Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Jun 17, 2009

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Thistledown B & B

Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Monday, October 1, 2007

OK - so we're getting back on track !!

We left Middleton on a frosty but sunny morning. There was no breakfast at the motel so we set off to look for some. We were starting to find that the summer season was over and many places were now closed. We reached Annapolis Royal and found a cafe open there.

Annapolis Royal developed from Fort Anne and was one of the first sites to be settled in Canada in the early 1600's. The fort was established on an inland site at the junction of two rivers.  It was then continually fought over between the British and the French.  The fort was laid out in a classic star shape that gave cover from many sides and this design was then adopted all over Canada.  We saw this pattern at the big Citadels in Quebec and Halifax. 

We plodded on and reached Digby, which is a small fishing port sited on an inland water that is only reached from the sea by a narrow inlet.  It is world famous for its scallops. The B & B was on the shore of this inlet, Deep Brook and our room was in an annexe to the large house and was at the bottom of the garden overlooking this inland water.

We went for supper to a local fish restaurant and decided we were brave enough to try the lobster.  We explained that we had never had fresh lobster before - "we don't get many lobsters in the Manchester Ship Canal luv" and we were promptly fitted with an enormous bib each.  The lobsters were hauled out of a nearby tank and displayed to us, I mean, you don't go to the local butcher and ask for steak only to be shown a picture of a cow and told "well this is from Daisy, a good looking beast in her prime" - you just get a piece of steak!  Maybe it's to weed out the faint hearted? 

Our Lobsters duly arrived cooked and although they were part sectioned, it was still an audience participation event with twist this bit off, bend that bit back, crack these here and poke the meat out and then suck this bit out of here.  It was real good fun and absolutely delicious. We had a Lobster dinner each, a litre of the very tasty local wine, a desert and 2 coffees for the princely sum of $110 Canadian - approx 55 pounds sterling.  I must try that the next time we go into Manchester!

Distance driven 50 miles Total driven     1190 miles

Tuesday, 2nd October

The next day I had fresh omelette with scallops for breakfast.  We had decided to go whale watching, you know, where you sit on a boat for about 3 hours getting colder and colder just watching an empty sea.  We drove approx 40 miles down Digby Neck, which is a long peninsula running down into the Bay of Funday, this involved two ferry crossings.  The ferry captains didn't bother tying up at the end of each trip but just held the ferry in place with their engines whilst the cars drove on and off.  They then set off with the ferry at an angle to the tidal flow and at the last minute on the opposite shore, just dropped off enough power to slide behind the jetty and up to the loading ramp.  We thought we were clever doing it in slalom canoes but these guys were absolute masters!

On Brier Island we found a general store.  At the front someone was making deli sandwiches from several types of ham and cheese, there was a good selection of groceries and at the back of the store an amazing range of hardware from fan belts, filters, electrical parts, ships chandlery bits, fishing equipment and sailing gear - an incredible place

We bought sandwiches and drinks for lunch and went to a picnic sight near North lighthouse, where we ate lunch watching a large school of harbour porpoise playing in the bay in front of us. 

We joined the whale watching boat and as we set off into the Bay of Fundy we saw more porpoises and a colony of seals.  After about 40 minutes we came across 3 humpback whales, 2 adults and a calf.  The boat skippers have a great policy in that they will only approach the whales without harassing them and let the whales decide what they want to do.  As the skipper cut his engines and coasted towards them, the whales came to the boat, constantly circling and diving underneath us.  The baby, some 20ft long and weighing about 15 tons played round the boat, rolling over and waving his flippers in the air and even nudging the boat a couple of times.  Who was playing with whom?  The whales stayed so close to the boat that you could almost touch them and as they breathed out a big cloud of salty, fishy spray drifted over the boat. It was an absolutely magical time, lasting well over half an hour until the whales decided to move off. 

We motored on and found another couple of large humpback whales, one of them was asleep.  It seems that whales shut down half of their brains to rest and can alternate the halves.  We watched for a while then left them in peace.  Away in the distance we could see two more whales breaching, diving before coming up vertically out of the water and falling back.  We steered towards them but they moved off, so we didn't chase them.

On our way back to harbour we could see a flock of  Northern Gannets wheeling in the sky before folding their wings back and diving into the sea after fish.  This was a really fabulous trip which lasted some 4 hours. 

Another fish supper, yes I'm really getting into the fish now!  I tried the clam chowder and was disappointed with it.  It was a fish (clam) and potato soup which was creamy but was lacking in taste.

Driving distance round Digby    100 miles Total driven    1290 miles
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