Wednesday, September 12, 2012—New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy

Today is Sandy’s birthday, and we celebrated by serenading her in the hotel lobby.

We departed PEI early this morning in order to see the high tide at Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy. We crossed the Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge in the world over ice-covered waters, paying our toll on the bridge approach. As an island, PEI is somewhat isolated, with only two ways in or out by automobile: the ferry and the Confederation Bridge. The toll is collected only on the way out! As soon as we crossed, we were in New Brunswick. We drove to near Moncton, where we stopped for breakfast and coffee, and continued towards the Bay of Fundy, surprisingly seeing a ring neck pheasant on the outskirts of Moncton.

120912-6The Bay of Fundy is famous for having the highest tidal range in the world with, reaching a differential as high as 53.5 feet between high tide and low tide.  Today, we experience a very moderate tidal differential of only 22.6 feet.  In just a few days, on September 19, it will be 44.0 feet

The Hopewell Rocks, also known as the Flower Pot, is a provincial park that provides an opportunity to view high tides, and then walk on the ocean floor at low tides.  We rushed to be there at high tide.  Kay at water's edge at high tide, Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, New BrunswickAfter paying our entrance fee, and walking down the trail to the observation point, there was only a narrow band of beach exposed; we were a few minutes late, but the high tide had only dropped a few inches. We walked among the rock formations, on the narrow beach, taking pictures to compare with the same area at low tide later in the afternoon. The reddish brown color of the water was surprising, but takes on the color of the soil along the New Brunswick coastline, and the ever-changing tide keeps the water and soil agitated, giving the water this unusual color.

Kay, John, and Sandy at one of many covered bridges we saw in New BrunswickLeaving Hopewell Rocks, we drove south through beautiful countryside, noting the predominance of old, beautiful Baptist churches; we’re not sure if they maintain the same mostly evangelical beliefs of Baptist churches back home, but they easily outnumbered all other denominations combined. Along the way, we saw our first of several covered bridges.

120912-36Continuing south along the Bay of Fundy coast, we "detoured" off the main highway towards Cape Enrage. All of us—Sandy, Kay, John, and I—really enjoy taking routes on roads less traveled. Even off this loop, we found still another one that took us to an historic shipbuilding town, a road across a tidal barrier dam, and another out-of-the way road through one of Canada’s national wildlife preserves. The sparse farms and small villages were all neat and clean, and all the buildings looked freshly painted. Again, we saw a multitude of old mostly white churches, with a vast majority being Baptist.

120912-62This out-of-the way drive took us to Cape Enrage Lighthouse, sitting on a large cape jutting out high above the Bay of Fundy. I hesitated to pay the fee to access this area, but am glad I did. Again, I took the stairs down to the sea "floor" to walk among the clumps of sea weed and fossil embedded rocks. We had a great lunch at their cafe. Cape Enrage was not on our itinerary, but proved to be one of the most scenic places we visited.  It had barely escaped closure, but a private, not-for-profit entity took control, opened the restaurant, and to assist in funding, built some zip lines, provided kayak tours, and developed some other outdoor entertainment.  We were there in the off season, and it was not crowded.

Arriving at Fundy National Park, we were confused by directions to scenic views, and the lack of road and highway signage, though this seems to be the rule rather than the exception in all the Maritime Provinces. Consequently, we drove the breadth of the park, missing what we thought was a lighthouse view.

120912_Edited-8Low tide was approaching, so we returned to Hopewell Rocks where we all walked among the many rock formations now exposed.  Walking on the ocean floor, and sea weed, did not seem like much of a feat, until one realized that only a few hours ago it was covered with water. Again, the tidal differential today is a mere 22.6 feet, but has reached as much as 53+ feet, the highest recorded in the world. 120912_Edited-14

After seeing this "life list" item, we found our B&B, checked in, and relaxed in the spacious quarters and common areas. Dinner was at a dude ranch, and was good, wrapping up a long, but rewarding day.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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