Maritime Wrap-up: New Brunswick

So at last….it’s finally here. After thirty blog posts of my summer travels up, down and around the Atlantic side of Canada, this is my last installment…My final stop before crossing the border into Calais, Maine.

Of all four provinces visited this summer, I spent the least amount of time in New Brunswick. I feel like I slighted it in my haste. But have no regrets, for in doing so I dedicating the most time to Newfoundland. Although filled with beautiful spots, New Brunswick didn’t feel all that different than Maine.

I’d been leap-frogging RDV2017, Rendez-vouz 2017, the tall ships transatlantic race making its way across the eastern side of Canada since I left Boston. Some 40 majestic “cathedrals of the sea” were making their way across the eastern Canadian seaboard to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Although their itinerary included many of the same stops I had planned to visit, I just couldn’t seem to end up at the right place at the right time. So when I saw their tour of Canada was culminating in Saint John, New Brunswick (not to be confused with St. John’s in Newfoundland,) I planned to make that my final Canadian stop as well.

Unfortunately, the weather was about as abysmal as a soggy wet spinnaker in a sailboat race. Heavy, low lying clouds, constant misting rain, and gusting wind forcing raindrops through supposedly sealed orifices in my rain gear. But I had been watching the calendar for a month now, timing all other stops accordingly with this grand finale in mind. I wasn’t about to let soggy socks stop me from attending the festival.

Out of 40 tall ships participating in the RDV2017, ten ships with official “tall ship” status (more if you include those from the Royal Navy) would be making a “guest port” stop in Saint John, the most of any city along their Atlantic Canadian tour. And, the entire festival was FREE! (Donations accepted to help school young sailors.)

I arrived at the festival in the afternoon, trying to time my walk from the urban Rockwood RV Park into town between squalls, only to find no people there! There were ropes cordoning off lines to tour the ships, but no one was in line. Furthermore, how could anyone possibly tour the ships when all I could see was the tops of the masts sticking up above the sidewalk? I had completely forgotten about the Bay of Fundy’s 25 ft tidal swings. It was low tide. The crowds had dispersed, waiting for high tide when the ships would return to ground level.

I went back the following morning during high tide to find what I had expected from a festival; crowds, pirate imposters, live music, food trucks, and lines waiting for permission to come aboard. All in spite of the rain…

At the New Brunswick end of the Confederation Bridge is the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre with walking paths. At the end of the >2 mile trail is this beautiful Cape Jourimain Lighthouse. It just underwent it's third successful move back from an eroding shoreline, where the Nature Centre hopes to raise funds for further restoration. Such a beauty!

At the New Brunswick end of the Confederation Bridge is the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre with walking paths. At the end of the >2 mile trail is this beautiful Cape Jourimain Lighthouse. It just underwent it’s third successful move back from an eroding shoreline, where the Nature Centre hopes to raise funds for further restoration. Such a beauty!

Saint John, New Brunwick. I had but one job...to photograph the lighthouse with the tall ships in the background. How I managed to decapitate the lighthouse, I still do not know.

Saint John, New Brunwick. I had but one job…to photograph the lighthouse with the tall ships in the background. How I managed to decapitate the lighthouse, I still do not know.

At the entrance to the festival is the "Maintainer Container," a bike maintenance stop in an old container, with tools and air pump for bike maintenance.

At the entrance to the festival is the “Maintainer Container,” a bike maintenance stop in an old container, with tools and air pump. What a great way to support bike transportation!

Arriving at the festival, I wonder "Where are all the people?" More importantly, "Where are all the ships??"

Arriving at the festival, I wonder “Where are all the people?” More importantly, “Where are all the ships??”

All I can see above the sidewalk is "half-mast."

All I can see above the sidewalk is “half-mast.”

No waiting to board the Lord Nelso, because there is no way to board the Lord Nelson!

No waiting to board the Lord Nelson, because there is no way to board the Lord Nelson!

When I return at high tide the next morning, the boat is now accessible.

When I return at high tide the next morning, the boat is now accessible.

Here is a look at the wharf at low tide.

Here is a look at the wharf at low tide.

Here is the same vantage point at high tide the next morning.

Here is the same vantage point at high tide the next morning.

Note the woman across the way who looks like she is attempting to climb the rigging...

Note the artwork on the seawall of the woman across the way who looks like she is attempting to climb the rigging…

The woman is artwork by the renowned street artist "Hula" who creates semi-submerged murals from his stand-up paddleboard.

This mural is by the renowned street artist “Hula” who creates semi-submerged murals from his stand-up paddleboard.

Here is a view of Hula's artwork at high tide.

Here is a fingertip glimpse of Hula’s artwork at high tide.

This one's for Teri, if you're still following along...the Picton Castle.

This one’s for Teri, if you’re still following along…the Picton Castle.

When it comes to national pride, no one does it more beautifully than Canada!

When it comes to national pride, no one does it more beautifully than Canada!

It was with a great deal of trepidation that I crossed the border from Saint Stephens back over to Calais, Maine. I felt anxiety for so many reasons. I was carrying items I knew would be questionable at the border crossing; Too much Iceberg Beer. One too many bottles if Iceberg Vodka. And a five pound sack of Prince Edward Island new potatoes, fresh out of the PEI red dirt. I had gotten rid of all my “known violations,” eggs, green vegetables. I was most worried about the meat in my freezer that had come across the border with me, but bore no “Made in the USA” label. I was boarded, but in the end, all I lost was a half a carton of cherry tomatoes.

But I was most nervous about the little Tracker, who had been sitting patiently on the Calais Self Storage lot for two months. Would it start? Would my bike, tow bar and traveling liquor cabinet still be on board? Would the Tracker itself even still be there? Calais’ Self Storage wasn’t exactly a gated fortress. With the Tracker’s rag top that can be accessed through a zipper, it’s always a risk. But as I turned the corner on South Street, there up on the hill was the Mighty Tracker, sitting dutifully awaiting my return. It roared to life on the first crank. There was a note on the windshield. “If you would consider selling this car, please call Tim at…” No way, Tim. No way.

Thanks to everyone who stuck with me on my tour around 4,500 miles of Atlantic Canada. It had to be one of the best summers of my life. I hope I managed to convey some of the joy and wonder that I felt through exploration of this incredibly beautiful land. Thanks for all your wonderful, always inspiring, often informative comments and compliments that helped to cheer me on…

28 thoughts on “Maritime Wrap-up: New Brunswick

  1. I want to sincerely thank you for your thirty posts on this area of Canada. Now, I want to follow your tire tracks and hope to enjoy it half as much as you.

    Onward to your next destination. We are waiting to read and view your images in your story.

  2. Thanks for another wonderful adventure that you allowed us to join! Fascinating posts as always!! That was definitely an interesting site at low tide with the tall ships!

  3. You know I’m enamored with the western US but this journey has inspired me to make it to that area, maybe minus the soggy socks if possible. So beautiful and compelling…the writing and the photos. Thank you!

  4. Suzanne – Thanks for taking us along on your journey. Not sure we will ever make it to the eastern provinces, but your certainly provide a compelling reason to make the effort.

  5. Of all the blogs I follow and the many, many posts I’ve read of their travels this Maritime journey of yours is the best yet. Thank you so much for sharing. I do hope it’s something we can accomplish in the future.

  6. I live in the landlocked Colorado Rockies, which are beautiful, yes, but I am originally from the west coast. I miss all things oceanic. I cannot express to you how much I enjoyed your posts featuring the eastern Canadian islands. It was alluring, dreamy and almost otherworldly. I felt transported with every new post. I cannot thank you enough for allowing us all to live vicariously through you and to be part of your journey. Really fantastic and most appreciated. Thank you so very much.

  7. Your trip to the Maritimes had all the ingredients for a great adventure – travel to different country, positive interaction with new people, visiting historic sites, seeing wildlife, seeing new sights (icebergs), and some travel on the high seas. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

  8. Thank you my friend for sharing your journey through a part of Canada I have not yet explored. Your narration in both prose and pictures are always stunning. I love sharing every stop with you! Safe journeys through the USA, and come visit!!!

  9. Wonderful summer, housebound for most of it, we were delighted to follow your trip through the maritines which we have visited and Newfoundland which has moved to the top of our bucket list. As always your text and pictures brought us along and informed us of what we must see. Enjoy your trip to where ever you next decide to visit. We look forward to enjoying.

  10. Just hitchin’ a ride on what everyone else up there said: it was wonderful! Oh, and about that Tracker, I’d like to nudge Tim out of first dibs…:-)

  11. Suzanne,

    I just have to thank you too! I loved reading about your trip and about your joy! Your enthusiasm for ice bergs, tall ships, puffins, Newfoundlanders was contagious. You stirred my feet and my mind. I wish you the very best!

    • Oh, that is so very cool! I have such a fascination with how the ice is such art! Her sentiments echoed exactly what I felt. Thanks for the link, Rand!

  12. As usual, your writing and your photos left me spellbound. Although I still have some catching up to do, with little internet during our summer, it has been a joy reading your posts. What a great summer you have had!

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