20 August 2010

Skywatch Friday: Cape Split at High Water

For this week's Skywatch Friday, we're returning to the waters of the upper Bay of Fundy, for another trip around Cape Split. The Split has a popular hiking trail that snakes its way over 6+ kilometres of woodland paths, across the end of the North Mountain and out to the collection of sea stacks that give the trail its name.

Last Saturday it was really, really hot, and also very calm. Hubby suggested we go fishing, but the flounders weren't co-operating, so we went for a jaunt out around the Split instead.

That grassy and wooded area on the right? That's the Cape Split trail's terminus, on a cliff that is over 400 feet high. You can't go out on the other stacks unless you can fly, so we leave that to cormorants, gulls, and Search and Rescue helicopters. Personally, I prefer the boat because there's no traffic, no garbage from careless hikers, and there's this awesome view the whole time.

Beyond those first couple of stacks are a succession of lower, but still very impressive, piles of columnar basalt. There's quite a tide races through there twice a day, as the tides turn, but at or near high water, there's more than enough water for a motorized boat run by an experienced operator to go 'thru the Split.'

Longsuffering spouse is a retired lobster fisherman who worked in these waters for more than 25 years, so he knows what he's doing. This is the first time I've been out around the Split in several years, though and the thrill is just the same as it was the first time I went.

It's really hard to see what is going on here, but bear in mind: this is not a river, but the Minas channel, part of the Bay of Fundy with its world's highest tides. The riptide runs at around 8 knots when it's racing around the end of the Split, and it does some weird things: waves, whirlpools, 'dancing water', like rapids on the ocean. Not for the inexperienced boater.

LSS said to me, "the boat is likely going to move sideways here in a second," and just like that, she did indeed skitter sideways like a spooked horse. No problem, of course, with a good motor and a sensible helmsman. I just braced and kept taking photos. Hard to keep a level horizon when you're on the water, though.

Out well beyond, the water looks deceptively calm, and IS calm elsewhere in the Bay. But it boils and mutters and holds its secrets to itself here. Where we went through the hole is on the left: There's the very high cliff, then a medium sized stack, then three smaller ones, this big one on the right foreground, then the little rocks where the cormorants hang out drying their wings.

It's one of the most amazing, majestic, and mysterious places in Canada, if not the world. We're so lucky to live here, and to be able to go out on the water and admire this beauty for ourselves. Or we think so, anyway.


  1. Wow!!! What a lovely view! I love seeing the sea with the big rocks on it.. I suddenly remembered one of my summmer vacations in the Philippines! :)

    Great entry! :)


  2. Do you perchance know Gwen Buchanan whose studio is there and who also blogs? Her blog and studio are called Desideratum. If you don't know her yet itI am sure you would love her. She is one of the special people on this earth.

    I have seen many of Gwen's photos of the Bay of Fundy from the shore but this is the first time I am seeing it from the water. They certainly are dangerous waters and not for the inexperienced and/or fainthearted.

    I am thoroughly enjoying your blogs. Thanks for finding mine and leaving a comment.

  3. You live in such a beautiful area of the world Jodi. I always enjoy seeing it from your perspective.

  4. I love the contrast between the sea, the sky, and the landscape. Very well done.

  5. So beautiful!! I'm happy to share the view with you from the boat :D

  6. Absolutely wonderful place...so totally agree with you from one Nova Scotian'r to another... A great blog today... and am jealous !! so lucky for you to see Cape Split from the water point of view...I was just thinking this morning how fortunate I am to live in such a wonderful province...so many 'Natural' treasures here...from coastal beauty to majestic mountains...lakes, streams and even great ponds and swamps...such Amazing bio-diversification...plants, birds, animals...well I could keep on and on...We are very Blessed !!!

  7. Beautiful! That seen is simply breathtaking.

  8. What fabulous photos. That split looks amazing!

  9. What a fantastic day you had, out on the water with such a great helmsman! The photos were truly beautiful; the blues so clear and intense... Thanks for taking me with you))))

  10. What a beautiful place, and you describe it so well! I've been to both New Brunswick and PEI, but would now like to visit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland!

  11. Hi Jodi. What beautiful images. It is amazing the designs time and water creates. I can see why it is called Cape Split. It looks like another section is splitting and going to come lose at some time in the future. It is amazing that plants grow on all of that rock in the water like they do here in our rocky caves and hills.Nature finding a way.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. What a lovely place and great photos. Thanks for the "tour"

  13. Glad to keep my feet on the ground, while seeing the view from the boat on the dancing water thru your eyes ;>)

  14. Last summer we got to stay at the Bay of Fundy, but unfortunately due to ferry problems getting there from Newfoundland we didn't get to see any tidal changes. So close but yet so far. - Margy

  15. Absolutely beautiful! Great pictures of the rocks!

  16. Hi Jodi, these pictures give a good idea of the area and it is an interesting post.
    Is this not one of the places that has the highest variation in low and high tide?
    Have a great weekend

  17. Jodi girl : )
    I could almost smell that wonderful cold fresh salt air while you described your adventure ! .. Seeing the Bay of Fundy do its thing is an amazing process .. and to know how far it influences other areas is amazing .. I love the skittering sideways part : )
    It is one of the most awesome places on earth !

  18. Thank you so much for this post!!! I use the Bay of Fundy as an example of tides when I teach about the moon in my science classes! I've seen great pix before but never from a local's perspective. I wish I could have been on the boat with you. :0)

  19. Wow Jodi, I hate to admit it but even with medication I still would probably be freaking out at the mysteriously turbulent waters. I'm glad I got to see it all vicariously while stationed on my safe sofa. Beautiful blues!!

  20. Jodi, How beautiful the sea is and deceptive, too! I missed a beach trip this summer, but your sea is so very different from the SC beaches we often visit. I think the breeze must be cool and invigorating. gail

  21. Beautiful post...now I feel like I've been there! But it only makes me yearn to come again!

  22. I want to, I've got to go, in that boat with you....pleeeeasssseee! ( :
    Have seen our beautiful part of the province from hiking out there and from looking across Scots Bay, but never from your point of view with your loving lss.
    Thanks for showing us another part of these majestic and might I add...very ancient Basalt rock formations to us!


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