Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Maine to Digby, Nova Scotia

Bear with me folks--we're in Canada for several weeks and, since the cell phone data is so expensive, we won't always have wifi internet connection, so the posts may be somewhat scattered and random.  I'll try to do a little catch up here for the last 5 days or so that we've been in this beautiful country.

Last Thursday we pulled out of Bar Harbor and headed for the Canadian border, crossing at St. Stephen, New Brunswick.  We had a brief blood pressure spike as we cleared passport control, when we saw that there was a bridge just before getting to the highway that was 12'6''--OMG, whattarewegonna do??  Fortunately, the passport control officer said she would get another officer to guide us around this bridge, which was only about a hundred yard detour, but, needless to say, we were much relieved!!  First stop was the visitor center, and the first question was about clearances for bridges, etc. on the roads we would be taking--all good, they said, but we made sure we got clear in our minds the metric conversion so we would know the minimum clearance we need when we come upon a sign displayed in meters!  Spent the night in a lovely little campground in St. Stephen--initially planned to go on to St. John, the place where we would catch the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia, but didn't realize that once we hit the Canadian border we moved from Eastern to the Atlantic time zone and it was an hour later.  So we decided to call it a day and get up early the next morning to head to the ferry, having estimated the driving time to be about 2 hours.

Well, the next morning as we headed toward St. John, we realized that we had estimated the time based on the distance of 120 miles, when it was actually 120 kilometers, so we had plenty of time.  Glad we got there so early, as it enabled us to be first in line in our row to board the ferry, which made it much easier to maneuver the RV onto the boat.  It was a rather overcast morning when we arrived at the ferry, and pretty brisk with a cool wind blowing, but it was fascinating to watch the crew of this big ferry go through the drill of untying from the dock and stowing the gigantic ropes that held it in place whiled docked, along with the dock crew on the other end of the ropes--quite a well-choreographed dance, but done very efficiently.  As we pulled away from the dock and got enough clearance, the big part of the bow of the boat, which had been raised to allow vehicles to board, was lowered, the ferry turned around and headed across the Bay of Fundy for Digby, Nova Scotia.  The ferry was very nicely appointed and run--we sat in the cafe on the upper deck, with nice lounge chairs, a snack bar and even some live music for much of the 3 hour crossing.  The music was a brother/sister duo, she played the fiddle and he the guitar, mostly Acadian music, quite lively and good.  The ferry also had a movie showing on another deck, and a children's play area as well.  I went out on the deck to see if we could spot any whales, as some of the Canadians on board said that sometimes whales are spotted on the crossing, but, alas, the whales must have gotten the memo from the big horn sheep in Montana and Wyoming that it would be cool to hide when the geezers from Georgia came a looking!!  But it was a nice trip, and we always enjoy being on the water, any water, anywhere.  Once we got to Digby, it was about an hour and a half drive to Port Lorne, this little community where our friends from Georgia, Milly and Steve, have a summer home.  We were so glad to be there and to see them--more on that in the next post!  In the meantime, here are some pics up to this point:

Some scenes en route from Bar Harbor to the border:

 Arriving at the visitor center in St. Stephen, New Brunswick
 Lovely flowers they have everywhere along the little park by the river across from the visitor center

 Campground in St. Stephen
 On the way to St. John to get the ferry

 Love all these church steeples--here coming into St. John

 The ferry terminal
 Canadian, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia flags
 Sophie and Trisha as we waited to board, strolling along outside
 Looking across the water to the lighthouse--I tried, unsuccessfully, to time a photo that would catch the bright light as it rotated around
 Looking back to downtown St. John
 Freighter in the harbor
 You can see the ferry's smokestack and the raised bow, that allows vehicles to board
 Driving down the boarding ramp to the ferry
 Looking at the bow, still in raised position
 Downtown St. John
 As we slowly pulled out away from the dock, I noticed this "owl" which they have placed on the edge of the dock to discourage seagulls from landing there

 I think I just may have caught the light in this one!
 Dockhands working the ropes as we untied

 Ferry crew member operating the capstans that reeled in the ropes
 Other deckhand coiled the ropes as they came up around the capstans

 Lowering the bow
 The acadian musicians--very entertaining!
 Looking out over the Bay of Fundy
 Approaching the "Digby gut," as the locals call it, the opening into the Digby harbor
 Digby lighthouse
 Some lovely houses along the hills on one side of the gut, as we approached

 Coming into the Digby dock
 Ferry deckhand, preparing to throw the lead up onto the high dock, where the dockhands would catch it, then pull the ropes up to secure them to the cleats for disembarking
 Dockhand who just caught the lead
 As we were the first in line, this was a bit unnerving as the ferry was making the final movement to pull up to the dock--the bay opened up and it looked like we were just inches from falling off into the water as the ramp was lowered.  Fortunately, this wasn't the crew's first rodeo and they knew exactly what they were doing.

 We had to make a sharp left turn to make sure we got up onto the ramp, but the crew members had cleared the lane to our left and gave me hand signals to make sure we cleared.

 Interesting salmon traps along the shore, where we stopped when we got off the ferry to let Sophie have a bathroom break and to turn the propane back on, since we had to turn it off for the crossing

 Driving into Annapolis County
 On the little country road going to Milly and Steve's--looks like we're going to drop right into the Bay of Fundy!

 Old church building near Port Lorne

 Lovely yellows and purples--the yellows are probably goldenrods--achoo!!--but the purples we didn't know the correct name.  Steve told us a funny story about a visit they had from someone who was a master gardner, and was calling off the genus and species names of various flowers as they toured the area.  When she saw the purples she didn't know what it was and Steve, with a straight face, said "That's beautimus botanica" and the woman was just fascinated, saying how she had never heard  of that species--he had her hook, line and sinker!  So typical of Steve's humor!

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