Belugas & Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, N.S.

Maritimes 2008

Days 3, 4 & 5

Monday, 23 June

We eat a lovely breakfast, which Guy has prepared for us, of heart-shaped crepes with homemade jams, then head out in the fog to try and spot some Minke whales. It’s a lovely walk along rocky shoreline and wooden walkways, but it yields no sightings.

Sharon has a nice chat with some other whale-sighting hopefuls.

“Heeeere whaley, whaley, whaley.”

We leave Tadoussac in time to catch the 1:30 ferry out of St. Simeon. The crossing is almost an hour and does yield some sightings.

A pod of about 6 pure white Belugas about 150 yards off the port side. This photo doesn't do it justice, but it is pretty thrilling.

Click play on this movie for a little Beluga action. Raffi was playing in both our heads uncontrollably for about the next six hours. Arrrggggh. Sorry, now I've infected your brain, too, haven't I?

Off to Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Nothing too remarkable here.

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Tuesday, 24 June Partly cloudy, high 19 We leave B&B owners Jane & Jerry, guests Edward and Christine, from Markham, Kaye & David from Elora, Ontario at about 9:00, after a hearty breakfast of pancakes , sausages and processed ham. Mmmm. Sharon thought that the ham wasn’t good. So, what’s the matter with a little processing?

A brief stop in Heartland, about an hour and a half toward Fredericton, for the world’s longest covered bridge (400m), proves even less exciting than Grand Falls. Mind you, we didn’t walk through the gorge, nor do we drive through the bridge, as it is under construction.

Other than that, we whip through the beautiful St. John River valley, along the Transcanada – Hwy 2. Sharon sleeps part of the way and I have James Taylor on my headphones. There is NO traffic; speed limit 110. Pretty much bliss, as far as I’m concerned.

On to our next much anticipated 3-day stint in the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. We get lost in Amherst, NS, but with the help of our map and some pretty bad directions from a lady and her dog in a pickup truck near Salem, we make it. Around 6, we finally arrive in Spencer’s Island, which is actually a bay looking out onto the island. This is what we see:

The four bedroom house we have all to ourselves.

Our front porch, facing the bay of Fundy.

Lupins and wild roses are everywhere.

This is the cafe / bar / ice cream parlour in Spencer’s Island.

Our ‘landlord’, Laurie Currie, pulls in right behind us. He is much younger than we had imagined, but just as friendly, if not more so. He tells us he has owned the place for 7 years, but only lived here for one month. “Just didn’t feel like home. We’re living just up the road there, where my father, grandfather and great grandfather lived. Maybe we’ll live here in our later years. Ya never know.” “But you have it up for sale,” I remind him. “Well, whatever will be, that’s what was meant to be. I really believe that,” he says. “If it sells, that’s what was supposed to happen. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” Laurie continues, “There’s an outdoor theatre. We donated 5 acres. There’s a semicircle of rocks where you sit and the movie shows on the sail of the ship. It was pretty flappy last time we tried it. Oh, and there’s no mosquitoes, but there’s black flies. But they’re not too bad. They’re in the grass and they’ll just stay there for the most part if you don’t jump around too much.” I give Sharon a look of mock disappointment. Damn. Jumping around on the lawn is just what we were hoping to do.

Laurie can’t stop talking about the house, the community, and his three daughters. “It’s prom night and I’ll be driving the two younger ones soon.”

By 7:30 we’re unpacked and settled in. The place is clean and has an old phonograph we are told we can use, “but just don’t wind it too tight.” We choose the NE bedroom, because it has the best view of the Bay. Laurie won’t rent it out to more than one family at a time. At $125 / night, that makes it quite the steal. Anyway, we take a walk to the beach – maybe 40 meters away – and end up eating at the café there. Early to bed. Hope to catch sunrise in the morning.

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Wednesday, 25 June Sunny, beautiful day. High 21. I awake at 5:50 and practically jump out of bed. The sun has been fully up for probably 20 minutes, so I get dressed and head straight down for a walk along the beach. Minas basin has the biggest tides in the world - up to 60 feet. The tide is high.

Here’s a little movie of what I see.

I come back around 7 and Sharon is still sleeping, so I take the guitar out onto the front porch for a while. Adrian’s Taylor sure sounds sweet. Sharon is soon up and at ‘em, (or “up and toward ‘em”, as she likes to say) and we hang about the house, writing, getting breakfast, and so on, until about 10:30 when we head out for a walk. I get a kick out of how much Sharon loves collecting things from the beach. I hurt for her because her legs limit the amount of time she can spend walking and bending. I think she could stay out all day and I’d have to hound her to come in for a meal, just like a 10-year-old.

Sharon collecting rocks and driftwood at low tide at Spencer’s Island.

Around 12:30 we head out to Advocate Harbour – about a half hour drive.

Low tide at Advocate Harbour leaves a fishing boat sitting in the sand. Note the trucks of the fishermen who are out collecting their catch.

At West Advocate Beach there is driftwood piled as far as the eye can see. We go up to the Lighthouse Keeper’s Kitchen for lunch. It is right out on the point at Cape D’Or. There’s about 5 km of gravel road to get there, and the owner comes up the last hill to pick us up in his 4x4. The chef is an Aussie full of charm and wit. His cooking ain’t half bad either. We each have a bowl of fish chowder that leaves us shaking our heads in wonder and ecstasy from the first spoonful to the last. We hang out on the grounds for a half hour afterwards to take in this amazing promontory. It feels like the end of the earth.

The view from the Lightkeeper’s Kitchen. Gourmet cuisine at the end of the earth. Click play on the movie below.

After Cape D’Or we drive endlessly winding road east to Port Greville. I was pronouncing it Port GREE-ville. Laurie Currie calls it Poor GRI-vle (rhymes with snivel), but both Chuck (the Chef at the local café) and Darcy Snell (owner of the Lighthouse Keeper’s Kitchen) say Port Gri-VILLE (rhymes with Cruella you-know-who). In fact, Darcy tells us, “Sometimes we call it ‘Porkerville’.” I love this place.

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