Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cranberry harvest time

These last few warm weeks of November (it's 15 C/ 60 F today!) mark the end of the fresh fruit harvest here on Bay of Fundy. Starting in June, we've got a series of fresh local berries to enjoy: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and finally cranberries.

In 'top secret' locations all around our bay, local folk still dry pick cranberries by hand or with a scoop. This week, while touring Bay of Fundy, I came upon these fellas harvesting cranberries on a farm near Medford, Nova Scotia. They are "wet raking" cranberries for commercial use. When the cranberries are ready to harvest, the fields are temporarily flooded with about 8 inches of water. The cranberries (which have small air pockets inside them) float to the surface with the gentle encouragement of a hand rake.

The berries are guided to the end of the field with a wooden guide (pictured here) then scooped out and taken for processing. By the way, that's salty band of blue Bay of Fundy along the horizon just past the field.

Probably these berries will be used to make cranberry juice or, even better, cranberry sauce to accompany our Christmas dinners next month!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Olympic torch visits Bay of Fundy!

The 2010 Olympics may start in 79 days but Canadians are getting pumped RIGHT NOW about hosting the games!

Although the games will take place on Canada's west coast, some 4300 kms from Bay of Fundy, we've all been given a fabulous opportunity to participate with the Olympic Torch Relay. The Olympic flame has been visiting various Bay of Fundy communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick during the past few days and will continue across Canada to 200 other towns and cities. If our experience is any indication, the torch will be met with great excitement and enthusiasm as it lights its way across the country!

I attended the relay at Grand Pre National Historic Site in Nova Scotia last week and Hopewell Rocks-Fundy National Park today. Here are some photos of the torch bearers & onlookers on the ocean floor (low tide) as well as my friend Keith (one of the torch bearers) with me and Hopewell Rocks staff grinning happily.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Big tree takes a ferry ride

If you live in Nova Scotia you're probably aware that the province sends one of it's most grandiose 'Christmas' trees to Boston, Massachusetts, every fall. This tree lights up the downtown over the holidays to recognize Bostonians for their many kindnesses following the Halifax Explosion in 1917.

This year a 15 metre (50 foot) white spruce was the tree of choice and this week the tree was transported to Boston via the "Princess of Acadia" (the ferry across Bay of Fundy from Digby, Nova Scotia, to Saint John, New Brunswick). A prestigious guest on a delightful Bay adventure on its way to being enjoyed by our neighbours in Boston!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pretty pretty cruise ship

Cruise ship visits to the Bay of Fundy have increased greatly in the past few years. Due to our tides, of course, there are many harbours without water for much of the day. The Fundy city of Saint John, New Brunswick, is our busiest cruise port with over 180,000 cruise passengers visiting in the run of a year.

There's a swanky new cruise terminal now on the Saint John waterfront (with an adjustable ramp system to allow for tide heights). I was in Saint John last week and was lucky enough to witness the last vessel of the season, the lovely Queen Mary II, swinging a tight U-turn in the harbour right outside our hotel.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Just another day walking on the ocean floor

An aerial view is one of the best ways to see the full extent of the vast low-tide-exposed ocean floor here on Bay of Fundy (keep your eyes peeled if you fly on a clear day Halifax, Nova Scotia to/from Montreal or Toronto: you'll go right over the upper bay).

Short of flying there are lots of great bluffs & trails with pretty amazing views too. Take this one at Five Islands Provincial Park in Nova Scotia.

This is just the regular view from the lower campground & picnic site. Low tide mud flats, snaking tidal river, layers of coast in the distance: just another breathtaking day (I took this photo yesterday) on Fundy bay. mmmm, yeah.....

p.s. yes those are tire tracks in the lower left corner. Probably from a clammer...