05 February 2010

Skywatch Friday: The World's Highest Tides...and a little history


In my Wordless Wednesday post, I put up a photo which many of you thought was quite cool, and more than a few of you wondered about. Since it WAS Wordless Wednesday, I didn't offer any explanation other than the title, so I thought I'd explain a bit in this complementary post, just in time for Skywatch Friday.

I live on the west coast of Nova Scotia, overlooking the upper Bay of Fundy, home of the world's highest tides. A couple of years ago I did a post explaining something about the geography of our area. One of the characteristics of our area is numerous tidal rivers, including the Habitant River, which flows past the village of Canning and out to the Minas Basin. Because the river IS tidal, the waters rise and fall twice daily. In the cold of winter, ice forms, of course, and that gets tossed up into chunks like giants' ice cubes, along the muddy banks of the river. The photo from Wordless Wednesday was shot early one morning when there was hoarfrost on the trees and there'd been enough very cold days to make ice, which had been shuffled around several times by tides. Mist rising off the mud, ice and water just added to the mood.

I mentioned the aboiteaux, which is an Acadian word meaning sluiceway. The Acadians who settled here in the 17th century reclaimed hundreds of acres of fertile lands along the rivers and inland from the Minas Basin by building long dykes made of earth and rock, which held back the tidal waters and made the fertile acres available for cropping. This worked with the Basin, but what about the rivers? They had to flow, but the Acadians didn't want the salt water backing up into the croplands above the dykes. Their solution was to create one-way sluiceways, les aboiteaux, built of wood and with a flap at one end to allow the river waters to flow towards the Basin, but not to allow the seawater to flood back over the croplands.

The Wellington Dyke, in Lower Canard, both holds back the sea waters and has a modern aboiteaux which keeps the tidal Canard River from flooding the agricultural lands behind the dyke walls. This dyke and sluiceway, unlike the one at Habitant, would have been built by the British settlers who located in this area after Le Grand Dérangement, the Expulsion of the Acadians, in 1755. This photo shows the tidal part of the river at low tide...

And this is it at high water. Quite a different situation.

This is all a very timely post for several reasons. During the Expulsion, the Acadians were removed from their homelands, in what is now Nova Scotia, and many of them went south...both to Louisiana, home of what are now referred to as the Cajuns...and some went on to Haiti.

In standing on the dyke walls the other day, I thought about the tenacity of those first Acadians 250 years ago, and how their spirit of determination held them together as a people even in the face of being displaced from their homes, their farms and livestock, from all but their lives. They went elsewhere, and built new lives, and in time some came back here and reestablished, and are proudly here to this day.

Determination. Undaunted spirit and will to survive. The waters didn't defeat them, and neither did the politics.


27 comments:

  1. Dear Jodi, You live in such dramatic countryside which really suggests to me, particularly with today's posting, the pioneering spirit.

    The account of the dykes, the one way sluices and the land reclamation I found absolutely fascinating. It is extraordinary to consider the harsh lives of these early settlers but the vision they brought with them, and the tenacity to achieve it, are exemplary.

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  2. JOdi, I remember driving with my SIL to her mums house in Bridgetown, and driving past the Bay of Fundy, I had never seen anything like it. So beautiful.

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  3. I have always wanted to visit the Bay of Fundy. I've heard it's a good location for whale watching and being amazed by the tides. I know very little of the Arcadians. What a strong, determined people. Thank you for sharing your history and a bit of geography about where you live.

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  4. Jodi girl,being a very lucky ga, along with hubby and son included .. we are "Blue Nose" and have had the Acadian history lessons and appreciated what they went through. We have also been so lucky to live in Nova Scotia at different stages in our lives (having had the magic broken up a few times living many other different parts of Canada and Holland) BUT .. there is nothing more beautiful than seeing the sheer enormity and force of the Bay of Fundy and the tides .. now that is an eye opener ..
    Your pictures have been wonderful girl !

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  5. Oh pioneers! Interesting Acadian history.

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  6. I took a trip to Nova Scotia with my mother a few years ago... it's absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to get back!

    I love your writing style. Would you be interested in doing a guest post for http://www.alloutdoorpatiofurniture.com ? I think we could do a lot together!

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  7. Jodi, I can't visit your land but have wish to do so after reading this post. Thanks for sharing :)

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  8. After reading your explanation, I had to go look at the Wednesday post!! Wow!!! That is just awesome!! I have been to the Bay of Fundy a couple of times, but never in the winter. Maybe I should plan my next visit...

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  9. your blog is a very fitting change up as we presently are freezing up around the -14 degree with lots of snow and ice. I like your theme today of strong spirit, hard working and adapting and the natural wonders of our province ! Even though are winters can be long and sometimes unbearable it makes us strong and appreciate the warmer months so much more ! Budding into finally utilizing our natural green energies as they are being developed today, I hope NS becomes the center stage poster child for a strongly needed 'GREEN FUTURE' ! I don't always send you a comment, just wanted you to know I always read them and love them !

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  10. Hi Jodi...you do so well on capturing a little bit of our history here in N.S.! What a beautiful and unique province of Canada we live in...I can see how much you love it also. Keep up those history lessons and hang on...now that Feb. is here, spring is just around the corner!

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  11. aloha jodi,

    such a blue sky for skywatch friday...thanks for sharing a little of your world today

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  12. Interesting post. I've heard of the Bay of Fundy, but didn't know why!
    Love your bright blue sky too.

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  13. Jodi, Thanks for sharing this history. Most of my ancestors were Quebecois, close cousins of Nova Scotia's Acadiens, so I knew some of this, including the link between the Acadiens and Louisiana's Cajuns. But I didn't know that some of the Acadiens had gone to Haiti.
    It's funny, just yesterday, I was thinking about the Bay of Fundy's extraordinary high tides (and how you can sit mesmerized for hours and just watch the sea rising or falling), and today you blogged about it! Must be ESP -Jean

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  14. It's very interesting stuff, Jodi. My 'connection' with Nova Scotia is during my high school years, when we lived in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, outside of Portland. We took the Prince of Fundy...well, actually, we were on the Bolero, to Nova Scotia on an overnight cruise and had a blast. We spent the weekend there, somewhere, at a little recreational area with a lake, cottages, etc...and had such perfect weather. Then it was back to the bay, back to Portland, and I remember it well. I miss Maine, and we're going up next week to go skiing!

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  15. Good post and nice to know you Jodi! Have a great weekend.

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  16. I love these types of posts, so interesting! It's amazing what the Acadians were able to do.

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  17. I echo Edith's comment. Fascinating. I knew that Cajuns were descendants of Acadians, but I didn't know how they ended up here. I've never heard of the Expulsion and must look it up to learn more.

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  18. I am always fascinated by the pioneering spirit, such determination and will. Thanks for all the history notes here, I find it quite fascinating. Looking forward to following along on your blog... you live in a most beautiful spot of the world! :)

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  19. Beautiful photos and love the history lesson.

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  20. Jodi, kudos on another well-written, informative, and interesting post. Now you've made me want to visit Nova Scotia and especially the Bay of Fundy. (Are you sure you're not writing local travel PR?)

    Rise above politics to survive and thrive... lately, I feel like we all need this ability!

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  21. Love these slices of history, jodi. Keep 'em coming ... you do it so well! I feel as though I am there beside you, tasting and feeling the heartbeat of this beautiful piece of earth.

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  22. Those are some gorgeous skies and hearty folks in your neck of the woods.

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  23. Quite an insightful n interesting post with a little bit of history thrown in. I absolutely enjoy such blogs. The lo-hi tide snaps depict quite a contrast. Loved the closing lines too. Determination Perseverance with a will to survive :)

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  24. Thank you for explaining! I'm not used to ice except in little cubes in my freezer!

    I had heard of the Acadian expulsion to Louisiana, but hadn't realised they had also gone to Haiti.

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  25. Jodi I love reading all these little pieces of history

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  26. Jodi, i am sorry about the Acadians being uprooted from their and pressured to go elsewhere, i thought of the Jews of history, also the aborigines or indigenous people of many countries who suffered same fate from invaders or colonizers. Many countries have their indigenous peoples and in ours, they've been relegated to the mountains as nomads and fighting for life and food in harsh environments.

    Yes, we must think of the past once in a while, thanks for that post....

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  27. Very informative post. I had to go back and see the wordless wednesday post and yap that is very timely and interesting post. Ah, we, the creatures of urban jungle, always wish to go some place like this.

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