Our trip to the west coast of Nova Scotia (along the Bay of Fundy) was originally going to be centered around Acadian history. After a few looks at the Bay of Fundy we had to add a few stops (and most of another day). The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world due to an unusual bit of geography. In some places the tide rises 40 ft (13m) or more. This for instance is a gypsum plant in the town of Port Williams. That dock in the background will be close to sea level in about 3 hours. 3 hours is also how long they have to load the barges to make sure they can get back out before the tide recedes.
Perhaps the most touristy town we visited on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia but also one of the prettiest is Annapolis Royal. Located near what was once Fort Anne, the town is very well preserved. So well in fact that about 1 out of 3 buildings is now a bed and breakfast. Still, it's fairly small and rural and set in a lovely scenic valley.
Back to the Acadian heritage theme (or starting it maybe), this is inside the reconstruction of the Port Royal Habitation. Founded in 1603 by Samuel Champlain, this started out as a fur trading center for about 40 or so French men (only).
This is a fairly good historic site, as everything is period. The materials required to build the settlement were made using period techniques (most of the tools are lying around still waiting to be demonstrated). Anything that couldn't be provided in Nova Scotia came via ship from France (like the glass in this window).
The kitchen at Port Royal. After it ran successfully as a French fur-trading outpost for a while, Port Royal was burned to the ground by the English. It was never fully rebuilt until the 20th century reconstruction.
Besides the original settlement at Port Royal, the entire Annapolis river valley was an Acadian settlement until their expulsion in 1755. Most of the valley is farmland, probably not much different from its use then. The Melancon family homesite is also part of Parks Canada now but is yet undeveloped.
Back to the tides. Near the town of Truro is one of several popular tidal bore watching sites in Nova Scotia. Yes it confused us the first time too. We stopped here where a road just ends in a parking lot at the river. It looks about like this. The Shubenacadie river flows into the Bay of Fundy a few miles west of here. The tidal bore occurs when the tide reaches upstream to a point of greatest conflict with the water flowing downstream. It results in a single river-wide wave which travels upstream. We arranged to come back around 11:00 PM one night to see this phenomenon.
What are you looking at here? Well, along with 30 other random people we stood here freezing until a wave came along, traveling upstream and then disappeared around the corner. We filmed it too. Later we watched the film and well, it's not much to look at. For that matter it's not exactly breath-taking to watch live either, but it is something different.