Grand Manan New Brunswick
|GPS Coordinates are N44 45.8 W66 44.8.|
Link on Google Maps
The only way to get to Grand Manan is by ferry. The island is at the most south-western part of New Brunswick. It is the largest of three islands that extend into the Bay of Fundy. With the technicalities out of the way, here we go with our impressions.
During the ferry ride, the skipper announced "Whales on starboard side". This was already a good start to our vacation.
The first glimpse of the island showed a forested flat rock and fog trailing off the island.
Nothing spectacular? ... is this first impression ever misleading.
Upon arrival, we drove the 16 km to the Anchorage Provincial Park where we spent the next 4 nights. The weather in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia was hot and humid. We overheard a conversion on the ferry that Nova Scotia was "unseasonably warm". And here we are, got fogged in just outside the camp site. In the distance we could hear the waves rolling onto the shore, but we couldn't see a thing.
We decided to go for a walk. The Provincial Park has a few trails and they start right from the camp site.
The 30km road follows the eastern shore. Several roads branch off and connect to the coves and bays. The drive offers countless photo-opportunities.
About all of the traditional Lobster Traps are now the wire frame type with ropes and netting inside, from white to black and all the colours of the spectrum in between.
At the time this picture was taken, it was low tide. The Bay of Fundy is famous for the height of the tide difference that ranges from 3.5 meters to an amazing 16 meters. It is advisable to consult the tide schedule when visiting some of the places. Very important when visiting Ross Island where the high tide shuts down the road with a few meter of water. All documented in our excursion to Ross Island.
There are no big name restaurants or franchises on Grand Manan. When we asked locals about the"best place to eat seafood", we were sent here. Sunrise Seafoods Ltd - SEAFOOD and TAKE-OUT. This place has five-star rating in Tripadvisor and we agree. The menu is basic but covers anything seafood. We also bought fresh fish for the camp fire. That was likely one of the freshest and best fish we ever had. Later on our journey we bought fresh fish from the grocery store in Nova Scotia - but nope, it was just another fish.
Trip to the most northern point on the island, Long Eddy Point. The road ends here at the beach. The last stretch of the road is gravel, a sharp curve at Arther's Bench and steep drop to the beach. There is plenty of parking space. While we were hopping from rock to rock, we met only two more families visiting the beach. Many of the landmarks are almost deserted. The largest gathering of about 20 tourists was likely at the Swallowtail Lighthouse.
The usual display of fog clinging to the island. The fog was always present, fuelled by the cold water and the tidal activities.
The Thomas B. Munro Memorial Shoreline Nature Preserve is just east of Long Eddy Point. The trail goes on top of the cliffs, about 50 meters above sea level. We had a spectacular view of some whales. These pictures were taken with a standard size photo lens (50mm for the nerds) , no telescopic lens. With the binoculars, we could almost count the barnacle attached to the whales.
As we found out during our stay on Grand Manan, we were lucky to encounter such an abundance of whales. They are always there, but 2018 brought a cold water mass into the Bay of Fundy. This attracted a lot of Herring. And where there is fish, there is bigger fish.
The Swallowtail Lightstation also located in the northern part of Grand Manan is likely the most dominant point when arriving by ferry. It can be seen from far away. As it should be for a lighthouse, I guess. The Swallowtail Keepers Society has a very interesting display of the old bell and other artifacts and stories about this place. The view from the top of the cliff is definitely worth a visit.
We drove to the most northern point of the island and visited almost everything south of it. No way that we could leave Grand Manan without having seen the Southwest Head Light House at the most southern point of the island. It is the last day, it is rainy-ish and yes you guessed right, it is foggy. The lighthouse is nothing the brag about and surrounded by radio equipment. I'm sure that the view from the top can be spectacular. Oh well, something to enjoy the next time.
There is much more to Grand Manan, but some things have to be experienced.
Did you ever have Dulse? This is the place to get it.
Or do you want to see how they farm Rock Weed? Yup, spot-on.
Eager to walk or bike on the most amazing sand beach? Gotta go there and take a dip in the freezing cold ocean.
How about the Gaskin Museum of Marine Life? That's where we learned which whale we saw from the cliffs - Fin Whale, they can grow over 20 meters in length.
Oh, did you know that light houses have fog horns? Blew my mind, literally, they are loud.