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Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

Nova Scotia
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Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

We recently had a wonderful two day trip to Cape Chignecto Park, Advocate Harbour and along the Fundy Shore. This was to celebrate our 41st. anniversary. We planned to do the short hike from the Eatonville entrance to the park in order to see the Three Sisters. Then we had reservations to have dinner at our favorite restaurant, Wild Caraway, and to stay overnight there. We had a great time, but with a bit more of an adventure than what we had planned.

We researched online:

novascotiaparks.ca/parks/cape-chignecto.asp

novascotia.com/en/…2808

trailpeak.com/trail-Eatonville-Hiking-Trails…

Since it was closer for us to drive there via Joggins, and go to the Eatonville entrance without going to the information centre in Advocate Harbour, we did that. We knew that the building at Eatonville was closed but we assumed there would be maps posted there. Wrong! However we did find the pathway and in a couple minutes found a sign with a large map, showing the two loops you could take. From then on things were well marked. We took the first loop leading to the Three Sisters. There were several platforms with look-offs with excellent information posted about what we were seeing. The walking is very easy and the views, even on this very cloudy day, were outstanding. We finished this loop and decided to take the second which was similarly outstanding. That is a total of about 6 kilometers plus the walk in from the parking lot. This old gal with the bad knee was feeling pretty proud.

So we headed back down the road to go to Advocate Harbour. At Spicer's Cove we saw several vehicles with people unloading kayaks. It was the peak of high tide and they were setting out to explore around the Three Sisters. I remarked to my husband that I was glad we would be getting to Advocate Harbour at high tide as I wanted to take pictures of the fishing wharf at high tide. It was not to be.

A short way past Spicer's Cove, we came to the bridge across an inlet from another beach. Whoops, the high tide had over-flowed onto the roadway on both sides of the bridge. We were stranded! The water was rushing in so quickly there were rapids. My husband took off his footwear and waded into the water. It was well over a foot deep and looked even deeper on the other side of the bridge. There was no way we could drive our car through that.

We were in no danger. The tide at the beach had just turned and the water would be going out. It was just mid afternoon so there was lots of time before dark. We had seen two other groups of people during our hike. They soon arrived. So did a surveyor working for the government. He sent out a radio message that the road was flooded. Eventually he offered to lead us out of the park driving on an old road towards Advocate Harbour. We set out to do this, but met two vehicles coming the other way who said the road was not suitable for cars so we drove back down toward the bridge to wait for the tide.

We could walk to the bridge on a high bank or berm and we walked back and forth several times. It was rough walking with lots of bushes. (My knee paid for this for the next week!)

It was fascinating to watch the tidal waters rush in at first, eventually slow down to a trickle and then start to flow out. Soon there were rapids again as the tidal waters flowed back out to sea. After a wait of about two hours we were able to drive out.

Our adventure was just a couple days after a full moon and the tide was unusually high. It certainly is a lesson to respect the awesome power of nature.

So we arrived in Advocate Harbour in time to clean up for dinner but not to take high tide photos at the wharf!

We checked in at Wild Caraway where Sarah showed us our room. It, and our dinner were fantastic as usual and reviews are coming.

The next day, after a wonderful breakfast, we set out in pouring rain to drive towards Parrsboro and along the Minas Basin and back home. We stopped in Port Greville at the Age of Sail Museum, which is well worth a visit, although seeing the textbooks we had used in elementary school as part of a museum exhibit does make you feel old!

Further along in Five Islands, we had lunch at Mo's. It was disappointing, and nowhere near as good as Diane's which we had been to two weeks before. In Economy we stopped at that Dutchman's Cheese Factory for some wonderful Dragon's Breath cheese and continued on home.

Our brief, wonderful adventure was over. Next year we plan to take a guided kayak tour to see some of the places we viewed from up high on the walking trails.

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1. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

The Fundy waters must be endlessly interesting, maryann. What an unexpected turn of events and very cooperative! with the time of day and on the turn back out. It sound like your getaway was very enjoyable. Can you see very far down the Bay from those high walks?

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2. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

nice trip report, nice little details here and there!

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3. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

From the trails we took we could see across the Bay of Fundy to New Brunswick. The views are very different from what you can see from Advocate Harbour and area as the trails are on the other side of the cape. The only way to see these views would be to hike or kayak as far as I know. Only one of our photos shows a building - the Apple River Lighthouse way off in the distance. On the map below we were to the west of Apple River in the park.

http://goo.gl/maps/66sT0

Edited: 09 August 2013, 22:31
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4. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

Really interesting, Maryann. Those must be stunning views. I put the map on satellite and see the Apple River has a huge estuary and delta. In fact the crescent at the mouth seems to be in danger of filling right in. And Advocate Harbour also seems to have a huge estuary in it. Curious that the farms behind AH are all seigneury style - long strips of land. I would want to put a ferry across from Wolfville to Parrsboro! But I guess it takes getting down to Digby to make crossing on deep enough water viable. Thanks for the map, I really appreciated learning something about that part of NS.

Advocate Harbour...
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5. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

Interesting trip report maryann! Mufti - For many years there was a Ferry from Parrsboro to Wolfville called the Kipawo (for Kingsport, Parrsboro, Wolfville, its 3 ports of call) - now its part of the Ship's Company Theatre. You enter the theatre over the old deck of the boat, with the bow and stern intact. Wonderful professional theatre! There is a boat ride operating out of Advocate that is just starting up this year, with rides to and through the split at Cape Split, Isle Haute and up the Chignecto coast.

The waters of the bay are very deep between Advocate and Halls Harbour on the other side, and very different than the Minas Basin which a lot of people are familiar with. Instead of brown muddy water, the waters are jade green to blue, depending on the sun and wave conditions. The bottom is of rock, sand, cobble and gravel until it reaches the Apple River marked by the Cape Capstan light referred to above as the Apple River light (except in the enclosed harbour in Advocate) until you get past Parrsboro where the mud bottom starts.

The area was originally dyked and farmed by the Acadians, which you can still find evidence of, with the loyalists and planters coming in to establish the farms after the expulsion, which are now broken up into wild blueberry farms with a couple of cattle farms left. The graveyard in Advocate, which has some of the most spectacular scenery you will find from a gravesite, is a great history lesson for the area - which is mainly a seafaring one from the age of sail. Lots of "lost at sea" headstones.

The road to Eatonville can be a real experience - we travel it every day to go to work (kayaking) and it is a true tidal road - but only on the spring tides - which are a few days after the full and new moons. It certainly can be a surprise to people unaccustomed to the big tides of the Fundy. That bridge referred to above was just put in early this summer - its actually a big improvement over what has been there in the past, where water up to 3 feet deep would stay for up to a month at a time, never draining. Great fun getting people in on tours when that happened! Now, as long as the Fundy allows that bridge to stay, it is a neat spot to see the power of the bay on a big tide - and to think about people whose lives revolve around something as natural and real as the timing of the tides instead of the artificial things that determine most peoples lives today. I know it drives some travellers crazy to think the tide will decide how their day evolves. As I often say, the area isn't for everyone, but for those with the right spirit and desire to discover something very unique - it can be a highlight of a trip to eastern Canada.

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6. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

We need to remember that nature rules us and not the reverse. Just ask those who attempt to prevent their shore front property from eroding, or those who build on a flood plain and try to stop flooding.

What great information you give kayakdover!

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7. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

I really appreciate this further information kayakdover. I've used Google Maps to locate all the places mentioned. What a rich "neighbourhood" that area is. I had very little idea. The Minas Basin is indeed well known. All the way back to elementary school mapping tests of Canada. "Label Minas Basin." lol I'm not surprised that it was Acadiens who set up the farm land, those strips are unmistakable.

I've been to NS including Wolfville, Grand Pre, through Truro and Springhill and over the bridge to PEI. I will have to come again and get down into that area. Maryann's TR and your post have sold me.

Thanks for taking the time.

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8. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

It is a wonderful area and I am so lucky to be only two hours away. We make the scenic drive several times a year and find different places to explore each time.

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9. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

sounds amazing. Great report like the info on places to eat. Glad you got back safely.

New York
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10. Re: Trip Report A personal encounter with the Fundy tides.

Interesting, Mary Ann. I was there recently (the kayaks you saw probably belonged to Novashore Adventures), and had a wonderful time.

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