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Old Aug 13, 2012, 9:42 PM   #1
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Default Another Trip to Grand Manan Island

My wife and I just returned from a week on Grand Manan Island, in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick. The island is in the Bay of Fundy, not far from the US border. This was our second trip to the island, and we had a very nice time despite the fact that we had only a few sunny days. We stayed at a campground that has cliff-top sites, offering magnificent views of the Bay of Fundy.


Our first full day on the island was sunny and beautiful. We decided to hike to Hay Point, a well-regarded place we had not seen in 2010. The hike begins at Southwest Head, where you can stand atop 300-foot (100 meter) basalt cliffs, looking at waves crashing far below. The trail traverses along the top of the cliff for about a 45 minute walk, then the trail descends very steeply down a series of ramps that lead to a beautiful grassy point, partway down the cliff face. It would be hard to imagine a more pleasant spot to have a picnic lunch.


1) A few minutes into our hike, we were treated to numerous views of the sheer basalt cliffs leading to the bay.
2) Just as startling as the views was the weathering that dead trees were subjected to. I had never before seen an entire tree weathered like driftwood.
3) Our first glimpse of Hay Point gave us an idea of how nice our picnic spot would be.
4) Hay Point truly is a lovely place to visit. And someone went to an awful lot of effort to haul a picnic table down that very steep trail!
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 9:48 PM   #2
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Our second day we found ourselves in a severe maritime storm. Fierce winds blew straight off the water and everyone set up on one of the clifftop campsites was exposed to the full fury of the Bay of Fundy. We spent much of the day indoors at museums or reading. The next several days were milder and had little wind, but we faced a lot of fog, rain, fog, and more fog. Still, the sun broke through occasionally and we had several opportunities to get out with the cameras.

1) The Swallowtail Lighthouse is one of the most beautiful lighthouses I’ve ever seen. This was the view from our campsite.

2) Another view of the Swallowtail Lighthouse, this time from Pettes Cove Beach.

3) As we were wandering around Pettes Cove, we heard the ferry’s fog horn warning of its impending arrival. Suddenly the fog bank lifted a bit, just enough to see the ferry in the fog. We saw this phenomenon several times during the week, and we referred to the as the arrival of the ghost ship.

4) We had booked a whale watch and a trip to a small island where puffins nest. Unfortunately, conditions were so rough that the trips had to be canceled and rescheduled. We got up very early one morning to call the tour company to find out if the 7:00 a.m. whale watching trip was on. Naturally, it was canceled, but because we were already up we decided to go down to the Swallowtail Lighthouse to watch the sunrise. We were rewarded with some beautiful views!

5) The sunset at the end of that day, viewed from the Point Eddy Light, was also spectacular!
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Old Aug 13, 2012, 9:51 PM   #3
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Our last full day on the island was beautiful and clear, and finally, we were able to go on a whale watching trip. We saw some breathtaking sights, with several whales breaching – jumping almost completely out of the water! Naturally, I wasn’t fast enough to get any photos of breaching whales, but I was pleased with a few shots of side fins and flukes in the air.
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 10:23 AM   #4
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Fantastic series. Gran Manan Island looks delightful. Your pictures inspire me to want to have a visit. I like the captures you got of the whale flukes and fins. What kind of Whale?

I have been wanting to go to Eastern Egg Rock to see and photograph the Atlantic Puffins. I understand the boat ride is 45 minutes from Cutler Maine.

Lou
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 2:40 PM   #5
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Those tail shots are fantastic , what an excellent place
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 4:32 PM   #6
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I like the whole series, I am a lighthouse fan, Love the ship in the fog, and the whale

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Old Aug 14, 2012, 5:18 PM   #7
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Some beautiful photos of a great trip! Great color and detail in each of these - especially enjoyed the sunset with light house, the whale tales, and the views of the cliffs.
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 10:26 PM   #8
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Wonderful series! I like them all and can't pick a favorite. Well, maybe the ferry, but just barely. Looks like you had a wonderful week in spite of the rain.
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 10:45 PM   #9
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Thanks for the kind words folks. Lou, I believe that Machias Seal Island is the one that’s about 45 minutes from Cutler. Eastern Egg Rock, I think, is another puffin nesting site that’s few miles off Pemaquid Point. But Machias Seal Island is the only place where puffins nest that you can land on the island and observe them from blinds. All the other nesting sites (to the best of my knowledge) you can observe the puffins only from the boat.


I thought I’d share a few more photos that show how high the tides are in the Bay of Fundy. These photos were taken at low tide – look at the high water line, and the steepness of the ramp leading down to the docks! Even more impressive, Grand Manan Island is at the mouth of the Bay, where the difference between low and high tide is “only” about 15-20 feet (6 -7 meters). At the upper end of the Bay, the difference in tide levels is more than double that.
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Old Aug 15, 2012, 7:42 AM   #10
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Oops, Lou, I just realized that I did not answer your question in my earlier reply. These were Humpback whales. North Atlantic Right Whales arrive later in the summer (mid-August through September). Even though the whale watching is better later in the summer we wanted to time our trip so that we had a chance of seeing both whales and puffins. Puffins leave their nests as soon as the chicks can fledge, usually around mid-August.
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