jester journals

Weird Ramblings from a Warped Mind


Nova Scotia Tour 2016 … 7-25 2016

It was time to hit the road again. OWN (‘Ol Weird Nancy) thought I was diverting too much attention to auctions and buying stuff I/we didn’t need, so she felt some time away might be in order.

And the destination this time was Nova Scotia … (that’s in Canada, Katyleen).

Luckily, I have a brother and his WONDERFUL wife that live there, so we didn’t plan to sleep on the street. And like our recent trip to Ireland, this one went off well. We departed from Nashville, TN (because the local Hickville Holler (Pop 2) airport only handles crop dusters and goats) and had a short stop in Toronto, Ontario (again, Katyleen, it’s a city in Canada) before we landed in Moncton, New Brunswick. From there, it was only about a 45 minute drive to the infamous Igloo Ranch of Dave and Cathy Gilmore.

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Monday morning we were up and at ’em. I had heard talk and seen photos of the infamous 40-foot tides on the Bay of Fundy, so that was to be our first stop. We arrived at Parrsboro, NS as the tide was in. The photos below were taken at that time to give credence to the photos we would take just a scant six hours later.

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This particular photo will be a great example of the “before” the tide is out to use as a comparison shortly.

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Here is one of OWN (‘Ol Weird Nancy) being a tourist …

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We then left to visit a couple of other stops before coming back for the view with the tide out.

We stopped for lunch at the Wild Caraway Restaurant and Café in Advocate Harbour, NS. And if you’re ever in the neighborhood, I very HIGHLY recommend this spot for some AWESOME food. Once done, we headed to Cape d’Or to check out the views and the lighthouse.

This was the dock across from our lunch stop:

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The walk down from the parking lot to the cape and lighthouse were well worth the trek.

While we were able to see the fog bank nearly all day, it normally stayed out over the water or, in some cases, we entered it if we reached a high enough point. The Cape d’Or Lighthouse was one of those locations.

Due to the fog, this photo does not do justice to show the drop the the rocks below.

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Here, Cathy and OWN (‘Ol Weird Nancy) return from the short walk to the actual point of the Cape and walk past the lighthouse.

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My fave was the fog horn …

So after a VALIANT struggle to climb back up to the car, we loaded up to head back over towards Parrsboro, NS to view the tide while it was out. Along the way, we stopped by the Age of Sail Heritage Centre in Port Greville, NS. They had a great display on the local ship building industry that was active for over 100 years.

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The museum itself is beautiful as you approach. Housed in a former Methodist Church built in 1854, the building was taken apart and reassembled in it’s current location to house the collection.

Over the course of it’s 100 years, the local ship building industry built over 700 tall wooden ships in addition to minesweepers, scows, and tugs. An impressive collection of tools used in the process along with several scale models of the ships are on display.

A large portion of the museum is housed in an adjacent building built to be an inverted half model of the last ship built on the site. It is approximately half the length and width of that last ship … and the woodworking is nothing short of amazing.

The view below shows the route the ships were taken once completed. They waited for the tide to come in and floated the ships out to the bay.

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We left and headed back to Parrsboro, NS to catch the view of the tide being out. This was an AMAZING sight. From just a scant 6 hours earlier, the view was entirely different.

From the morning shot of the full bay with the lighthouse in the background, to this:

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The morning shot of us with the dock and the truck in the background to this:

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We could walk over to the dock and look up at it’s nearly 40-foot height:

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I also found this … meaning someone would be disappointed at dinner.

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Us by the dock with the lighthouse in the background:

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My brother, Dave, investigating a lobster trap (it was empty).

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Looking up at the dock:

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Cathy and OWN (‘Ol Weird Nancy) with the lighthouse in the background:

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Here is a shot of one of the fleet that stayed in port one day:

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This is a great before and after of the day:

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This had been an amazing experience. It was awe inspiring realizing the power that nature holds.

As we left to head back to Amherst, NS, we passed a small cemetery. I had mentioned my fondness for them since I enjoy genealogy and learning about my family’s history. On a whim, we stopped and decided to visit this one. Surprisingly, we were amazed to find the grave of a Veteran of the US Civil War, Corporal John P. Carlow, Company H, 28th Maine Infantry.

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A great ending to day one.

Tuesday brought another great opportunity to view the power of nature at it’s best.

We left for a short ride to the Maccan River to watch the Tidal Bore. Twice a day for the last 6000 years, turbulent tides have rushed up the bay of Fundy. The force of the tides ground the sandstone bedrock to sediment and carried the loads of silt up the rivers that flows in the Chignecto Bay and the Cumberland Basin. Each tide left a thin layer of mud on the low lying shores and riverbanks.

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As the centuries passed, the layers of silt gradually grew thicker until wide flats of mud lay above the water level during all but the highest tides. On the raised areas, salt water cordgrass and other salt tolerant plants grew. Their roots stabilized the mad and their stems trapped even more silt until a wide band of salt marsh was created between the dry upland and the tidal flats.

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This is a great video from YouTube posted by Adam Bickle.

But even this video does not do justice to seeing it in person. When you arrive, the river in front of you is flowing out, left to right. As the time approaches, you slowly begin to hear a sound of rushing water. Nothing strong … and it’s around the bend. The as the tidal comes around the corner, you notice a small wave, anywhere from a few inches to a couple of feet, coming up the river … against the current. This wave of rushing water continues until the entire flow of the river changes course in front of you. Instead of flowing left to right like it was on arrival, the current is now flowing right to left. All within a span of about 30 minutes.

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A local resident, Gordon Boss, is the local expert on the tidal bore. His home is just across from the salt marsh and he has has lived in this area all his life and has been watching the bore for over 50 years. Now he talks with visitors at the Maccan Tidal Wetlands Park and types out the tidal bore schedule each year on a 50 year old Remington quiet-writer typewriter. He not only posts the chart, marking the estimated times for the tidal bores, he also calculates estimated heights to help manage visitor expectations.

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He loves making the tidal bore accessible to anyone interested and he loves to meet people. He can see the river from his house and he and his son-in-law take care of the park. It is they who mow the paths, post the charts, and make this an inviting place to spend some time. Now in his late 80s, Gordon is still an animated, interesting, vibrant person. He was a wealth of information during our visit.

We left another impressive viewing of nature at it’s best and decided to head to view some local history. This stop would be Fort Beauséjour. It was built by the French in 1751 to defend their interests in the region.

This is a model of the fort that is located in the visitor’s center:

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The diagram explaining the fort:

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And these two keep showing up everywhere … standing outside a former munitions bunker in this photo:

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We then headed back to Amherst, NS for a stop at the rug hooking studio of DeAnne Fitzpatrick … AND we got to meet her. If you’re into rug hooking, this is the MECCA! Folks come from around the world to visit her studio.

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Wednesday started early. We were starting the day at Peggy’s Cove and then heading to Halifax. We left at 7:00. AM!! But it proved well worth the early rise and the drive.

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Peggy’s Cove is another stop on the tourist trail. There were several buses with folks from as far as Japan.

AND these two showed up again:

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And one without them:

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And this guy was there squeezing on a VERY out-of-tune cat … but he took a break long enough to take a photo with THESE TWO:

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We loaded up and headed into Halifax, the provincial capital of Nova Scotia. Our first stop was for lunch at the 150 year old Henry House.

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It was named for William Alexander Henry who was a representative in the House of Assembly, a Father of the Confederation, a Mayor of Halifax, an Attorney General of Nova Scotia, and the first Supreme Court member from Nova Scotia. And his legacy lives large in the house … and they make awesome rueben sandwiches.

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Following lunch, we headed to the waterfront and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I had read that they had a display on the Titanic along with several artifacts on display.

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The museum is a treasure trove of all things nautical. After the Titanic displays, my favorite was the large selection of detailed scale models of various ships.

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There were several items from the Titanic disaster. A portion of the life vest from John Jacob Astor, one of the richest people in the world at the time, with a net worth (in today’s dollars) of $2.13Bn:

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A recovered deck chair (original except for the cane seat):

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A portion of the grand staircase:

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A mortuary bag that the personal effects of a victim were stored in:

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This was one display from the portion of the museum devoted to the Halifax Explosion that occurred on 6 Dec 1917. On that morning, the French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc, laden with explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo. The resulting explosion killed 2,000 and left 9,000 injured. The blast was the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT. I bought a book about this tragedy:

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Another random item in the museum was this mine:

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After the Titanic exhibit, my favorite were these VERY detailed scale models:

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My favorite model was this one … a ferry designed to carry train cars:

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And luckily, I happened to glance outside the museum window and caught a glance of Theodore Tugboat:

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We decided to walk down the harbor walk to get a drink and we caught a great view of the Colombian tall ship ARC Gloria, a three-masted barque that is the flagship of the Colombian Navy as well as its main training vessel.

And these two had to get in the photo again:

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We then drove a couple of blocks to the center of Halifax and it’s highest point … the former military fort known as The Citadel. It was established as a British post in 1749, but the present fort dates from the 1828-1856 period and is its fourth generation of defence works.

There is an extensive amount of history displayed and many are “live action” with actors dressed in various uniforms from various conflicts. I enjoyed the World War I display which included a tour through trenches given by a guide dressed in an authentic wool uniform … in the mid-80s heat.

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Also on display was a WWI military ambulance:

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The views overlooking the Halifax Harbor were pretty amazing:

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And a couple of pano shots:

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Our last stop of the day was Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the final resting place for 121 of the Titanic victims:

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The marker recognizing the Titanic victims:

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Some of the graves:

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Jack Dawson was the named used in the Titanic movie for the character of Leonardo Dicaprio:

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This is actually the grave of Joseph Dawson, the 23-year-old trimmer (coal trimmer; a person who evens out the piles of coal), from Dublin, Ireland.

James McGrady was the last body recovered, #330:

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After all this, we headed back to Amherst. It was a LONG day with LOTS of memories.

Thursday, we took it kind of easy. We visited Dave and Cathy’s cottage near Northport with it’s awesome views:

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On our return to Amherst, we stopped to eat (fish and chips) at the Riverside restaurant at Tidnish Bridge.

I took a photo of the bridge and then one of me on the bridge:

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Tidnish Bridge is valued as evidence of one of Nova Scotia’s most ambitious engineering projects. The Chignecto Marine Transport Railway was the dream of H.C.G. Ketchum, the project’s principle designer and supporter. Born in New Brunswick in 1839, Ketchum was a proven and able engineer. It was Ketchum’s belief that “ship-railways” were the way of the future and the only reasonable solution to the problems of nineteenth-century transportation. As a result of his proposals, the Chignecto Marine Transport Railway Company was incorporated in 1882. However, it wasn’t until 1888, when the company had found sufficient financial backing that the railroad construction began.

Ketchum’s project was, simply put, designed to lift ships out of the water, place them on a specially designed railroad cradle and, by means of two huge locomotives, pull them across the Isthmus of Chignecto, returning them to the water on the opposite shore; thereby avoiding the extra cost and time involved in sailing around the mainland of Nova Scotia or in digging a canal through the isthmus.

The project called for a basin, approximately 150 meters wide and twelve meters deep to be excavated at the Fort Lawrence Terminus. It would be faced with heavy masonry and at one end a gate, approximately eighteen meters wide and ten meters high would open to admit shipping at high water. The success of the operation at this terminus depended on the great tides on the Bay of Fundy. At the Tidnish Shore, owing to the smaller tide factor, the project called for approximately a nine-hundred and fifteen meter channel.

A vessel to be transported would be brought into the dock and floated over a large gridiron which, with the cradle on it, would be immersed at the bottom of the dock. The cradle was approximately seventy meters long, twelve meters wide and was carried on one hundred and ninety-two wheels. When the vessel was properly secured to the cradle, vessel and cradle would be lifted by hydraulic presses to the level of the railway where the gridiron would be securely locked. The cradle was then to be hauled off, the gridiron and locomotive power would be attached for the passage over land.

The construction of the railway was beset with difficulties and challenges from the outset. The bogs along the line had to be dug out and refilled, the rails used were the heaviest ever used in a railway up to that time and the hydraulic lifts which were used at each terminus presented many new problems. As well, recurrent delays attributable to financier’s wariness, inadequate engineering estimates and the constant political pressure brought to bear by shipping companies opposed to the ship-railway, combined to bring construction to an end in 1891.

When the work was stopped approximately three quarters of the railway had been completed. The basin at Fort Lawrence had been completed, approximately twenty kilometers of track had been laid and the specially designed cradles and locomotives were almost ready for delivery.

This concluded our touring. We returned to Amherst for the night. Friday, we went into town to view some local murals, buy a few items, and had an early dinner. We had to get up at 4:00 … AM … to catch our early flight.

The views of nature on this trip were breath-taking. From the Bay of Fundy tides, to the tidal bore, to the large amounts of Bald Eagles we saw, a bear (seen by everyone BUT me), it was great.

I must admit, I didn’t see a Dudley Do-Right Mountie … or a moose … or an igloo, but other than THAT, it was pretty awesome.

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We had a blast!!

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