Monday, August 31, 2015

8/31 St. Martin Sea Caves, New Brunswick

Today had been a perfect last day of August--sunny with a cool sea breeze!  Warm enough to not bother with a jacket, but not hot, even in the full sun. I even turned my AC off and have opened up windows. Fresh air smells good.  

Remember last night's beach photo?  Here it is at low tide.  It is hard to tell, but the beach is very steep, and it's hard to get down to the water's edge because of the steepness.

And this is the same view today at high tide.

This is looking the other way at high tide.

I got some work done this morning and early afternoon, then decided to get my bike out and ride down through this little spread-out town to the sea caves at the nearby point.  I didn't stop at this charming store, but definitely plan to do so tomorrow.

St. Martins is not on the way to anything, so there is not much traffic, which is nice for bike riding.

Remember how this little port looks at about two hours after high tide.

Through the covered bridge . . . .

And the sea caves in the distance.  Tide is not quite half-way out, but level is dropping fast.

I had an early dinner at the local restaurant.  This was seafood casserole--lobster, shrimp, scallops, and fish in a creamy sauce topped with cheese and baked.  Very good!

Tide keeps going out while I eat.

Walking was very hard because of the rounded rocks.  Very easy to twist an ankle, and of course, I had forgotten my walking stick and was wearing sandals.  Should have had on my swim shoes. 

It's hard to judge the size of this cave, but you can compare it to the trees on the cliff. I did not go inside because that would have meant wading through about a foot-deep stream and possibly falling.

This is looking back toward the restaurant and parking lot in the distance.  The seafloor is nearly entirely bare.

You can see a few tiny people in the cave in this photo.

I took this photo from the same spot as I took the others while I had been eating.

This harbor had been full of water on my way to the caves. 

The fishing boats are now high and dry.  This one has some sort of prop holding it up, I think.

Don't know what I will do tomorrow.  I want to do some more bike riding around town and try out another restaurant.  I am hungry for fried clams.  Or I might drive into Saint John and wander around the shopping area downtown. 


Sunday, August 30, 2015

8/30 St. Martins, Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

I left Bar Harbor this morning.  Yesterday was a work and do laundry day, so I was able to get a lot of things cleaned up and put away after spending nine days in Bar Harbor.  I really like that town because it has lots to do and wonderful shuttles.  I liked the campground also because my site was on a hill and I had a great view.  I have learned over the last three years that I like grand vistas instead of woodsy places to camp. 

So, today I drove just a little over 200 miles, which is about my maximum.  The first 30 and the last 40 miles were over county roads that were bumpy and uneven.  Uneven roads make the top of my tall vehicle sway from left to right like crazy, to the point where I have to really slow down, something not appreciated by the cars lined up behind me.  It also means more work for me because I have to continually steer to keep control of this big vehicle.  (I have power steering, but it is still not like steering a car.  You have to hold on hard to control the wheel.)  The result was a tiring day.  Below are some photos of New Brunswick on the good road, not the curving and swaying one!  Lots of pine trees, rocks, and low hills.

I arrived at my new campground about 5:00 p.m. Atlantic time, a time zone I did not even know existed.  New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia are all on Atlantic time, so at least I won’t need to switch again. 

Here I am getting escorted to my campsite.

I was happy to see that this was a large campground on a very open field, right on the ocean!  Or at least on the Bay of Fundy.  No satellite reception, but at least I have a fantastic view and decent free internet.  The nice ladies at the desk gave me a prime site, right at the end of a row and directly overlooking the bay, so I am happy.  I thought Bar Harbor’s 10’ tide was pretty substantial, but the tide here is 35’, I am told.  (I am about 50 miles from Fundy Provincial Park, and will be visiting there in a few days.)

I arrived at low tide, which is nice.  You can walk on this beach, but it is 100% very small pebbles and rocks, so not your usual sandy swimming beach.  In addition, since the tide is so low, there is a steep slope down to the water which made walking in my sandals tricky. 

There are some sea caves down the beach that I can ride my bike to tomorrow.  I will wear my beach shoes and take along my walking stick then. 
Incredibly beautiful weather!  Temps are in the low 70s with a pleasant breeze.   What a view!!

I apologize for my lousy camera work, but here is a video I took this evening.

Friday, August 28, 2015

8/28 Nature Boat Tour, Bar Harbor, Maine

The early part of this week was foggy and dreary, with rain all day Wednesday, so it was very pleasant that yesterday and today turned out to be sunny and very pleasant.  I figured it would be a great day for one of the boat tours offered out of Bar Harbor because I would miss weekend crowds.  (Schools do not start here until after Labor Day, so there are still lots of families traveling.)

Much to my surprise, there were two big Holland America cruise ships in this relatively small town today:  the Maasdam and Veendam, each holding about 1,200 passengers!  Luckily I had a reservation and most of the cruise line passengers seemed to be taking the whale watching trip. 

This is the Maasdam.

And here is the Veendam.  The harbor does not have room for such big ships so they had to use tenders to transfer passengers back and forth.

One thing I learned on this tour was how Bar Harbor got its name.  See the sandy area in this photo?  It is a sand bar that blocks part of the harbor at low tide.  You can walk out onto it, and you can just barely see the people on the far side of the bar.  The tide is as much as 10 feet in this area, so most of the time boats can pass over this bar, but they do have to be careful.  Also, if you decide to walk out onto the bar, you have to make sure you get back to shore before the tide comes in or you will be stranded on the island to the right and need to be rescued for a fee.
Leaving the harbor.

The next few pictures show the big mansions along the shore.  Nice places to spend the summer. 

While most of these homes are older, this one is new. 

No mansions in this photo; just showing you the rocky shoreline of Acadia National Park.

What does NOT show up well, is that the tour boat is going past thousands of lobster buoys.  They are everywhere, but since the boat is a catamaran propelled by jets of water instead of regular propellers, they don't get tangled in all the trap ropes.

A couple of days ago, I posted some photos of Thunder Hole.  This is what it looks like from the ocean.  You can see here that it is not only a crack in the rock, but there is a cave at the end that makes the booming noise and spray of water.  Unfortunately, this is low tide and there are no big waves.  It must really be impressive in big storms! 

This is a lobster fisherman checking his pots.

Part of the tour was going to Egg Rock.  It got its name because it is a bird nesting area and eggs were collected here a long time ago.  It is managed by the National Park service as a bird and seal sanctuary.  During early summer, a lot of puffins nest here, but not very many nesting birds this time of year.  There were still a lot of gulls hanging around.

The guide said these were mostly harbor seals, with an occasional grey seal.  

This is the Egg Rock Lighthouse, obviously.

Another private island with a sturdily built stone cabin.

This is a privately owned island which is also managed by the park service.  There is a house, but it is seldom occupied. It has a huge solar power array on a large area of the roof.

Some colorful kayakers and more lobster traps.

There is a young eagle sitting in the tree in the middle right of this photo.

Back at Bar Harbor.  Most of these boats are lobster boats, by the way.

These guys were unloading and loading stuff.  Did not see any actual lobsters, but lots of traps on this and on other boats.

It was a nice tour, and just about the right length for me.  Headed back home via the shuttle.  Tomorrow will be a catch up on work and laundry day.  I leave on Sunday morning for Saint John, New Brunswick, so I am looking forward to that.  I have really enjoyed my 8 days in Bar Harbor, but it is time to move on to new things to see.