Our main objective on this first real day of biking were the cliffs at the southwest tip of the island. However, because it was early and still foggy, we decided to detour off the highway to the Anchorage Provincial Park, located along the seashore, in order to give the fog more time to burn off. We found this to be a very well-organized and clean...more
Moving forward to my 2004 biking trip, once the rain had let up on the first afternoon of this most recent trip to the island, my buddy and I cycled a short distance out to the walkways and picnic sites at the Castalia Marsh. Although it was still a bit foggy, we had a fairly good view of the bird population in the area, mostly wild ducks, Canada...more
This island has peaceful hiking trails all around its perimeter with multiple access points for a long or short hike. Beyond each corner is a different vista of the ocean from just forty feet or so to several hundred above the sea's surface. During the hike it is possible to see whales and seals, or many kinds of seabirds and warblers and land...more
We chose Whales-n-Sails Adventures for our midday whale watch in the Bay of Fundy. Weather-permitting, the Elsie Minota sailboat makes two trips a day (at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.), using wind power so as to cause the least disturbance to the whales, seabirds, sharks, and seals. The sailboat's capacity is 46 passengers, and the crew is...more
The western side of Grand Manan is composed of high basalt cliffs, rising between 200-350 feet above the sea. At Southwest Head, where one of the island's lighthouses is located, the 200-ft cliffs are made up of strange-looking octagonal basaltic rock columns. There are fractures everywhere and the columns look like they could give way at any...more
At the end of our 3-day trip, with only 2 hours before the ferry left for the mainland, we left on a short 6 km road to the most northerly part of the island - Long Eddy Point. This road proved to be the most hill-challenged of them all, it had one really long but not too steep hill as well as a couple of shorter but steeper ones near the Point. As...more
On our final morning on the Island, we biked back to North Head to do some shorter biking trips at the north end of the Island. While there, we took the time to check out the whale watching schooner that is owned and operated by the Sea-Land Adventure owner (in whose accommodations we had been staying!). We spotted the vessel down on the wharf very...more
On the western side of the island is a small bay called Dark Harbour. It is nearly sealed off from the ocean by a sandbar between the two headlands. Dark Harbour is famous for its 'dulse', an edible seaweed that can be picked from the rocks at low tide and then sun-dried before eating. Because the harbour and the shoreline dulse rocks are shaded by...more
Grand Manan is known for its excellent whale watching excursions! Within 2 hours of arriving on the island, we had booked ourselves a 4-hour afternoon trip on 'Against the Wind', a 40 x 16 foot fibreglass boat owned and operated by Island Coast Boat Tours. The craft is powered by a 350 HP Volvo engine, cruises at 10 knots, has a washroom on-board...more
We have been dining at the Inn at Whale Cove on and off for the past eleven years, and have found it to be an average dining experience enlivened primarily by the nostalgic atmosphere of the lovely old buildings and the beautiful view. Ms. Buckley's "fusion" of flavors tends to confuse the palette, so that nothing tastes of anything other than too...more
On our final morning, we biked back to the ferry landing area, where the little office that issues the tickets very kindly said that we could leave our backpacks there for the day (since we were just doing little local jaunts that day). Across the road was the new Area 38 restaurant and pool hall, which had been recommended to us as a place for...more
On my latest biking trip, this little convenience store was located about half-way between Grand Harbour and Seal Cove, and also very close to the road that turned off to the Anchorage Provincial Park. On our morning ride out to Southwest Head, we stopped here for a couple of cold water bottles each. In the early afternoon, on our way back we...more
The afternoon of our final day, at 27 C, was a hot one by Grand Manan standards! After biking up and down the hills to Long Eddy Point we were feeling a trifle hot, so we dropped into Gallaways Bar for a cold Moosehead beer. It really tasted great.This place is also very new and is clean and cool inside. They have a big deck that looks out across a...more
For our single night on Grand Manan, we chose to relax after our whale watching excursion by dining in the restaurant located in our B&B lodgings. This seemed like a popular spot with tables scattered around in a very 'homey' atmosphere. My wife's sister decided that this was the place for a fresh lobster roll, while my wife and I thoroughly...more
The Inn at Whale Cove is really the only "upscale" dining on the island. But don't let that fact deter you - there are treasures to be discovered here!The Inn is a collection of weathered cedar shingled buildings overlooking the cove for which it is named and the interior is comfortable and cozy, just as you'd imagine it to be.The star here is the...more
If you haven't already, read my travel tip on Hole-In-the-Wall Campground. Find yourself a nice campsite overlooking the ocean, and wait til sunset when the fog should come in. Build a nice fire, open a bottle of wine, listen to the waves below and wait for the soothing sound of the last ferry to leave the island blowing the fog horn. The rest is...more
You'll see things at night here that you won't see just about anywhere else!Stars! Millions and millions of stars, that are normally blocked out by city lights, blaze in the night sky here. The only inturruption in the show are the occasional meteor or highflying airplane. And if you happen to be there during a period of high solar activity, the...more
I don't really do a lot of biking, maybe two days a week to work and back on my cheap old bike from the local grocery store! It is only 18 km total distance each way, but it does involve a very long climb up out of the Saint John River valley when I am headed home. That exercise really helped my legs for the more modest hills on Grand Manan. The...more
A pleasant ferry ride that takes about 2 hours. There are numerous scheduled ferries, in the summer season you can catch one just about every coupld of hours. Passanger fare is about CAD$10.00.One warning tho, if you're prone to seasickness and the weather isn't great, you might want to wait til it improves. Aboard the ferry are some pretty...more
Just like on the 1995 trip, the sun cooperated on the homeward bound voyage and we were able to stay top-side at the stern for the entire 1.5 hour trip. The sun was shining as we left North Head and we soon spotted the two whale watching schooners that had set out from the harbour earlier in the day. The gaff-schooner D'Sonoqua was some distance...more
While biking along between Seal Cove and the Anchorage, we were surprised to suddenly come across what appeared to be a deer farm. We first noticed the antlers on this large buck, enclosed within a pen along with other smaller deer with antlers. A few hundred feet further along, on the other side of the road, was another large fenced in area with...more
Dulse is a particular type of seaweed that grows in the inter-tidal zone of the Bay of Fundy, as well as a few other places in the world. It is very rich in nutrients, but its taste also takes some getting used to.During the daily low tide cycles (the tidal range at the mouth of the Bay here is about 20 feet), it is possible to walk out onto the...more
There are many different types of fisheries carried on in these very productive waters. It varies with different fishing seasons for such things as lobster, herring, mussells, clams and scallops - as well as farmed salmon. Here, part of the fleet is pulled up out of the water at Ingalls Head, with many of these boats undergoing painting and various...more
Not recommended for cyclists. It's ironic; this is seen as such a quiet little place, doesn't have big-city traffic. But motorists pass too fast, too close, with oncoming traffic. If you should happen to meet up with a driver and politely ask that they leave bikes a little more room, they are quite rude.The back roads are better, but stay off the...more
Be aware that Grand Manan is often foggy, especially during the early morning hours. We only ran into this issue once during our stay: around 4:30 one morning we were awoken in our tent by a *very loud* fog horn that went off incessantly for at least an hour. This might not be a problem if you were staying at an inn, but I wouldn't be surprised if...more
A simple calculation - cold water of the Bay of Fundy meets warm summer air and the result is Fog. This is a common occurrance along the Fundy coastline, but on a normal summer day the heat of the sun begins to win the battle and usually burns the fog off by late morning. That is what happened during our second day on the island. The fog had not...more
Luggage and bags:
These can be any type of luggage you have, but make sure to bring along at least one backpack or daypack for hiking the many trails.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Pack for rather cool weather, even in mid-summer. Daytime temperatures can vary from the low 80sF to the low 60sF when the fog comes in. So a mix of shorts, long pants, sweatshirts and sweaters is best. And don't forget good hiking boots. And if you are going on one of the wonderful whale watching trips, you'll also want a hat, gloves, sweater, windbreaker and maybe a heavy jacket. The water temp. is never much above 55F so the air on the open water can get very cold!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Unless you are camping, just bring the basics.
Photo Equipment: You will definitely want both still and video cameras if you have them. Depending on your proficiency and type of equipment, bring all your lenses and filters. The natural beauty here will inspire anyone.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There are several places to camp here, but they are all pretty primative. Since everything comes over on the ferry, there's not really a need for elaborate hook-ups. Also, while there are miles of "beaches" here, don't bother with your swim suit - unless you don't mind turning numb within about 2 minutes.
Miscellaneous: Binoculars are a must: birds, seals and whales are everywhere.
Other than Grand Manan itself, Whitehead is the only other of the small islands around Grand Manan that is permanently settled. It has a population of 185 people, mostly engaged in fishing. The island was named for its abundance of white quartzite rock which forms one of its headlands. We also saw many large boulders made up of this material, used...more
The 'Lady Whitehead' is an 8 car, 45 passenger ferry operated by Coastal Transport for the New Brunswick government. It is one of a fleet of ferries that provide free services across the many rivers in southern NB as well as to selected off-shore islands.This one operates 11.5 hours per day, taking about 28 minutes to make each crossing between...more
One of the pleasures of biking around the island was the wonderful aromas coming from the many wild plants that seem to be growing everywhere.My favourite is the Wild Rose. Not only is it very pretty, but it provides a really nice smell as you bike on by! It is a type of plant that also grows near the beaches, helping to stabilize the sand...more