Grand Manan, New Brunswick
I don’t even know how many years we’ve been doing it, but once a year some girlfriends and I do a camping weekend. Usually we stay relatively close to home – maybe an hour to an hour and a half away, but in 2012 we decided to go further afield. Our destination was the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick. It’s relatively small (34 km long and 18 km wide), but it’s the largest island in the Bay of Fundy. We caught the ferry to the island at Blacks Harbour and we were on our way.
The trip to the island took about 1.5 hours and we spent quite a bit of time on the large observation deck…even though it was really cold with the wind whipping off the Atlantic. When we got too cold we took advantage of the on board restaurant and warmed up. Before we knew it, we were there.
Our campsite was amazing. We stayed at the Hole In The Wall Park and Campground and had selected a cliff edge spot. We were not disappointed…it really was right on the cliffs edge, perched above the feeding route for migrating whales.
We were there for five days and had absolutely no plans to do anything but chill and relax. With a view like this and perfect, sunny days, why would you want to do anything else? Oh, I haven’t shown you the view when you turn your head to the right….
After setting everything up we did a bit of exploring and walked to the feature the campground is named after. The hole in the wall rock formation. I’m not sure of its height, but you probably don’t want to take the trail that leads to its surface if you’re afraid of heights.
Now turn around and this is what you see…
A quick walk and we’re back at camp, settled in to enjoy the beautiful view as the sun goes down.
We thought we would visit a couple of the beaches/parks since it was such a nice day and decided to start with Red Point in the Seal Cove area. We read that it was an interesting place for geologists because two different geological eras were clearly visible. I thought it might be interesting because you can collect magnetic sand (with the use of a magnet) off the beach.
I found my attention drawn away from the magnetic sand to these things instead. Not sure what they are exactly, so I’m calling them self inflated seaweed thingies. They were everywhere, covering every rock that had recently been submerged with the tide.
We then took a connecting trail to Anchorage Provincial Park where we stopped and had a picnic lunch. Not a bad place to sit and relax. Windy, but nice. If you’re interested in birding there is a bird and game sanctuary there as well.
On the drive back we passed a few homes with awesome displays of colourful buoys…this one was my favourite.
Back at the campsite my friends went for a nap, so I went wandering…
Day three turned out to be a pretty busy day, and it started earlier for me than the others. I’m a morning person (they are not) and one of the benefits is getting to see the sun rise…and what a sunrise it was.
Once the others were up and moving, we took a short drive and checked out the Swallowtail Lighthouse…the one we could see from our campsite.
We wandered around a while but couldn’t stay too long…we had an appointment to keep. We were going whale watching! Woohoo! It was a quick drive down to Seal Cove where we caught our tour boat, Day’s Catch, with Sea Watch Tours.
The wind was quite cool, but we were kept warm with hot chocolate and the excitement of seeing whales.
They were putting on quite a show for us. I don’t have a zoom lens besides the one my camera came with, so in most of my shots, the whales looked tiny. But not these two…I could almost touch them they were so close. So awesome to see out in the wild!
After yesterday’s spectacular sunrise, my friends decided they wanted to get up and see it for themselves. We were all up at 05h30, bundled up against the chill, facing the Atlantic, waiting for the show to begin.
Once my friends had their fill, they decided to go back to bed. It was still way too early for them to be up.
I was wide awake so I made myself a hot beverage, settled into my chair with a book and enjoyed the quiet…until the fog horn started. Wow, that thing is LOUD. With good reason. Within a few minutes I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face so I can’t imagine how unsettling it would be to be blind on a boat at sea.
Yet even with all that noise, my friends somehow slept through it. Amazing.
Once they got up and had breakfast, we decided to get a better look at Anchorage Provincial Park, where we had been just a couple days before. It was warmer and less windy – perfect for wandering.
A short drive away was Southwest Head. My friends were tired and didn’t want to walk very far, but they were happy to wait in the car for me while I did.
Since it was our last full day on the island, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. When we had gone to the docks for whale watching we spotted McLaughlin’s Wharf Inn Bed and Breakfast and noticed they had a nice looking restaurant. We looked it up and the reviews were great, and luckily they took walk ins. The food and service were fantastic – I would highly recommend it.
I don’t live where fishing is a part of life, so I wanted to wander the wharf and see what I could see.
That was our last full day – we’d be heading out the next morning to start our long drive back home. But that meant there was one last sunrise, and one last ferry ride.
All told, it was a perfect little vacation. If you’re interested in going someplace where your main plan is to relax but maybe do a bit of stuff…this is the place for you.