes, golf, zoo and hiking, and Irving Nature Park with 8 walking trails on the Fundy coast.

Just a few minutes from the centre of the city, Irving Nature Park offers a fully accessible low speed park roadway along with coastal and woodland walking trails. What's somewhat more surprising at Irving Nature Park is are the rocks ledges where harbour seals and porpoises wildlife watching so close to the city! And if you're a birder, this is a great place to spot up to 250 species of birds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bay of Fundy cruises

Although I dedicate lots of space here on my Bay of Fundy blog to rural and small town touring around our 'road less traveled', I also like a good dose of city - particularly our lovely coastal city of Saint John.

Seems I'm not alone....this New Brunswick city is going wild as a favourite port-of-call for cruise ships visiting the east coast of Canada. In the past 10 years this cheery, walkable city has grown cruise visits from 28,000 passengers aboard 24 vessels to 181,000 passengers aboard 80 vessels.

"Anchor in the Bay of Fundy" is the theme (happy smiles from me!) for cruise visitors to Saint John. There are lots of options for day trips to see various tidal phenomena. Judging by the article that appeared in the news this week, cruisers are hugely satisfied with the city, its friendliness and charm....awwww shucks!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Poppies ablaze in the garden

I'm not much of a 'fancy gardener' but a sure do enjoy the many perennials that pop up in our ditches and flower gardens each spring & summer here on the Bay of Fundy.

The first shrub to bloom in my garden is February Daphne (which folks around here call "May Bush") must bloom somewhere (Florida?) in February but it's April or early May blooming here.

Next in the harbinger-of-spring sequence are Forget-me-nots and fruit blossoms (apple, pear, etc.) which are pretty much fading by now. Next in line is Columbine - my purples are waving away this weekend and, of course, bright Poppies (pictured here from my garden) which burst forth this week. When my kids were little we'd take bets on which day the first poppy would pop - just like us, they sure respond to the sun at this time of year!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Can you hear the tide turn?

As a lifetime resident of the Bay of Fundy, I often get asked some really interesting questions by visitors. Such as:

  • when the tide is out in the Bay of Fundy, is it high on the other side of the world? (answer: it's likely to be "out" on the other side too but "in" a quarter way round the world)
  • where does all the water go when the tide goes out? (answer: creates a massive bulge in the middle of the ocean - this is weird but picture the cornea of the human eye relative to the rest of the eyeball - that's what the tide bulge looks like, tho' proportionately smaller, of course!)
  • can a resident of the Bay sense whether the tide is in or out? I'm not sure how to answer this one but I can tell you that we can sense/hear when the tide stops coming in and turns to go back out. Or at least I, I assume other Fundy folk can too? Seriously, if I'm at the beach at high tide, when the tide reaches it's peak, there're a few seconds where it makes a sluffing sound - like a thousand puppy tongues lapping - before it turns to go out. I'd record this and put it on YouTube but you kinda hafta visit hand-in- hand with a Fundy resident to catch the subtleties of this!