St. Andrews By-the-Sea: A Canadian Maritime Holiday

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Island Quest Whale Watching Tour. Photo by Carri Wilbanks
Island Quest Whale Watching Tour. Photo by Carri Wilbanks

Island Quest Whale Watching Tour

The Bay of Fundy’s high tides provide nutrient-rich waters filled with little fish that attract more than 12 species of whales, including finback, minke and humpback.

To test our luck, we headed out to sea on a lobster yacht with Island Quest with biologists on board to talk about marine life along the way. On the way, we enjoyed the different coastal sights of lighthouses, rocky shoreline and seemingly endless stretches of sea.

As we approached deeper water, we were told whale sightings were promising because birds had gathered feeding on the same fish (herrings and sardines) that whales were searching for.

When the whales surfaced from the water, we could see the symmetry in the color of their faces, with one side being white and the other black. We must have seen the whales skim the surface a few dozen times and each time was as exciting as the last.

Turtle Shore Adventure. Photo by Carri Wilbanks
Turtle Shore Adventure. Photo by Carri Wilbanks

Turtle Shore Adventure Jeep Tour

Another fun option in town is to take a Jeep Tour with Turtle Shore Adventures, where you will cover a lot of history with owner Genny Simard. She also offers beach and history walks, but there was something that drew me to her convertible style burnt orange four wheel Jeep.

We started by talking about some of the quirky stories of town and visiting spots, like the old jail built in 1832 that sits next to the courthouse built in 1840. We cruised down to the Pendlebury Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse on New Brunswick’s mainland that was once lit with sea, porpoise or whale oil back in the early 1800’s.

As we looked out to see the shore, Genny told us that at low tide you can find all kinds of artifacts from the past, such as old pieces of china and coal that would have come from England when it fell off the ships.

Next, she drove us to Minister Island, where we explored the restored former summer home of Sir William Vanderbilt, builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

To reach Minister Island, you have to time it at low tide because you drive across the rocky ocean to get there. Time it differently and the road is impassable in a car.

Once on the island, we walked through some of the 50 rooms in the Edwardian Cottage. You don’t want to miss the chance to walk down the stone bathhouse where a natural swimming pool was built taking advantage of water at high tide filling the pool. You can also see one of the largest livestock barns in North America, and the old windmill that used to power the island.

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