Tuesday, August 7:
This morning we awoke to pouring rain and two random acts of kindness. As we lay in our camper preparing ourselves for stepping out of the camper into the wet soggy mist, there was a knock on the side door. Massey pushed aside the curtain and there was our neighbour in the next camper, visiting Halifax from Newfoundland. “Bye”, he said to Massey, ” we’re going into town today, so if you want to stay dry under our canopy, you’re welcome”. Later that morning, after a trip to the laundromat, I saw a woman coming toward me carrying a bag. As she got closer, I saw with horror that it was my purse. Apparently someone had turned it into the office, so she checked my driver’s license and brought it right over. “Nice picture”, she smiled as she walked off.
Today was “Farewell To Nova Scotia” day , and our destination was Digby, home of the world famous Digby scallops and the ferry that would take us over to St. John, New Brunswick. We left Halifax and headed into the interior, crossing the width of the peninsula and travelling through the lovely countryside of the Annapolis Valley. Views of rolling hills, lush vegetation and manicured farms were a contrast from the coastal views of the previous day, although equally picturesque. Reaching Annapolis Royal, we stopped briefly at the Annapolis Tidal Generating Plant on the Annapolis River, billed as North America’s only tidal generating station.
A short distance out of Annapolis Royal is the Port-Royal National Historic Site. Known as a Habitation, the site is a reconstruction of a small French compound that was founded in 1605 and is one of the earliest European settlements on the continent. The Habitation was a trading post where the French traded with the Mi’kmaq, thus forming a long lasting friendship and alliance. It survived until 1613 when it was destroyed in an attack by a British contingent from Virginia. The Habitation is a small wooden compound which would have housed about 40 men, sitting on a point of land looking out over the Anapolis Basin. The establishment of this Habitation led to further settlements, including the founding of the Habitation of Quebec by Champlain in 1608, and marked the beginning of efforts by the French to establish continuous settlements on the continent. With costumed interpreters on site, we gained a glimpse of the brutal conditions endured, as well as the ingenuity employed to make this country home. And so our history lesson continues.
We would have liked to have stayed longer in Annapolis Royal with its picturesque houses and tree-lined streets, but other than a stop at a German bakery, we continued on. There is a historical botanical garden in the middle of the town which we would love to come back to some day. Despite the fact that this trip is taking longer than we ever expected, there are still so many sights that have to be left unexplored for now.
Arriving in Digby, Scallop Capital of the World, our first thought (after booking our ferry ticket) was to find a place for a good feed of scallops. Taking the recommendation of a fellow we met on the street, we ended up at the Fundy Restaurant. Sitting out on the deck in the warm sun overlooking the water, we feasted on scallop chowder and bacon wrapped scallops – plump, tender and delicious – accompanied by a cold pint of Alexander Keith’s beer. Massey has really gotten into the spirit of this vacation – I think he’s had about 4 beer by now!
As our ferry didn’t leave until 8:45, we strolled up and down the main street of Digby for awhile before heading to the ferry terminal. Once in line, we were immediately the centre of attention, as people kept coming by to have a look at Shoestring. At one point, I was surrounded by a biking group from the Gaspesie, trying to communicate with my meagre French, while they all took a peek inside. Once on the “Princess of Acadia”, we hurried up to the outside deck so we could enjoy the sunset on the Bay of Fundy. The sky was spectacular, with deep blue becoming lighter and then smudging into yellow, gold, peach, orange and rust along the horizon. As the sky faded into black, the lighthouse blinked its warning as we made our way into the vastness of the bay. We were now experiencing another of Canada’s 7 wonders. The Bay of Fundy boasts the highest tides in the world. A total of 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay twice a day, a volume equal to all of the world’s rivers combined.
posted Sunday August 2007