Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bay of Fundy

A long time ago, in a galaxy very far away...no wait, it was in this galaxy...our earth began to form. About 4,500 million years ago. Several million years later, continents had begun to develop, bits of the earth were located in very strange places from where we know them now. Nova Scotia was once located pretty much at the South Pole. (Last winter, it only felt like we were still there) A lot has happened during the past kajillion years that have shaped the earth and made it was it is today.

As a result of the earth's activities, Nova Scotia has some really interesting geologic and geographic features. One of them is the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest recorded tides in the world. It fills and empties like a giant bathtub. With whales. And every time the tide goes out it takes some rock and sediment with it revealing the history of the earth, unearthing (so to speak) a fossil record of what life was like on this planet before I was even a thought in God's mind.

Last weekend, the Wookie and I traveled to a couple of museums on the Fundy shore that focus specifically on geology and fossils. It involved driving a couple of hours from home so we stayed overnight (at a Bed and Breakfast called Gemstow's -thanks, Gerry!) in a small community called Five Islands, named for the occurrence of 5 islands 1-2 kilometres off shore. Each of the islands has its own name, but one in particular stands out. It was bought in the mid 90s by an American lawyer and businessman by the name of Dick Lemon. It is now known as Dick's Island by the locals. When he bought the island it was uninhabited. He has built an eco-friendly mini resort. When I say mini, I mean mini. No pool, spa, or even room service. In fact you do your own housekeeping and cooking, but they get you to the island and back. You can read about it here. I'm impressed with Mr. Lemon and his "resort".

Dick's Island is the one in the middle of the above pic. Click on it to get a better look.

Last year, Mr. Lemon began a fun-run fundraiser for the community. It's called "Not Since Moses" and involves walking or running to and between the islands at low tide. Imagine running on the ocean floor for two kilometres before getting your feet wet! Last year the runs began and ended on the mainland, but this year, because of tide times, the runners will begin the 5 and 10k runs from the mainland and end on the island. There won't be time for all of the walkers to do the whole route before the tide comes in. The participants will be brought back to the mainland by boat at high tide, just in time for supper and a dance at the 5 Islands community Fire Hall. If the Wookie and I hadn't already had plans for that weekend (the MS Bike Tour in New Brunswick) we would have volunteered for the run. What fun!!

I mention the Dick's Island and the Not Since Moses because it so easily demonstrates what a unique feature the Bay of Fundy is to Nova Scotia. Imagine walking to an island. Another interesting thing about the weekend was visiting the Fundy Geological Museum where there are windows into the labs for visitors to observe the scientists at work, cleaning dirt and stone from fossils recovered in the area. The picture I have included is a vial of earth removed from a fossilized bone of a prosauropod, Canada's oldest dinosaur, found right here. Cool, eh? OK, shaky photo, but you get the idea.

We also visited the new Joggins Fossil Museum. Joggins is a vitally important part of the story of the earth's history. the fossil records are abundant and revealed every day. A few of the discoveries include the world's oldest land snail, a 3 foot long salamander-like amphibian and an arthropod similar to today's "sow bug" or wood louse 6 feet long. That creature may have had more than 30 pairs of legs.....

There were a pile of stops along the way and plenty of places we wanted to stop in to but just didn't have the time. Just means we have to go back.



Diane J Standiford said...

WOw, amazing stuff. I love fossils. What an adventure...I can see the dino in my minds eye.


Yeah, but did you run into Anne Murray??? (at least I THINK she's from your neck of the woods?!?)

Always good to have a reason to return...

Linda D. in Seattle

Shauna said...

There's a wooden carving replica of this dinosaur at the museum, done by a local craftsman. It's pretty realistic looking.

We didn't see Anne, though we did drive through her hometown of Springhill. She spends more time on the north shore of the province playing golf. Actually, from her "summer" hometown you can look across the Northumberland Strait and see Prince Edward Island, the home of another famous Anne, the one of Green Gables.



Cool stuffs. Walking on the ocean floor, amazing.

mdmhvonpa said...

That sounds SO DAMN COOL! I'll have to convince the Mrs to let me take a trip up Nort' some day.

Nervus Rex said...

I love the idea of the Run!

And I'm so PROUD of Linda for knowing about Anne Murray :) Pretty impressive!

Good story-telling, Shauna. I love how you preserve memories in words. I wish that I had your Gift!

Shawna on the other end of the rainy country...

Shauna said...

It is cool....

Take Mrs. PA and the tyrants. If you're a camper, then there's always room for anyone.

Gee, thanks....*blush*...