Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flowerpot Rocks

July 6, 2010

Halifax, Nova Scotia to Sussex, New Brunswick

Our timing is perfect today for a stop to stroll among the Flowerpot Rocks in Fundy Bay. The difference between high and low tide in Fundy Bay can be forty feet or so. Today, given the cycle of the moon, it will "only" be 23 feet. The famous flower pot rocks in Hopewell, New Brunswick look like islands with trees on them at high tide, but they get their name from their appearance at low tide. Then they look like flower pots and urns rising a hundred feet or more above the rocky beach, with the trees that somehow find sustenance at their tops playing the roles of "flowers" in the oversized pots.

Visitors can walk along the rocky beach around the pots from three hours before to three hours after low tide, which today is 2:17 pm. We are here at 2, optimum timing. After paying over $15 for the two of us to have the privilege of seeing the rocks, we walk down a long trail through quite a lovely forest, with a couple scenic views of the beach and flower pot rock formation from above. The final stage of the path is a stairway of about 100 steps down a cliff face to the rocky beach.

We are dwarfed by the tall cliffs that rise high above us, and the long expanse of rocks that lies before the ocean. Large patches of seaweed lie where the water left them sitting when it receded, some of them with air-filled pods that remind us of bubble wrap, until w try to pop one and come away with slimy fingers.

The rock on the cliffs and pots is a very soft and unstable conglomerate. It is easy to imagine how the racing water of the big Fundy tides carved the pots from the cliff sides, as well as carving caves, natural bridges, and windows in the cliffs.

We hear the unmistakable screech of a Peregrine Falcon, and look up to see it fly to a crag high on the cliff face. A naturalist is on the beach nearby with an I-pad showing pictures from chick to fledgling age of three Peregrine Falcons hatched this year by the bird we just saw flying. He is excited about both the birds and his new teaching tool/toy, and enjoys telling curious visitors all about it. One of the visitors walks away saying, "I bet half the people who saw that presentation have an I-pad by Christmas." As if to prove his point, when I tell Dick about the great presentation I just saw, he says to me, "You need an I-pad."

When we finally have our fill of the wonders of the rocky shore and start heading back up the trail—surprise—we run into our friends Jan and Jim, whom we thought we left behind on the Cabot Trail. They are stopping on their way back to Halifax to catch a plane home, while we are wending our way in the opposite direction. After warm greetings and a bit of catching up, we continue on up the trail and they continue down, intent on watching the tide come rushing in. We hope it was more exciting for them than the aptly named Tidal Bore we all shared a little over a week ago.

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