Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bay of Fundy coast perfect for yoga

I was out doing some filming around the Bay of Fundy this week and spent a day at Burncoat Head, Nova Scotia. While scouting the beach, I noticed that my volunteer cameraman - my teenage son - had wandered off and was down on the beach doing yoga in the wild wind. Just seemed like the thing to do on a Bay of Fundy low tide beach! The idea of 'being one' with the elements rather than merely looking at them almost inspires me to take up yoga!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby 'christening' in Bay of Fundy?

I was visiting Hopewell Rocks this week when I came upon this couple 'dipping' their baby's toes in the Bay of Fundy. It turns out they are former residents of the Maritimes who now live in Ontario but wanted to be sure to give their little girl a taste of Bay of Fundy on her first trip home this summer. Starting that east coast salt running in her veins ~ cute!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My ordinary could be your extraordinary

Busy week 'in the field' around Bay of Fundy hosting two videographers from Britain working on a Bay of Fundy episode for Wonders of Planet Earth (USA's Travel Channel series). These folks always have such a good eye for the beauty that surrounds us here in the Bay of Fundy.

A few days of media touring reminds me that my 'ordinary' views of Fundy can really quite extraordinary to visitors. A couple Bay of Fundy locations where we filmed this week: low tide beach at Alma (at the edge of Fundy National Park, New Brunswick) and Horseshoe Cove (near Cape d'Or lighthouse, Nova Scotia).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bay of Fundy 'sauna effect' swim!

Today temperatures were nice and hot around Bay of Fundy (mid-90s F / mid-30s C) so we did what most coastal dwellers do and scooted down to the beach to cool off. This can be a bit tricky in parts of Fundy where, due to our extreme tides, there can be no water for miles when you get there!

Most locals time their swimming excursions to begin as the tide turns to come back and rolls across the sun-baked beach, making the water the temperature of bath water - the 'sauna effect'. These photos show the start of our low tide trek across the ocean floor to get to the water's edge then, awhile later, the wavelets of incoming tide.

If you're not familiar with Fundy's tides, it's safest to swim at a supervised beach such as New River Beach or Alma, New Brunswick, or Blomidon Provincial Park or Evangeline Beach, Nova Scotia. Fundy's extreme tides can do kooky things, like come in at odd angles in some areas of the bay or create nasty high spots on sand bars that can strand you - so be careful!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

44th Annual Gem & Mineral Show

Here's a longtime Bay of Fundy event happening this weekend in Parrsboro: the Nova Scotia Gem & Mineral Show. It's Canada's oldest gem & mineral event (44 yrs). If you live in the region you may even recall it being called the "Rock Hound Roundup" in the early days - must have attracted too many rock bands and dog clubs because they changed the name about a decade ago!

The show, starting tomorrow and running through the weekend, consists not only of exhibits but also interpreted beach tours, exhibits, workshops, demonstrations, and displays. Check out the list of activities of just about everything you can think of related to gems & minerals:
- gold panning demo
- wire wrapping stones for jewelry
- rock tumbling demo
- glass bead making
- healing properties of stones
- intro to basic principles of geology
- dinosaur painting for kids
- prehistoric spear making & throwing
- assorted jewelry making workshops
plus an evening of Swing with Parrsboro's Elastic Big Band at the Gemcutter's Ball on Saturday night!

The show is a great way to learn more about Bay of Fundy's amazing geology!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy 150 years to the Origin of Species!

You may be surprised to learn that the Bay of Fundy is home to some of the most significant scientific discoveries which supported Charles Darwin's theory on evolution.

Darwin was an English naturalist who presented evidence that all species have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he termed "natural selection". In 1859, he introduced the concept of it as a principal mechanism of evolution in his book On the Origin of Species. At the time, no one knew the age of the Earth or of milestones in our planet's history.

2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, in which the Joggins Fossil Cliffs are referenced. Charles Darwin drew on the completeness of exposure at Joggins and the recurrence of the fossil forests to illustrate that the fossil record was inherently incomplete. Darwin argued that even in the unrivaled exposures at Joggins, the intervening beds theoretically could hide “the fine intermediary gradations which must on my theory have existed between them,” with the result that the fossil record generally gives the misleading appearance of “abrupt, though perhaps very slight, changes of form".

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Nova Scotia side of Bay of Fundy) were made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO last year. The cliffs are referred to as a "Coal-Age Galapagos" and are the best place in the world to see fossils from this period.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Beluga sighting?

This blog post is proof that we beach-combing types often have overactive imaginations when we're exploring Bay of Fundy shores. My friend, Molly, sent along these photos of the "beluga whale" she spied carved in sandstone by the tides on Melvin's Beach in the Fundy Trail, St Martins, New Brunswick. Reminds me of the winter I found a Right whale on my lawn!!

Here Molly's note describing her adventure:

We walked the Bradshaw lookout through what reminded me of growing up in the West Coast rain forest- ferns, cedars and a muddy slick forest floor! When we got the beach the tide was out and to my left was a giant sandstone cave. Beyond that was a perfect crescent beach with absolutely no one in sight. I started walking, my husband said: "Where are you going"? "To sit in the middle of that beach, can you believe this"??!! I found "Beluga Rock" on the way to the beach.

The water was warm (for the Bay of Fundy, I'm not gonna lie to you) and the sun was beaming down on our faces. After the unexpected trek down to this paradise a nap was in order and then the trek back up Bradshaw with me asking many times if there were alternative routes available, and could I possibly take a look at the map for myself to be sure there was no other way out and why oh why was I doing this to myself? Before I knew it we were at the top and full of smugness for having made the trek and giddiness for the treasures we had discovered on our adventure.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We're not all about, try some chocolate!

Big culinary week in Bay of Fundy this week - no not another seafood festival (tho' we never get tired of our seafood here!); rather it's the annual Chocolate Fest at Canada's official chocolate town of St Stephen, New Brunswick (also the hometown of Canada's oldest chocolatery, Ganong Bros.)

This year actually marks the 25th year of Chocolate Fest! In addition to the usual events like Chocolate Museum tours, fudge-making demonstrations, and product sampling, the festival will be declaring "Chocolate Lover of the Year". Entrants had to be nominated by a friend with a 200 word essay about how/why they love chocolate so much. Sounds like fun!

Random Bay of Fundy fact: Did you know that one of the original Ganong family chocolate makers, Mr Whidden Ganong, consumed 1 pound of chocolate a day right up until his death in 2002 at age 92? Now that's inspiring!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Raspberry, Goat Cheese & Pecan Salad

Farm markets around Bay of Fundy are burgeoning with fresh produce now that summer is at its peek. My Bay of Fundy travels this week took me to the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia where I stocked up on all kinds of fresh & organic farm items. It was fresh raspberries that drew me there in the first place and whoa, did I get lots of chubby, ripe, local raspberries. Perfect for making this awesome summer salad:

Raspberry, Goat Cheese & Toasted Pecan Salad
1/2 pecans
3 c assorted greens (try young beet greens or arugula!)
4 oz herbed goat cheese
1 c fresh raspberries

Toast pecans in 375 degree oven for 10 min. Let cool. In large salad bowl toss greens with Raspberry Dressing. Divide greens into four servings, top with pecans, crumbed goat cheese and raspberries.

Raspberry Salad Dressing
1 small red onion, diced
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 c raspberry vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp orange juice
3/4 c olive oil
Salt & pepper
Whisk all ingredients but oil. Add oil, whisk to cloudy.
Makes about 1 1/2 c dressing
(to morph this into a creamy dressing, add 1/2 to 3/4 c raspberry yogurt)