September 3, 2007:
Waking to a gray and windy morning, we continued around Cape Chignecto and into Chignecto Bay - another arm of the Bay of Fundy. Given the force of the wind and rain, the only stop we made today was in the town of Joggins to check out the information centre and fossil cliffs.
The tiny town of Joggins was made famous by the nearby cliffs which are steadily washed and eroded by the Bay of Fundy. In 1851 when geologists Dawson and Lyell visited the site they discovered tiny bones which were excavated from the cliffs along with fossilised tree trunks. This discovery of reptile bones gave way to the realization that land dwelling animals lived during the coal age.
Arriving into town we first visited the information centre (which is highly recommended), the staff are well informed and interested in sharing their knowledge. You can pick up a beach map also and the staff are happy to point out the best places to explore and where most fossils have been found in the past. Thankfully, there is no charge to access the beach, but it is strictly forbidden to remove fossils from the site. If you do find something small that can be removed from the beach, resist the temptation to pocket it. Instead, hand it in to the information centre so that the rock can be examined by a geologist who will determine if it's a fossil or not. Although they keep it if it is a fossil, they offer to send you pictures of what you found on a CD.
Once we descended the steps to the beach, Rolf and I went on a real scavenger hunt - turning nearly every rock on the beach (or so it felt). We must've spent about an hour or more searching for the next 'break through fossil find' but came up empty handed. The waters of the Bay of Fundy work steadily eroding away the cliffs bit by bit, so every day there is a chance that a new and exciting fossil will be found. While down on the beach, we were constantly watching the advance of the tide which could easily trap us in the small bay where we were searching. The Fundy tides are the highest recorded tides in the world and we didn't fancy getting caught by them.
If the weather had been more compliant we would've stayed longer but the wind was nasty and so we headed off after a little more than an hour. We made an executive decision to drive straight over to Prince Edward Island from Joggins a distance of around 110 kms. In order to reach Prince Edward Island (PEI) from New Brunswick we have to cross the Confederation Bridge which spans the Northumberland Strait, a distance of 13 kilometres (8 miles), making it the longest bridge in Canada. The waters of the Northumberland Strait were looking pretty lumpy with the strong winds and currents flowing through under the bridge. The bridge was officially opened on May 31, 1997 and users pay a fee in PEI on the return trip to the mainland.
After visiting the information centre in Borden-Carleton, we headed in the direction of Cavendish a few sights including the birthplace of the famous author Lucy Maud Montgomery, in New London. As most of you will know, Lucy M. Montgomery wrote the popular Anne of Green Gables series of books.
Unfortunately, the weather continued to be miserable with high winds and now rain, so we decided to call it quits for the day and pulled into a campground in the town of Cavendish. The weather predictions for tomorrow looked a little better, so we hoped for the best.
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