Day 5 CCR: Digby Scallops
When I got up early to make sure we got to the ferry landing on time, I discovered it rained last night and was still lightly raining as we packed the bikes and got ready to leave. We suited up for the first (but not last) time this trip, and made the slightly damp 15-minute ride to the catch the Fundy Rose for a 2 1/2 hour ride across the Bay of Fundy. We arrived in plenty of time and joined the queue of cars, trucks and one other motorcycle waiting to load. At precisely 9:00 a.m, all vehicles had been loaded, the motorcycles were strapped to the steel deck and we pulled away from the dock in St John and said goodbye (for now) to New Brunswick.
The Fundy Rose ferries vehicles and people from St. John to Digby, Nova Scotia twice a day, one trip each way. A well-appointed craft, the ferry boasts two cafeteria/snack bars, a lounge and plenty of social-distanced seating. The name honors Rose Fortune, a former slave who settled in Nova Scotia in the 18th century and was a loyalist who sided with the crown in the war against the colonies. She was a successful businesswoman whose life revolved around the Bay of Fund and was also the first female police officer in Canada. She left a lasting impression on the people of the area and the owners of Bay Ferries felt it appropriate to honor her by naming the vessel Fundy Rose.
St John receded into the background as we passed the harbor lighthouse and headed for open sea. The short trip gave me a chance to reflect on my time at sea when Navy ships were made of wood and canvas and on long-distance motorcycle riding. Most passengers stayed secure in the lounge or the seating areas, but I spent a good part of my ride in the brisk open air, taking in the beauty of the Bay of Fundy.
The Bay of Fundy, by the way, every day witnesses the biggest tides in the world. Every six hours the water rises or falls 50 feet, creating currents so strong it forces rivers to run backwards and producing a vortex so powerful the result is a giant whirlpool. The biggest action takes place in the northernmost bays and inlets, but the tide affects every shore and harbor on the Bay of Fundy. All that tidal action also produces what I went to Digby for: The world’s biggest scallops.
We found the small but highly-rated Crow’s Nest restaurant on the main drag along Digby harbor, looked briefly at a menu, and with the help of our delightful server Wendy, ordered the amazing scallops we had taken a $100 ferry ride to enjoy. If you’re ever in Digby, I highly recommend this gem on the waterfront. It’s a piece of Canadiana. Quirky decor, friendly and helpful staff (e.g. Wendy), and, of course, wonderfully prepared scallops. The Crow’s nest could easily expand if they had the space: several parties had to be turned away or were given a reservation later in the lunch period by the accommodating staff. We didn’t have much time after lunch to sight see, but we looked at a display in the center of town and at the fleet resting in the harbor.
We had about 300 miles to ride after lunch to get to today’s destination at Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and we left Digby under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-to-low 50s. Unfortunately, the clouds moved in and the temperatures dropped considerably on the ride north. By the time we got to Antigonish at 5:30, the sun was gone, the temperature had dropped to 47° F ( 8° C) and we were definitely feeling the chill, despite adding additional gear during a couple of stops. Unfortunately the weather will go from bad to worse tomorrow with forecasts for light rain and temperatures in the low 40s. I had hoped to introduce Steve to a great ride on the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, but that ride is best saved for a more rider-friendly day. Tomorrow, then, should be a short, cold, wet ride to North Sydney where we’ll catch an 11:30 p.m. overnight ferry to Channel-Port-aux-Basque, NL.
One final note for today’s blog: I calculated the cost of gas after we filled our tanks. $6.50 USD/gallon for premium petrol. Ouch.