The Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia Canada By W erner O sterm ann of N



The Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia Canada By W erner O sterm ann of N
By Werner Ostermann of NovaShores Adventures
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Cape Chignecto
Wilderness Park
Bay of Fundy
Nova Scotia
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The Bay of Fundy
with its largest tides on this planet can conjure up images
of raging currents, whirlpools and riptides. While all this does occur on this amazing
body of water, it also presents some opportunities for exceptional sea kayaking
adventures. The most extraordinary destination on the Fundy is the Cape Chignecto
area, where the towering cliffs of the Avalon highlands meet those huge tides. Due to
differential erosion along the most geologically diverse coastline in Nova Scotia, where
it is said that when the super continent of Pangaea split part of it drifted on to what is
now Morocco and the other became the Chignecto shore where sea stacks, caves
and arches are the norm.
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stunning scene
We paddle into a
of sea stacks and a jagged coast
Archway at high tide Red Rocks
Spicers Cove
We will be going on a three-day coastal adventure
Paddling the entire coast of the Cape Chignecto wilderness park. It is a protected area which is
inhabited by large land mammals such as Black
bear, moose, deer, and numerous smaller species,
plus a wide array of land and sea birds and some
of our favourites that we share our paddle with
– grey and harbour seals. On arrival at Spicers
Cove, the wild beach we launch from, our group
of four and guide spend some time first checking
out the numerous carboniferous age fossils to
be found along the red sand beach. It takes a
while to stuff every available inch of the kayaks
with the necessary safety/camping gear and some
good food and wine to enjoy after each day’s
After an easy launch from the sand beach we
make our way towards the high conglomerate
cliffs, keeping a safe distance in case of rock falls
until we reach a fault line where it abruptly
turns into the more solid volcanic rhyolite and
basalt predominant along this part of the shore,
allowing us to paddle within a paddles length
of the sheer cliff face. This mix of red and black
stone presents a colourful backdrop to the jade
green water of the phytoplankton rich waters
of the bay.
The Three Sisters
On reaching Squally point we round the corner
with the highest raised beach in the province
high above us, a remnant of the last ice age. We
paddle into a stunning scene of sea stacks and a
jagged coast where the red rhyolite is frequently
broken by the black diabase dykes that surged
through the crevices millions of year ago, now
eroding into a kayaker’s fantasyland.
Some of these stacks are part of the legends of
the indigenous peoples of the area, the Mikmaq,
natives whose imagination gave life to many of
the mysterious forms that thrust to the sky from
the sea. Like Olympus in Greek mythology, the
Bay of Fundy was the home to the Mikmaq gods.
But the Mikmaq were long ago driven from this
area by Europeans who realized the value of the
impressive timber for building ships. As we leave
the sea stacks we paddle into a place known as
Eatonville Harbour.
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wild river, at one time it roared with the steam
engines driving the saws to cut the wood to build
the ships, which they then filled with more of the
wood for export to Europe and the eastern
seaboard of North America. Little evidence
remains of this time, although we do find some
old rusted iron nails and a horseshoe on the
constantly eroding beach. In the short time we are
there the large tidal basin empties and the mouth
of the Eatonville River does a Jekyll and Hyde turn
from placid to a surging white water river.
The younger seals slide into the water before we
approach and survey us close up from where they
feel the most comfortable. The big bulls eye us
suspiciously though, remaining on the rocks
unless we get a bit too close and then they too
will slide down into the sea for a closer look at
these strange creatures. Knowing we can easily
make the cape for the high, we spend some time
with the seals, letting them get comfortable with
us and taking photos. On reaching the cape we
After lunch we continue down the shore, which
has now changed to predominantly basalt, with
the occasional bald eagle soaring overhead and
black guillemot’s flying in a flurry of quickly
beating wings from their cliff side nests, their red
legs and feet giving a flash of colour over the
water. On arrival at Seal Cove we set up camp on
the sand/cobble beach and enjoy a gourmet
dinner as the sound of the beach pebbles
washing to and fro as the surf advances up the
beach gives a soothing backdrop of sound to our
secluded beach camp. The reds and oranges of a
spectacular sunset paint a picture of serenity as
we retire after a beautiful, peaceful day.
We awaken the next morning to strange melody
of sounds, the bellowing of grey seals from the
next cove, mixed with the mewing of the gulls
overhead. After a hearty breakfast, we begin the
day with a discussion of the challenges of the
day’s paddle. The wind has picked up and some
surf on the steep beach means we will spend a bit
of time until the tide drops further. And it does
drop! With a tidal difference of up to around 12
metres on this part of the bay the environment is
constantly changing.
Refugee Cove
Refugee has a storied past, named for the Acadian
escapees of the British deportation of 1755.
Apparently a group of the Acadians, who had refused
to declare allegiance to the British crown, escaped to
this remote cove, setting up a lookout for British ships
at the French look off just above the cove. Just offshore
is Isle Haute, named by Samuel Champlain in 1605 and
in the distance is Cape d’Or, again named by
Champlain, mistaking the copper coloured cliffs for
gold instead of the copper it was.
take advantage of the small beach, which is getting
smaller by the minute, to have a lunch and watch
the tidal rips surging out into the bay.
In the short time we are there the
large tidal basin empties and the mouth
of the Eatonville River does a
Jekyll and Hyde
turn from placid to a surging white water river
At the top of the flood tide we are ready to go,
quickly slipping around the point into a new
world. While the jagged shore to this point has
been fascinating, what meets us on rounding the
cape is formidable. We are met with huge sea
cliffs rising vertically 200 metres from the water.
The aptly named Devils Slide really gives us a
sense just how diminutive we actually are! As we
continue down the imposing coastline Old Sal, a
large sea stack that marks the entrance to Refugee
Cove, our camp for the night, greets us.
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The Three Sisters at high tide
Now a beautiful tidal
With a bit of wind and the currents caused by
those big tides, today will have to be well timed
for the rounding of Cape Chignecto, which is
thrust deep into the Bay of Fundy, splitting it
into two large bays. We will time the rounding
with the high tide, where we can hug the cliffs.
Before we reach that though, we spend some
time with the grey seals. They have hauled
themselves up on the bladder wrack covered
rocks as the tide drops and eye us warily as we
quietly float into their world.
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Owl Rock
The Fundy tides create a kayaking fantasyland
On setting up camp we decide to hike the coastal
trail out of Refugee for a look at our environment
from a different perspective. It isn’t long before
we realize that a sea kayak is by far the best way
to explore this rugged coast. Climbing at a 40degree angle up 200 metres, we are sweating
profusely by the time we reach the top. The
kayaks are mere specks on the beach.
The following day is an easy paddle, giving us
ample time to really investigate the sea caves
along the coast – and a real treat – take a
freshwater shower under a waterfall that tumbles
a hundred metres down a cliff into the bay. At
high tide we can paddle directly under it, but
today we luxuriate in refreshing water that
massages away the stiffness from a couple of days
of paddling and then dry in the warmth of the
summer’s sun. Return to civilization will come
all too soon.
about kayak tours on the
Bay of Fundy

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