20 December 2012

Trans-Canadian Summer, part V: Nova Scotia

View the full Trans-Canadian Summer series
After an idyllic stay on Prince Edward Island, we motored on to our destination - Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy.  While P.E.I. was an agrarian dream, we found ourselves more drawn to Nova Scotia.  The slightly feral nature of farms tangled among thick woods felt more 'real' somehow. 

Surreal, though, was the water.  In Kingsport, we were at the most inland point of the Bay of Fundy - a place where the tides rise and fall by an average of more than 40 feet twice each day.  It is nearly impossible to picture it, and comprehending requires seeing it for oneself.

High tide

Low tide

Thanks to our friends who live nearby, we enjoyed a personalized tour of the area.  Thérèse, who is a veteran tour guide for the Grand Pré UNESCO World Heritage Site, explained that early settlers in this region built an ingenious system of dykes and channels to reclaim thousands of acres from the sea.  Many of the following images show the landscape as it has been ever since - under careful agricultural cultivation based on the rich soil left behind by the waters.

Clam or oyster digging was one of the things I most wanted to do during our visit.  Our hosts took us out, but we were totally skunked.  It was quite a feeling, though, being out there at the edge of the bay.  As we wandered the beach, looking for telltale bubbles, we kept a wary eye on the slowly advancing water.  We could see the tide come in, visibily, in the brief while we were out.

On our way back from the luckless digging, we saw what we were told is a perfectly normal scene - boats not in dry-dock, but just stranded by the low tide.  There was a fisherman on the dock, seemingly waiting for the tide.

 From a vantage point several hundred feet above Kingsport, we had a great view of the whole valley, including the orchards, farms, and vineyards that characterize the region.


The next day, we went on a personalized tour of several vineyards in the area. Our hosts were co-founders of one of the first wineries in this part of Nova Scotia, and they seemed to know most of the local growers and vinters. For all the details, check out this article, which I published in the QCT after we returned.

Blomidon Estates - founded by our hosts in the late 1980s - is still the only
winery in Nova Scotia which directly borders the Bay of Fundy.

One day, we went on a bit of a mini-road trip to another UNESCO Heritage Site - Lunenburg.

It's a quaint little fishing village with brightly colored houses, an active fishing industry, a great marine museum, and even a sailing school.  We spent a few hours perusing the displays at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.  We particularly enjoyed exploring the handful of fishing vessels that are also part of the museum, and even wandered down to the boat yard, where a large educational sailing ship was in port for repairs.  

As you scroll through the next set of photos, imagine the nearly-overwhelming amount of details, information, history, traditions, colors, terms, and bits and pieces which could be housed in such a museum.  These images might give you a sense of the compelling confusion one feels - while very well presented, it is not the kind of information a landlubber can synthesize in a mere afternoon.

Lunenburg harbor
In the cook's cabin on board one of the fishing boats

Mess on one of the ships

The mess on another fishing ship - on this boat, the
crew slept in the same room where they ate -
the bunks are the curtain-covered cubicles along the walls.
Mouth of Lunenburg harbor

This pile of rope was almost as tall as me!
Color-coded bins for sorting fish on board one of the ships
A small dinghy used to row out to check nets
and lines, set bait, and haul in the catch.


Looking back at Lunenburg from one of the fishing boats

Our tour guides - Wayne & Thérèse -
with Jerod after a great seafood lunch.

That same afternoon, we drove almost all the way to Halifax, in order to take a stroll in one of the province's smallest-yet-most-popular towns.  Peggy's Cove is a picturesque handful of small houses clinging to huge rocks right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.  Once a fishing village, it is now a tourist destination and artists' hamlet with a great view.

Photo credit: Wayne MacDonald

We were told this is perhaps the most
frequently-photographed lighthouse in North America.
Photo credit: Wayne MacDonald

Of course, we joined the tradition -
I photographed nearly every (public)
nook and crany of the place!

Jerod captured these two photos of an utterly phenomenal sunset.
On our way back to Quebec City, we drove up a local farmer's driveway, following signs for fresh peaches.  We came away with 50 pounds of unsprayed Fundy fruit.  They finished ripening on the drive north, and became peach jam that very weekend.

We really enjoyed Nova Scotia, though we only saw a couple corners of the province.  The photos hardly do it justice, and I hope we make it back there again soon.


Jennie said...

Pure pleasure reading this one!  GREAT photography!

Bethann said...

THANK YOU!  The trip was great fun.

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