The reason for going down to St Andrews, apart from seeing the coast, was to go whale watching. This part of New Brunswick is well known for it, as are the three main islands just off the coast. There are plenty of whale watching companies operating in the area but the receptionist recommended Tide Runners, which happened to be the one I’d been looking at a few weeks ago. I knew they had a tour starting at ten, but we woke up at 9:30am and decided to take it slow checking out.
We should have eaten breakfast at the hotel, or tried to because the buffet stopped at ten, but when we got down to the Main Street of the town, every restaurant was either not serving food until 11:30 (it hadn’t yet got to 11) or was in the crossover between serving breakfast and serving lunch and there is some law punishable by death of serving any type of food in that in between time. Seriously.
We wandered up and down the street. I found Tide Runners and they had one space left on their 1pm tour. Glen wasn’t all that keen about being thrown about on a zodiac so I booked it. Because we’d wandered so much, it was eventually 11:30 and against my internally held concerns we settled on a Chinese restaurant. To be fair it wasn’t the worst Chinese food I’ve had in Canada (A place in Lewisporte, NF, and Mother’s Dumplings in Toronto share that honour) but probably not the best breakfast food. Anyway, we ate.
I then went to my tour, going not once, but twice to the washroom, the thought of being out for two hours on a boat making my bladder quiver. We donned our orange flotation suits and walked out to the jetty and got in the zodiac. We had been warned that the likelihood of seeing a whale–let alone whales–was slim as they hadn’t put in much of an appearance yet. However, I was just as excited about seeing seals and porpoises that not seeing whales wasn’t going to ruin my experience.
We climbed into the boat, took our places and immediately I felt like I needed to use the loo. However, there was no way I could so I just had to hold it and think of other things.
We headed out into the bay and as far out as we could get on the two hour trip. Long story short, we saw two bald eagles (one a baby in a nest), a couple of Harbour Porpoises (the world’s smallest cetaceans), Harbour Seals and a Grey Seal. I was thrilled. Also, the whale we’d most likely see would be a Minke and I’d seen one of them in Newfoundland so didn’t feel like I’d missed out.
We also saw lobster fisherman hauling in their traps. The season ends on 3 July and so they have to bring them in or any traps left out are fined and confiscated. We watched as they pulled in a few traps, throwing out the fish they didn’t want or the lobsters that were too small (the catch is regulated by season and carapace length). It was interesting to see them work.
While the sea itself wasn’t rough, there were nevertheless waves and our captain took them with great gusto, giving us a thrill ride as well as a nature watching experience. Every slam made me clench and while holding on, I also held on. I was overjoyed to get back to dry land and go in search of a loo.
I met Glen and we got another drink before jumping in the car and heading back to Moncton. We made a detour into St John to see the Giant Brick (no, seriously), and then I reversed into someone’s car, though luckily didn’t make a dent. I was going very slowly.
We arrived in Moncton sometime around 6:30pm, our hotel entrance blocked for the Atlanticade festival, Atlantic Canada’s largest motorcycle event. We parked the car elsewhere, checked in, and then I went back and got it. We chilled for a little while in our room before going for dinner at a restaurant called Gusto that was around the corner.
We ordered drinks, a calamari starter, a pizza and chicken parmigiana to share. Surprisingly it was a bit too much food. It certainly filled us up. Our server was very nice and we chatted to her, a Glen going over what we’d done and where we were going tomorrow. He said we were going to Parrsboro in Nova Scotia. I expected her to ask us why the hell we were going there but she was actual,y a regular visitor to that part of Nova Scotia and told us to visit the Fossil Cliffs in Joggins. It turned out to be an excellent tip.
We waddled out of the restaurant, walked past the motorcycle enthusiasts and then sought the refuge of our hotel room where we watched Sense8 before hitting the hay.