Dennis Beach

My first daytime viewing of the Bay of Fundy from the Cliffside Suites in Alma, New Brunswick.

When we started planning our trip to the Canadian Maritimes, M had the Bay of Fundy on his wish list of places to visit.  I’d heard of it, but wondered if tides could be impressive.  Most of my experiences with watching the tide come in or go out were at the Jersey (as in New Jersey) shore growing up.  Our parents loaded us all into the station wagon early on a Saturday in August and off we went for two weeks of sand, sea, and sun.  Being a person of the fair skinned variety, I suffered many a sunburn.  Burn and peel were pretty much the norm for the first week.  A good case of sun poisoning was not uncommon.  After that I would develop my version of a tan which tends to be reddish enough to look like a sunburn.  We didn’t have sunscreen in those days, and if I ever do see a dermatologist, I’m sure she will be shocked to learn I used the baby oil and iodine solution that was so popular in those days.  Might as well have deep fried me.  Heh.

A view of the town of Alma, New Brunswick from the Cliffside Suites.

Of course you could always see the difference between high tide and low tide, but it’s one of those things you can’t really appreciate as it is happening since it occurs rather slowly although not quite as slowly as watching grass grow.  But I found the Bay of Fundy tides were as advertised and rather impressive.  One guide at the Hopewell Rocks said that when high tide gets rolling, the water will be up to your shins in about 15 minutes.  Then up to your hips in another 15 minutes or so.  After that, prepare to be blowing bubbles from under the water as it comes up pretty fast.  That makes it a good idea to time your walks on the sea bed so you don’t have to swim back.  The whole process does take about 6 hours (and 13 minutes), but I still found it all impressive, especially after seeing the fishing boats waiting for the tide so they could go out.

A closer view of Alma.

The Fundy National Park, where we planned to do some hiking, is located near the village of Alma (population 232), making Alma a good place to stay if you want to enjoy watching the tides in the Bay of Fundy, and get out in the forest.  It’s a wonderful village and everyone we met was warm and welcoming, pretty much the case when it comes to the whole trip, but especially in Canada.  We picked the Cliffside Suites because it’s located Alma, came highly recommended, and we would have a place to cook.  It turns out having a place to cook was more than just good economical sense.  It wasn’t yet tourist season so finding places that were open for business was not easy.  That said, we did find a few good places including An Octopus’ Garden Cafe in Alma.  (If they have a website, I can’t find it.)  They make everything fresh, using local sources when possible, and that includes their pasta which is superb.

Dennis Beach

The Bay of Fundy was one of the 28 finalists for the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest.  I haven’t been to any of the other places so I can’t make comparisons.  All I can tell you is that it is a beautiful area, well worth adding to your Bucket List if you have one.  M and I started our exploration of the Bay of Fundy at Dennis Beach, a small beach near where we were staying.  Most of the time the beach was empty except for the two of us, a few gulls, and all that life going on in the bay, the mud, and the land of the area.

As you can see, we had beautiful weather.

I think I mentioned in one of my early posts during our trip that I had that “coming home” feeling when we got to New Brunswick.  That feeling intensified throughout the trip, especially in Nova Scotia.  There has been one other place where I’ve felt that way:  Scotland.  The Eastern Provinces of Canada (those I visited — we did miss New Foundland) remind me very much of Scotland.  I know with that deep knowing that I could happily live somewhere in the Maritimes of Canada.

Red Head (in the foreground).

Dennis Beach was a good place to stretch our legs and begin our journey in the Bay of Fundy area.  It was peaceful and (a word I will overuse throughout my epic tome on “How I spent my summer vacation”) beautiful.

Closer look at Red Head, a Triassic rock outcrop.

We happened upon Dennis Beach on our way to Cape Enrage and Hopewell Rocks, both sites well worth visiting if you’re in the area.  More on those in a later post.  In the meantime, we saw the sign for Dennis Beach and decided to stop and dip our toes into the Bay of Fundy, literally as well as figuratively.  It was an excellent place to start.

The beach at Dennis Beach

The water looks blue in some of  the photos I’ve posted of the Bay of Fundy.  It isn’t blue at all, but a reddish-brown muddy color.  The blue is a reflection of the sky.  On cloudy days the mud-like color was more obvious.  The tides churn up the water and the huge amount of sediments brought in by the tides, causing the water to stay cloudy/muddy.  (That is an extremely simplified explanation.  I’m sure you can find detailed scientific explanations if you that is your preference by doing a simple search.)

Apparently mud sliding on the mud flats at low tide in the Bay of Fundy region is a sport of sorts.  It looks like messy fun but there were signs asking us to stay off the mud flats because there is life in that mud (including mud shrimp — Corophium volutator — which are difficult to spot at first, but once you do, you see them everywhere in the mud), and other life (including 2-3 million Semipalmated Sandpipers) feeds on that life in the mud.  Mud sliding (and walking on the mud flats) disrupts the whole circle of life going on by killing the life in the mud flats, leaving no food for the very hungry birds.

Driftwood, one of Mother Nature’s sculptures.

Our walk on Dennis Beach was a good start to the trip.  As we were leaving there were some guys getting ready to paraglide.  It would have been fun to watch, but we knew we had this one nice day before rain and fog set in so decided we should move along.

That’s it from our visit to Dennis Beach.  Thanks for joining me.  I hope all is well in your world.  Today in the Bogs it is hot, hazy, and very humid.  Not a good hair day at all.  I got out for a little while, but the heat, the humidity, and the insects were too much.  I decided it was a good day for working indoors.

Unpacking and laundry kept me busy for a good part of the day.  There is no point in putting the suitcases away just yet.  We’ll be packing again in a few weeks for another trip.  It won’t be nearly as adventurous as this last trip, but it should be fun.

Yesterday’s sunset, for those who want their daily view-of-the-pond fix.


27 Comments on “Dennis Beach”

  1. Ron Dubin says:

    Very nice Robin, looks and sounds like a wonderful trip… 😉

  2. Anita Mac says:

    Stunning landscapes! I always enjoy the photos you put up.

  3. dadirri7 says:

    so enjoyed your trip robin, but the pond sunset is just divine 🙂

  4. mobius faith says:

    I am so loving these. The last looks like there is a halo in the sky. Great image. Thanks for sharing your travels with us.

  5. aFrankAngle says:

    I didn’t realize the Bay of Fundy is a highly-regarded sight. Interesting how tides differ across the world, thus not the slow and steady that I’m used to seeing. Well done Robin!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Frank. I didn’t know much about the Bay of Fundy either until we started planning for this trip and my husband put it on his “must see” list. 🙂

  6. Sallyann says:

    Lovely pictures, especially mother nature’s sculptures on the beach but that sunset over the pond … well worth comming home for. 🙂

  7. Karma says:

    Looks like a lovely adventure- I’ve been enjoying following along as you’ve posted. Funny how you call it your “summer vacation” but summer doesn’t actually begin until tomorrow, LOL. That hazy, hot and humid weather is headed this way for summer’s official start.

    • Robin says:

      I know, Karma. It actually feels funny to call it a summer vacation, and not just because it wasn’t officially summer yet. The weather was nice and cool during our trip. I think all but the last day the temperature never got above 70. For me, that’s perfect. (M, on the other hand, prefers warmer temps.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Looked like a great trip. It’s definitely on our list for the early fall. Thanks for all the tips too on where to stay, eat, and things to do.

  9. Dana says:

    Amazing as usual, Robin. I truly delighted in seeing these photos and following your narrative through the post. It’s interesting that both Scotland and “New Scotland” (Nova Scotia) have beckoned to you. Must be something about those Scots! 🙂

  10. I took a cruise last year and visited Saint John and Nova Scotia. Many great sights in that part of Canada. Great pictures!

  11. Ellen says:

    What fantastic places you have visited!!! love the pictures too!!

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