14 May 2010

Skywatch Friday: Cape Split's Voice of the Moon

For this Skywatch Friday, a wee bit of geography and more than a wee bit of gratitude. We live near the top of the upper Bay of Fundy, home of the world's highest tides. But we don't just have splendid water; we have splendid geography, including the basalt stacks that compose Cape Split. This rocky promontory with its 400+ foot cliffs juts out like an apostrophe from the western side of Nova Scotia's shoreline. It also creates some amazing tidal phenomena. Things can be all very serene, as they do in this photo, which I took from a Coast Guard Zodiac on my way back from a visit to the survey vessel CCGS Matthew, several years ago.

(photo not mine, but I can't remember if it's from NS Tourism or a local photographer. Have had it for years.)
Twice a day, the mighty tides swoop into the bowl created by the 'comma' of Cape Split, into the waters of Scotts Bay. As all that water moves around the end of Cape Split, a riptide is formed; one that runs at about 8 knots.
A view of the end of the Split from the Minas Channel side of the Bay. The tide is just starting to run, and though it looks sort of serene on the surface, it's anything but. This is a wild place to be; the Bay's floor can go from being just a few dozen feet deep to over 300 feet in just the time it takes to draw a breath, and that also contributes to the dancing water.

During the turning of the tide, the rips create whirlpools, eddies, 'dancing water', currents that are not safe for small vessels, and that can give even experienced mariners bad moments. (You should come through here in a dungeon of fog as well as a run of tide. Been there, done that, in a lobster boat a few years back. Whew.)

I thought it appropriate to mention the Split and the tidal tantrums today, as just a few days ago the Bay almost claimed a couple of victims. A lobster boat got into mechanical trouble not far from Cape Split, and started sinking. The captain and his two crew members were airlifted to safety by the Search and Rescue team from 14 Wing Greenwood, our local Air Force Base. The boat is now on the bottom of the Bay. Boats, however, can be replaced. Human lives cannot.

While I don't know the fishermen involved in this particular event, my longsuffering spouse is a retired lobsterman, and he knows the waters of the Bay and just how treacherous they can be. He also knows the captain of the vessel that got in trouble, but even if he didn't, there is a bond among fishermen as there is among many dangerous trades, from firefighters to miners to pilots. And the many coastal communities along the Fundy shore--both in New Brunswick and here in Nova Scotia--are deeply connected to the waters that surge past us daily. So we're all very grateful to the SAR crew, and to Glooscap and any other gods that might have been watching, that the voice of the moon--as some call the tidal roar that calls around Cape Split during the changing of the tide--didn't create a very different outcome.

18 comments:

  1. You live in a wonderful place! What an everchanging, but always beautiful view!

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  2. The third photo is like the same than in Algarve,. Portogal.
    I have been there last year and have taken a photo like the same

    The nature is simply marvelous..
    And u taken excellent photos.
    But, arent only the photos that are good..your texts, also...
    Congrats and Have a nice day


    http://graceolsson.com/blog/2010/05/you-are-the-sunshine-of-my-life/

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  3. Thank you for sharing these views from the Bay of Fundy, oh you have made me homesick with this post.

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  4. There certainly is gorgeous scenery down there. Great photos.

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  5. Just beautiful, Jodi. I wish we had something like that around here. I would spend a lot of time there just relaxing and watching the water.-- Randy

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  6. Gorgeous! It has been many years since I visited the east coast and I think hubby and I due for another trip. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  7. What a gripping post Jodi! Fabulous watery and landscapes! I am so glad to know you have a great rescue effort in force near you. Those land masses holding their own out into the ocean are amazing! The contrast of the photos with the water receding and then the "tantrums" is chilling! Whirlpools that pull you down... how frightening. Your photos are incredibly beautiful.

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  8. This post reminds me of an old movie that's a favorite of mine: "I Know Where I'm Going." If you have Netflix, you should put it in your queue. You'd enjoy it.

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  9. I always look forward to your 'views'. I regret I'll never get to see them in person.

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  10. As much as I love the wilds of the northeastern oceans undoubtedly I share a health respect for them. Glad to hear the fishermen are okay. Must have been terrifying. Glorious photos - truly gives one a sense of place. Thanks so much for this.

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  11. The "voice of the moon" sounds so exotic and romantic. I got goosebumps just reading your description of the treacherous tides there. What a gorgeous landscape! Has anyone written any good books that feature life in this bay? (If not, here's hoping you do. It sounds like a fascinating setting for a tale.)

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  12. Gorgeous.
    So glad to hear the SAR crew brought the fishermen home safely.
    Have a great weekend!

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  13. beautiful photos...I'm glad the fisherman were rescued and are now safe and sound.

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  14. Simply gorgeous views Jodi. I am glad that no one was claimed by the sea this time.

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  15. WE never tire of that wonderful scene across the bay of those huge magnificent rock. Cape Split and Little split are a great place to go on a hike.
    So glad the fisherman are a.o.k.!

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  16. So great to read about the Cape, the tides and the rescue and to see the beautiful photos and understand the reality of the mighty sea. As someone already said...gripping...very good writing Jodi...I like the dungeon fog))most especially. Yeh Nova Scotia!

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