Fundy GeoPark Tour: Part 2 – Ottawa House Beach and Partridge Island

Welcome back, readers! I will jump right in with Part 2 of my report. After finishing lunch on the front porch of Ottawa House overlooking the glistening waters of the Minas Basin our next guide ushered us down to the beach where the tide was rolling in. The Bay of Fundy tides are legendary and the highest-ever-tide recorded was during the spring in 2019 at 54 feet (well over 16 meters). Why are the tides so high, you ask?

I have found the information I read always somewhat abstract. Thanks to John and his interactive presentation right there on the beach with the tide creeping closer by the minute, with each lapping wave, I think I finally have a good grasp on why the tides are so high in this magnificent region!

For those who were not present last Thursday and missed out on naturalist’s John Brownlie’s well researched information: Here is a link to an often visited site that presents the information in a concise and clear manner.

Sean, the new director of Ottawa House joined us on our tour along the beach carrying his binocular and birding scope, sharing great insights into various shore birds, their habitats, migration patterns and general behaviours. (Apologies, I seem to have missed capturing an image of Sean.)

We walked along the beach, past the legendary Glooscap’s Grandmother’s Cooking Pots toward the foot of Partridge Island.

GeoPark geologist Caleb Grant seamlessly took over the lead once we began the ascent of Partridge Island. An experienced guide he set an easy pace to ensure that nobody was left behind at the onset and steepest part of the trail.

We noticed an immediate drop in temperature which we quickly adjusted to working up a little sweat navigating the steep incline of the narrow path. The trail took us past several benches, perfectly spaced for those who seek a place to rest and catch their breath.

This look off is one of my favourite spots on the trail. It is the perfect place to look back toward Ottawa House while taking in the mesmerizing aquamarine hue of the water below.

A few weeks have passed since my last visit here and the seasonal changes were quite obvious. I love autumnal lighting conditions for photography as they are less harsh and let me capture subtle changes with ease.

The final destination on the trail was the look off tower. This view has to be experienced personally to fully appreciate the amazing vistas. No matter how often I hike up here I always find something rewarding and worthwhile to return to, time after time. Isn’t it just breathtaking?

Caleb allowed plenty of time for everyone to climb the tower, capture some images and walk around the base to study the map of the area. The group gathered to Caleb sharing the geological history. Partridge Island, like all of the islands in the Minas Basin, is of volcanic origin. The hard basalt makes these islands durable as they withstand the twice daily tidal forces.

I never grow tired hearing about the ancient natural history of this area. Pangea has become one of my favourite words over the last year. What is Pangea? Read more here as it would take too long to wordsmith my own story to construct an informative and insightful report.

I had to cut my time with the group short due to another commitment at Ottawa House… I had 20 minutes to head back along a path less traveled. I ran down the path as fast as the terrain allowed to get to the foot of the island… only to encounter the remnants of a super high tide.

Tidal waters were blocking my usual exit path. I waded through it, it reached up to my knees. My water-proof boots weren’t much help as they stop at my ankles. It was a glorious and warm day… shoes and socks dry quickly in the sun. I made it back in time for the appointment.

All is well that ends well! Happy Thanksgiving Sunday, everyone! Best wishes, Anna

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