Our final stop in the Maritimes – St. Andrews-by-the-Sea

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St Andrews by the seaFor those of you just joining us on our Canadian Maritime adventure, we are actually back in the USA now – sitting on the coast of Maine at the moment.  This post is a catch-up to cover our final stop and end of our Canadian travels.  We were having such a great time and seeing so many things that sitting in front of a computer had to take a back seat.  Besides, not having internet connectivity at times made it impossible to keep up.

Anyway, we arrived at St Andrews-by-the-Sea excited, as this was our last stop before crossing the border again. The moment we felt the sea breeze brushing our cheeks as we settled into our campsite, we immediately liked the place.  Who wouldn’t?  We had another “big screen” view, this time of Passamaquody bay.  We stayed at Kiwanis Oceanfront Camping – click here if interested in Steve’s review of this great campground.

Passamaquoddy Bay

Passamaquoddy Bay at low tide

Kiwanis Ocean Camping,St Andrews by the Sea

Betsy-by-the-Sea

We explored the beautiful little town of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea on foot, as all attractions were walkable from our campground.  Having been in the rain for the past few days, we welcomed the sunshine and started early on our sightseeing.  This town was designated as a National Historic District, one of the oldest and loveliest in the Maritimes.  We agree.  It is loaded with neat shops and excellent restaurants.  We could definitely spend more time here!

St Andrews by the sea

Water Street early in the morning

St Andrews-by-the-sea

Market Wharf

Strolling around this little seaside town, we observed many of the well-preserved original buildings.

St Andrews by the sea

The local folks we talked to were the friendliest we have met while in Canada.  From the lady at the coffee shop to the lady at Olive and Spreads, to the lady at the Irish pub – they were all very helpful!

Our wanderings also led us to a blockhouse, which is a building modestly fortified to defend an area.  This one was built during the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Great Britain, and it is the last one standing in the Maritimes.  The St. Andrews Blockhouse and Battery has been preserved as a national historic site since 1962.

St Andrews Blockhouse

That’s Maine over there across the water where the cannons are pointing!

Since Passamaquoddy Bay was only a few steps from Betsy, I went down and explored the tidal floor and checked out the shore birds while the tide was low.

A few interesting marine plants and shells on the ocean floor:

We joined yet another tour, this time aboard the Jolly Breeze.  We didn’t go so much to see the whales and other sea creatures (we’ve seen many in Alaska), but more for the experience of cruising aboard a classic tall ship.  We saw this ship go by the campground and thought it would be fun to hop aboard.  That’s the Jolly Breeze cruising by in our new blog header.

Jolly Breeze

Aboard Jolly Breeze

St Andrews by the sea

St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, viewed from the Jolly Breeze

A was to be expected, we saw a Minke Whale, Harbor Seals, Grey Seals and a couple of Bald Eagles.

Each morning I got up early to catch the sunrise.  With the open space and the bay before us, the photo ops were right there for the clicking.  I have taken so many pictures that picking one is like picking your favorite sister – too difficult!

St Andrews by the sea

St. Andrews-by-the-Sea was a great final stop on our Maritime adventure. We liked the look and feel of the town, enjoying every minute of our stay.  A rainbow even appeared, as if to confirm Steve’s comment that this was one of his favorite harbor towns of all. St Andrews by the sea

Our Canadian Maritime adventure stats:

Number of days in Canada = 29 (8/11-9/9)
Miles driven = 1,332
Amount of diesel burned = 177 gallons
Average price for diesel = $5.10/gallon

What was originally planned as a two-week trip mushroomed into a whole month of driving around the Maritime provinces, made up of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.  Despite spotty internet in the RV parks, high prices, a lot of rain and some bad roads – the trip was well worth it.  The people were friendly and seemed happy to see visitors in their towns.

Which province is my favorite?  It would have to be Prince Edward Island – the whole island is just too picturesque, pastoral with wide open spaces.

Canada Maritimes

Map of where we had been in Canada’s Maritimes

Our blogger friends were like walking visitor centers – many thanks to Pam of Oh the Places they go, (especially the Scone alert!), Gay of Good Times Rolling (we stayed at the RV parks they were in) Brenda of Island Girl (the French River was the best!) and Judith of Red Road Diaries – they had been here before and provided us with excellent inside information and tips about the Maritimes.

And finally, finally..the morning we left for the USA was no exception, as I captured this very serene and calm morning with brushstroke clouds that made it look like a painting. The beautiful sunrise was a great start for our journey back to the good ‘ol USA.

Sunrise at St Andrews by the sea

Next up:

The fabulous Acadia National Park!

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Sculpted by time and tide – Hopewell Cape, NB

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Flower Pots Rocks
Steve and the ducks

Steve chatting with the quack-quacks

We finally began our journey back toward the U.S. from Cape Breton Island, via New Brunswick.  We thought we’d left the rain behind us, but our brief stop at Linwood, NS was a washout, too.  I know it sounds like we’re complaining, but cabin fever was setting in and we became antsy.  The sun finally made a grand appearance, and our drive to Moncton, New Brunswick was a happy one.  Steve made friends with the ducks at our campsite and discussed the weather with them.  They seemed perfectly happy about all of the rain that had come through!

Since we had been through here on our way to Prince Edward Island a few weeks ago, this was a “catch our breath” stop and we ran a few errands – like a much-needed trip to Costco.  But we did have time for an interesting excursion that fits right in with my past blogs about the Bay of Fundy, and the effects of the  highest tides in the world.  Folks coming to this area don’t want to miss a trip out to the Hopewell Rocks.

Hopewell Rocks

Low tide at Hopewell Rocks

This drive took us to an interesting geologic feature known as the Hopewell Rocks formation, where the famous “Flower Pot Rocks” are located.  Even though we have been to quite a few formations – Chiricahua Mountains (Arizona)Alabama Hills (California), Stone Mountain (Georgia) etc – the Flower Pot Rocks are quite different.  While rain and ice continue to erode these formations today, they get the additional daily tidal action that wears away at the bases of the cliffs and rocks.  This is slowly disintegrating them as the Bay of Fundy tides continue to change these unusual sculptures.

Flower Pots Rocks, Hopewell Rocks

The average change in water level from high to low tide is 35 ft.  Steve won’t be standing here in a few hours!

The only time these formations can be seen is at low tide.  So, along with busloads of tourists we explored the ocean floor for a fee.  The Bay of Fundy is a huge attraction here in New Brunswick.

Warning Signs, Hopewell Rocks

Keep the time in mind, or else!

Hopewell Rocks

This platform is where the dummies who don’t pay attention have to go, if they don’t get off the beach in time. Then they get to sit there until the tide goes back out hours later. How embarrassing!

Flower Pots, Hopewell Rocks

Low tide at the “Flower Pots”

The formations consist of dark sedimentary conglomerate and sandstone rock.  The huge volume of water flowing into and out of the Bay of Fundy constantly modifies the landscape surrounding it.  Following the retreat of the glaciers in the region during the last ice age, surface water filtering through cracks in the cliff eroded and separated the formations from the rest of the cliff face.  At the same time, advancing and retreating tides eroded the base of the rocks at a faster rate than the tops, resulting in their unusual shapes.

Flower Pots, Hopewell Rocks

Rock Formations at Hopewell Rocks

Little person in a big hole.

Rock Weeds, Hopewell Rocks

Rock weeds cover the base of the rocks.

At Hopewell we could also see the mud flats that stretch as wide as 2.5 miles.  It boggles the mind to contemplate the amount of water that moves in and out of here every day.

Hopewell's Mud Flats

Hopewell’s mud flats and coastline, and the Bay of Fundy in the distance.

After walking on the ocean floor and checking out the rocks, we continued to follow the Fundy Coastline Scenic Drive.  It took us to the town of Alma, a small fishing town where we had (oh no, not again!) lobster for lunch.

Alma Tide, NB

Can you see people walking on the ocean floor?

Low Tide at Alma, NB

Low tide at Alma

Lobsters

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe!

After a sumptuous lobster lunch, we continued on to Cape Enrage, where we had spectacular views of its towering cliffs and a lighthouse.  Interestingly, in 1993 a small group of high school students from Moncton began a restoration project at the site, which was in disrepair and constantly vandalized. They renovated all of the buildings and slowly turned the site into a tourist destination.  A not-for-profit student-run organization maintains the property and now offers climbing, rappelling, and kayaking in the summer months.

Cape Enrage Lighthouse

Cape Enrage lighthouse is one of the oldest on New Brunswick’s Fundy coastline.

We noticed some adventurous women rappelling down the cliffs, and watched them until they reach the ground.  Hmm, I don’t think I will do it even if they did make it look easy!

Cape Enrage

These women made it looked easy.

Cape Enrage

Instead of rappelling we just played “washer pitching”, a game similar to horseshoes.

Cape Enrage’s name came from an early French descriptive, ‘cape of rage’, as exhibited by the turbulent waters often seen in the area.

Cape Enrage

A very windy trip to Cape Enrage – check out Steve’s “bad hair” day!

Cape Enrage

Tidal notices like this abound in beach areas.

Cape Enrage

Tide coming in at Cape Enrage

On the way home we stopped by again at the Hopewell Rocks, just to see how the tourists were doing at the ocean floor now.

Mid Tide at Hopewell Rocks

The tide’s coming in at the Rocks now, but a few tourist are lingering.  Not for long!

There was no shortage of fantastic scenery as we drove home, following the Fundy Coastal Drive.  The open space, green pastures and cloud formations made for a beautiful end to the day!

Fundy Coastal Drive

Fundy Coastal Drive

This time, “home” was at the Stonehurst Golf Course and Trailer Park in Moncton.  We liked it better than the Camper City and RV Resort, where we stayed the last time in Moncton.  Click here to see Steve’s review, if interested.

It was quite an amazing experience to witness the high and low tides of the Bay of Fundy.  The Reversing, Falls at St. John, the sculpted rocks at Hopewell Cape, the immense low tide at Alma and the Fundy Trail Parkway all made this part of our adventure memorable!

Next up:  Our final stop at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea and goodbye to Canada!

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Exploring Fundy Trail Parkway- St Martins, NB

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St Martins low tide

Our next adventure took us to the coastal wilderness where we experienced yet another Bay of Fundy phenomenon – a coastline sculpted by the worlds highest tides.  It was a long and scenic drive to the Fundy Trail Parkway, and a bit foggy when we arrived.  So, you may wonder, what is the Bay of Fundy and what’s the big deal?

Bay of Fundy

Location of the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is a bay between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The bay is known for having the highest tidal range in the world because it is funnel-shaped across its width, deep at one end and shallow at the other.  This configuration forces tides to be pushed higher as they move up into the Bay.  We were fascinated to learn that the highest tides on earth fill the bay with over one hundred billion tons of seawater – as high as a four-story building – and brimming with diverse marine life.  Just hours later at low tide, we were able to stroll among the rock formations on the seabed.

St Martins, NB

A colorful crafts store near the beach.

There are three interesting ways to observe the tides: the Vertical Effect, the Horizontal Effect and the Tidal Rapids.  In my previous post, the Reversing Rapids were an example of Tidal Rapids.  During our exploration at the Fundy Trail Parkway we saw an example of a vertical tide.

At St. Martins, gateway to the Fundy Trail Parkway, we spotted a small harbor where fishing boats were sitting on the ground during low tide.  On our way back home we saw the boats bobbing in the water alongside the wharf.  Small harbors are the best place to see vertical tide changes that can be 50 ft or more!

St Martins low tide

Low tide at St. Martins – no fishing for a while, folks!

St Martins at high tide

High tide at St. Martins – OK, let’s go catch dinner!

We stopped at many lookouts to view towering cliffs, undeveloped coastline and panoramic vistas of beaches.  The Fundy Trail winds its way along one of the last remaining coastal wilderness areas between Florida and Labrador.

Fundy Trail Parkway

Undeveloped stretch of coastline.

Pangburn Beach

Looking out on Pangburn and Melvin beaches during low tide – they don’t exist at high tide.

At one point we hiked down to follow the Fundy Footpath all the way to Fundy Point.  We skirted along Big Salmon river and hugged the coastline, where Steve decided to create his own path all the way to where the river flows to the ocean.  He thought we would then walk across the shallow beach there and walk back up the path on the other side.  Wrong!

Big Salmon River

Steve created his own footpath to the beach, but his mission was doomed.

When we arrived on the beach, we witnessed  horizontal tide, which happens when the low tide retreats as much as three miles, leaving vast areas of the ocean floor exposed.

Big Salmon River

Let’s see how far we can walk out to the ocean – this would all be deeply covered in a couple of hours.

Unfortunately we were just a little late and the tide was coming back in, so we had to double back on the trail we had just taken.  Oh well, nice try!

Big Salmon River Beach

Let’s get out of here before the tide catches us!

On the ocean floor, we took notice of the seaweed attached to rocks, and tiny black sea shells…

…also some beautiful wildflowers and critters along the “real” pathway as we returned…

…finally arriving at the suspension foot bridge – the easy and correct way to cross Big Salmon river.

Big Salmon River

Goofing off at the suspension foot bridge – showing Steve this is the right way to cross the river!

With the fog lifting by early afternoon, we chose to follow the path to the Fuller Falls lookout, then hiked just over a mile down to Melvin Beach.  We noted the clay colored cliffs and colorful sandy stones that we walked on. The tide was starting back in so we chose to stay at Melvin Beach and not cross over to Pangburn Beach.

Melvin Beach

Melvin Beach and its huge piles of colorful smooth stones.

Melvin Beach

Searching for the perfect stone.  Note the high tide line on the wall behind me – and it has already been coming in for some time when we took this shot.

The entry fee was worth every penny, for we thoroughly enjoyed each view, path and trail we followed.  The 10-mile Fundy Trail Parkway is well constructed and maintained within the most picturesque area of the Bay of Fundy, and it provided us with a variety of experiences along its length.

On our way home we stopped by St. Martins village and enjoyed some more local fresh and delicious seafood, this time a lobster roll and a cup of delicious chowder.  The restaurant had a great view of beautiful sea caves – shallow features carved into sandstone and conglomerate caused by physical erosion of the high and low tides.

St. Martin seacaves

We had a beer and some yummy seafood here while checking out the nearby sea caves.

More images captured on our way back to camp…

St Martins, NB

An overcast sky lends mood to some shots.

A colorful home with a matching colored barn and gift shop

St Martin village

Folks here tend to use and match colors on their structures very well.

And back to the curvy and steep grades along scenic highway 111 .

Highway 111

Curvy and steep grades along highway 111.

We stopped and bought wild Canadian blueberries, with which I baked a delicious pie that we savored after a long day of exploration.

Wild Blueberries

Wild blueberries are best for pies!

We never fail to admire the Grand Bay-Westfield visitor center as we passed by it  on our way in and out of the campground.

Grand Bay Westfield

Visitor Center at Grand Bay -Westfield

We have more stories and pictures to share – the Canadian Maritimes are so scenic and colorful.  The weather has been near perfect, sunny but a bit breezy at times.  Stay tuned!

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Betsy’s “Ferry Tale” – Saint John, NB

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Reversing Falls Welcome Sign

We left the USA on a bright sunny morning and crossed the Canada border once again. This is Betsy’s eighth crossing into Canada.  Because we were weaving in and out of Canada a lot while on our Alaskan adventure, we have taken to counting our border crossings.  Now we’re taking Betsy into Canada on the other side of the country.  The officer at the border asked us the usual questions, and after giving him the right answers we were on our way!

Calais, ME

Non-event crossing at the Canadian border

A few kilometers later, we were welcomed to the province of New Brunswick, where we began to teach our brains – think kilometers, meters, liters, celsius, pricey diesel and a little French – no problem!

New Brunswick, Welcome sign

We traveled a few scenic miles to our destination, Hardings Point Campground, where Betsy would endure a short ferry ride to get to the park.  Unlike riding on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry, this ferry ride is cable driven, no charge, and only took five minutes. 

Ferry Crossing

Another ferry ride for Betsy.  She looks a little wide here, has she gained some weight?

We were assigned a spot on top of a hill with a minimal view of the river.  To get internet access we had to walk down to the office.  Check Steve’s park review here.

Hardings Point Campground

Obviously, we were excited to be in Canada again and started to plan things to do.  We received lots of recommendations and tips from our blogger friends and we wanted to experience as much as possible while here.  We left early morning the following day to catch the low tide at the Reversing Falls at Saint John.  That required another ferry ride to cross the channel, since our campground was located at the tip of the Kingston Peninsula.  But it was easy with the car.

Sunrise at Hardings Point

Sunrise at Hardings Point

Our first stop was to be at the foot of the Saint John river, from which we could get a front-row seat to observe the reversing direction of the river.  They call this phenomenon the “reversing rapids”,  when the world’s highest tides push in, rushing up and over the river.  They collide and the river actually reverses flow in the face of the unstoppable natural power.   We were advised that the reversal is best viewed during two stages of one tide cycle – near low tide and near high tide – every 6 hours or so.

Reversing Falls Welcome Sign

Can you see me?

It was low tide when we got there, and we saw the river flow on its normal course – freely out to the bay.  The bay tides continue to fall below the level of the river until the low tide is complete.  At this point the tidal waters are 14 ½ feet lower than the river.

Reversing Falls

At low tide – the river is flowing freely into the bay

We didn’t want to hang around for several hours waiting for high tide, so we headed out and our first stop was at the Wolastoq Park, which is just across the street.  It has one of the best views of the Reversing Rapids, the inner harbour and the city skyline of Saint John.  As we strolled along the walking paths, we learned about the history of the city and saw the many statues of some of the historical Saint John figures that have helped shape the city.

Wolastoq Park

Historical wooden sculptures are displayed along the pathway.

Saint John Skyline

Saint John skyline viewed from Wolastoq Park up on the hill

After our stroll we headed downtown, to where the cruisers from a Carnival Cruise ship were in town.

Saint John Waterfront

Saint John, New Brunswick

Architecture in the uptown area

Saint John City Market

The roof of the City Market is built like a ship’s inverted hull.

Public Library

At the Market Square

Saint John, NB

Mixture of old and new architecture

Near high tide, we went back to the Reversing Falls and observed that the flow of the river had reversed.  The push of the bay’s tides continued to high tide, causing the water to create rapids going upstream and pushing the 450-mile long St John River backwards for a period of several hours.  Cool!

Reversing Falls

Its high tide now -note the flow of the river has been reversed as the tide is pushing in.  Amazing!

After running around all day we headed home, taking the ferry again…

Ferry Ride at Hardings Point

Then the tired driver grabbed his favorite book…

Hardings Point Campground

Relaxing at the park

… while I enjoyed a fiery sunset by the river!

Sunset at New Brunswick

Fiery sunset

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