Friday, August 26, 2016

Nova Scotia--Bay of Fundy

Wow!  I made it.  Nova Scotia was my destination from the very start of this journey and here I am, six years later!   Yes, it is six years this month.  It is shocking to me how fast this time has gone, but when I look back it is equally surprising to me, how much I have seen and experienced.  

Visitor Centers are always my first stop for maps and recommendations.

Without hesitation, I knew the initial leg of this trip would be the Bay of Fundy, the place that holds the record for the highest tides on Earth!

I figured it might be a bit hard to show the tide shifts in photographs but maybe you readers will get a feel for the awesomeness of it....starting with this river....or lack of a river.

This river is a mere trickle of water flowing slowly through this mucky riverbed...and I am still miles from the Bay.

It appears that the receding tide actually sucks the water right out of the rivers--twice a day!
BTW, that is mud and not water.

You can see on this retainer wall just how high the water can climb when it returns.  I learned that when the tide returns it will cover the grasses and create what is called 'Salt Marshes'.

And the tide is relentless...pushing inland for miles....

...and into the most improbable areas.

The following is a phenomenon that I did not witness but certainly would have liked to.  If I had more time I would have just camped on the side of one of these rivers and waited.

Tidal Bores occur in the Bay of Fundy where high tides enter the estuary of a tidal river.  This causes the tide to increase in speed and magnitude.
A Tidal Bore is formed when the leading edge of the tide forms a wave, or wall of water that surges upstream.  This wave is created as the river becomes shallower, and the velocity of incoming water is slowed down by frictional drag.  Water flooding from behind overtakes and surges over the top of the leading edge, creating the impression of a large wave moving upstream.

Bores range in speed and height depending on where one is observing this phenomenon.  They can be over 3 ft in height and can have speeds ranging from 4 to 8 miles an hour.  Tidal bores can travel for many miles, pushed along by the swell of the tide. Behind the Bore, the river reverses direction, flowing upstream until the tide begins to subside again.

Tidal Bores occur twice a day, once every 12.5 hours.  Each day the Bore is roughly 1 hour later than on the previous day. 

A local inhabitant told me,  "...some of the teenagers around here like to surf the Tidal Bores." (That did not surprise me.)

As I approached the Bay I saw boats, sitting high and dry, waiting for the tides.

Tides are caused by the periodic rising and falling of the Earth's oceans in response to the gravitational attraction exerted on the Earth by the moon and the sun.  The Funnel effect of the Bay of Fundy then increases the magnitude of the tide.

At one time this area was a thriving industrial community.  During the peak of industrial development, dozens of seagoing ships, loaded with coal, timber and grindstones, sailed the waters.  Those industries have disappeared and the region is now reliant on some farming as well as fossil collecting  provided by the low tides.  At Joggins, fossil collecting attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Joggins is a park and community located on the Bay of Fundy.  The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are Canada's 15th UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I had missed extreme low tide by an hour but it was impressive anyway.
When I read the tide chart in the visitor center it said the tide would be 12.6--no big deal, I thought.  That is, until I learned the chart was in meters and when converted to feet it was 41 ft, 4 inches!

This is an hour past low tide and the water is returning.  If you look in the middle of that photo and slightly to the right you can see two figures...

...and if you can't see them then here they are.


Beware of incoming tide if you go on mudflats.  
Do not attempt to walk to the islands. 
Channels fill first, and quickly. 
You may be cut off on a Sandbar 
and trapped by tide.

(Enough said)

I opted to stay closer to shore,

There was enough to see and I think I could still make it to the stairs if the tides tried to overtake me.


There were others with the same idea.

But it was easy to lose track of time and place when you wander along with your head pointed downward.

The rocks and fossils in the cliffs and on the ocean floor date back to the period of Earth history that geologists call the Carboniferous--the Age of Coal. 

I could have explored all day...


Fossilized tree root.

Sea Fan?



Dinosaur poop?  (I think my imagination was working overtime at this point.)

The oldest known reptile was found at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

More tree roots...

And teeny tiny shells.

Maybe it's best I NOT photograph every rock on the beach.

There were signs of sea life not yet fossilized...

Brave souls digging for clams

What will future archeologists think when they find fossilized sneaker tracks?

Dinosaurs began to dominate the planet about 230 million years ago--a long time after the fossils found at Joggins had formed.

Hmm, was the tide getting closer?

The Bay of Fundy is known for its high tidal range.  The quest for the world tidal record has led to a rivalry between the Bay of Fundy and Ungava Bay (north of Ontario) over which body of water has the highest tides in the world.

 The highest 'regular' tide recorded is in the Bay of Fundy at 56 feet.  The highest water level ever recorded in the Bay occurred at the head of the Basin on October 4-5, 1869 during a tropical cyclone named the Saxby Gale.  The water level reached 71 feet and was a result of the combination of high winds, abnormally low atmospheric pressure and a spring tide.

Wow! Wish I could have seen that one! 

Items in Italics are from the literature in the Joggins Fossil Center.

(Not pertaining to anything in particular---Ninety six years ago today, the 19th Amendment finally granted women the right to vote!  I hope we all appreciate and use it.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Acadian French of PEI

My island visit was about to come to an end 
but I made one last stop at the Acadian museum in Miscouche near Summerside.

 Prince Edward Island has been inhabited for thousands of years.  Recent archeological excavations prove that people were living here at least 10,000 years ago.  Their descendants, the Mi'kmaq,  were probably the people the first French explorers encountered when they arrived on the Island in 1534.  

They called the island, Isle Saint Jean.  Eventually the French settled and farmed the area until the 'Expulsion of the Acadians'.

This was the beginning of the mass deportation of the Acadians from Canada...

In 1758, the British captured the fortress at Louisbourg, forcing France to surrender both Ile Royale and Ile Saint Jean.  The population of the island at the time was about 5,000.  An estimated 3,000 of them were deported to France.  About 700 of the deportees perished when one of the ships sank in the English Channel.  Many more died on board the other ships. Those 2000 remaining on the Island hid  or escaped to the mainland and sought refuge there.

Those Acadians that were able to get back to the Island some years later found that their land was now owned and occupied by the English.  In order to stay on the Island, the Acadians were obliged to become tenants to the English landowners. Relations were understandably strained.  

From a letter written by  the missionary priest de Balonne in August of 1800...
"There are now three Acadian settlements,  in Malpeque, Rasticot and in Bay Fortune.  In each case the settlements were formed by two or three families who produced many offspring, but without ever marrying anyone else, so that in each of the localities you will find that everyone is more or less related. I cannot disapprove of the aversion they have for marrying their neighbors (the English, the Scots or the Irish) because it has meant that they have kept their faith, their customs and their piety intact. The result is that all the marriages are between relatives, and until I arrived second cousins were being married without any difficulty."

Though that friction between the different communities is no longer so noticeable, the vestiges are apparently still there.    In one town the names of the businesses, streets and monuments are all about the English or the Scots and 5 miles away all the names change to Arceneaux, LaBlanc, Hebert, and Poirier.   The rivers are Riviere Saint Something,  the towns become Saint Whomever and the language is abruptly switched by clerks, waitresses, and children from English to French, then back again.

I thought it might be interesting to compare the Acadian food to the Cajun food of La.  Well, there is no similarity at all.  Where the spicy Cajun cuisine will give you heartburn for a week and raise your cholesterol to the 'oh my god!' level,  the Acadian French cuisine is somewhat bland and boring. (My heart doctor would love it)  
The plate I ordered was called Acadian Feast:  Rapure, meat pie, Chicken Tricot and Coquille Evangeline.  It was okay but a little garlic and cayenne would have helped a lot.  An interesting item on that plate was the black liquid in the little cup--molasses!  I am not sure what it goes with so I just tried it with everything.  It helped. 


A natural connection between the Cajuns of La. and the Acadians is their love of music and dancing.

One of the oldest references to Acadian dance on P.E.I. is a comment made by a visiting Presbyterian minister in 1770, "...he describes the evening he spent at the home of an Acadian family, "At 9 pm went to a house where the French were convened, had a dance and spent the evening in jollity."

Most gatherings, parties, and dances were held in the kitchen, which was usually the largest and warmest room of the house.  Living rooms were usually reserved for special occasions and not for 'soirees' where there would be a crowd of people and square dancing.  These parties often took place on special occasions such as weddings and Shrovetide.  The dancing would start after supper and often last until dawn.  Kitchens filled with as many dancing couples as the space could hold.  A local fiddler or mouth organ player provided the music.


Deacon Cyrus Gallant, a well-known dancer, described how popular dance was in the early decades of the 20th century:
"It was like there was a heartbeat in the room, and they couldn't avoid it.  They had to jump on the floor, and we can't describe that, because you don't see it anymore.  They just couldn't stay off the floor."


This spectacular church and the accompanying cemetery ...

...had prime ocean view.

Prince Edward Island is definitely worth the effort it took to get there.  I am really glad I did it.  Now it was time to head to Nova Scotia.  I noticed that I barely slept that night before leaving; perhaps it was the blowing wind and rain on my roof,  or possibly my fear of that narrow bridge with the ocean far below me.

(Items in Italics are from literature provided by the museum)