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From Our Kitchen Window

My wife and I live happily overlooking the Bay of Fundy in the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

The huge oil tanker in the January photo from our kitchen is discharging its cargo at "Canaport" on which site a liquified natural gas terminal is now being built. Near Canaport is proposed a second oil refinery which would give the city a total refining capacity of 600,000 barrels per day.

The low lying mist on the water is common on a cold winter morning when frigid air meets warmer dynamically moving Bay of Fundy ocean water.

Fundy Tides

Saint John is situated on the northern side of the large Bay of Fundy separating New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. The length and shape of the Bay in combination with the timing of the moon orbiting the earth causes a resonant effect creating the highest tides in the world. Yet again there seems to be a feverish interest developing in harnessing tidal energy, but I fear the people involved really should do a very detailed simulation of the tides, so that billions of dollars in investment (nothing really being planned yet) would not be made only to find that the resonant phenomenon unexpectedly collapses, just as the faint touch of a finger can suddenly silence the loudest of tuning forks.

The picture shows a tall man standing on a stoney beach near low tide in the Irving Nature Park of Saint John. Far above his head you can see the seaweed indicating where the water will be in less than 6 hours.

Taylor's Island South Side

The Irving Nature Park in Saint John consists of two large sections: the Sheldon Point section and Taylor's Island section - separated by the grand Saint's Rest Beach. The park is privately owned and maintained by the Irving interests and are freely accessible to the general public.

To be honest, I'm so much in love with Taylor's Island I haven't yet properly explored the Sheldon Point Section.

Taylor's Island is the most glorious place I've ever seen for jogging because of the very soft footing plus the lovely views. Taking the circumferential trails it is a bit over 7 km around the island. There are facilities: benches, picnic tables, toilet facilities - but it never feels crowded - and mostly it feels like being alone. There are a few interior trails through the island too, plus a long boardwalk out into a tidal estuary and also a viewing tower near Saints Rest Beach.

The picture is one of the beaches along the south shore of Taylor's Island. In the winter the rocky little islands off of this shore attract crowds of sun-worshiping seals. There isn't much snow in the winter so people continue to use the trails. The cross country skiers use the park roads (closed to traffic in winter) if there is enough snow, but generally Saint John doesn't offer practical skiing.

Even in the summer the water in the bay is frigidly cold because tidal turbulance disrupts thermal layering of the water.

Mouth of Manawagonish Creek

The north side of Taylor's Island in the Irving Nature Park of Saint John is really the mouth of the Manawagonish Creek. Taylor's Island ( a name used on very detailed topographical maps) is no longer an island except under severe storm conditions at high tide. Its connection to the mainland is a road that runs along the top of lengthy Saints Rest Beach. On the other side of this road is a broad grassy tidal marsh through which flows the Manawagonish Creek not crossing the road.. Upstream the old creek becomes a lake that houses the city's largest sewage processing facility reachable by pleasant trails that start uphill from the mainland end of Saints Rest Beach.

This picture was taken near low tide at the north side of Taylor's Island a few kilometers from its deepwater end. Low tide in this area exposes vast tidal mud flats. Manawagonish creek still flows in a large deeply recessed groove discernable in the picture at some distance.

Municipal Parks to Note

Having given so much attention to the wonderful Irving Nature Park, it is perhaps a surprise to note that the city also boasts some outstanding municipal parks. The picture is a map of centrally located Rockwood Park which is the second largest municipal park in Canada. Count the many lovely lakes on the map. There are many kilometers of lovely walking trails. The condition of some of the more remote trails can be muddy, a condition aggravated by trail bike ruts. You can swim if you dare in any of the lakes, but two have sandy beaches and lifeguards in the summer. And the water is warm because the lakes are shallow.

There is also beautiful Mispec municipal park and beach on the eastern boundary of the city not far beyond Canaport. You get a good view of the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal being built and a clear, if distant, view of massive oil tankers anchored offshore offloading to Canaport. It is a beautiful location underlining the cost of industrial development. The city's second oil refinery is tentatively planned to be mounted high above this scene on a nearby hill back toward town.

Reversing Falls

City and provincial advertising make much of the "Reversing Falls" which can be viewed best either from the end of Reversing Falls bridge (the restaurant has good simple food), or perhaps an even better view from a small municipal park accessible off of Douglas Avenue.

The "falls" are actually reversing rapids where the tides of the Bay of Fundy assure a dramatic difference in flows near the mouth of the Saint John river which can be observed over a period of about every 6 hours.

Inspired by the sight of the large Irving Pulp Mill right next to this, one can irreverently speak of Saint John's reversing plumbing. In truth the harbour is filthy because of untreated sewage from the city - a problem they say is now in progress of being corrected. Too long has there been reliance on the great miracle flush! The large Irving pulp mill years ago was a problem for air quality, but it has been well cleaned up and I'm not aware it poses any serious environmental problem in any way.

I wanted a pretty picture so I left out the massive mill which is at right angles to the direction of the camera on the opposite bank of the river. The shot was taken from the small municipal park.

Saint John's Most Beautiful River

The Kennebecasis is Saint John's prettiest river. It swings past the Milledgeville section of Saint John north and empties into the Saint John River at Grand Bay. It is a very broad river from below Hampton, although above Hampton it is much less impressive. It is also quite a deep river near its mouth.

The picture shows a view of the Kennebecasis from Milledgeville looking across the river. One small island is visible by the near side of the river to the left, and also to the left there is a very much larger island on the far side of the river. The channel you see on the far side of the river swings around to the left isolating Kennebecasis Island from the mainland. The Milkish Creek flows into that distant channel. The bay visible on the near side of the river on the right of the photo is near the location of the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club.

  • Intro Updated Dec 9, 2007
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Comments (2)

  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    I wish you a very nice weekend :-) It has just been snowing on the other side of the harbour - but only some days until the start of our cruise to warmer regions :-))) Best wishes, Sissi

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2009 at 6:27 AM

    greetings from australia

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Saint John, Canada
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