27-Oct-2001 -- Surely the mission of the Degree Confluence Project is to encourage people to get out and explore. It's worrrrkinnnng...
I had attempted 5 of the 9 confluences in my home province of Nova Scotia. Although I had never before been exactly at any of them, I knew the general areas and felt that I knew what to expect. My sixth attempt, 46°N, 64°W was a little further from home and in area I did not know well. I had driven along the road once or twice before but I was only going from A to B, not exploring. So last Sunday, the 27th of October, 2001 I set out to remedy this. I knew this would just be an attempt because the confluence is about 500 m offshore and it was too late in the year to do any solo sea kayaking.
46°N 64°W is near the "Amherst Shore" a segment of the coast of the Northumberland Strait that is cottage country for the nearby town of Amherst. Amherst is the only large town in this northern part of the mainland of Nova Scotia. The surrounding area has some small farming and some forest industry. "Wild" blueberries are a major crop of the area. The tourist brochures tout the Northumberland Strait as "the warmest salt water north of the Carolinas". Well, maybe not at the end of October. So this shoreline is populated with cottages and access to the coast is limited.
My maps showed a creek going from the road which might have been a possible access. My GPS showed the creek was 1 km from the mark and the edges of the creek were, clearly, privately owned with a very nice home and groomed lawns. I back tracked a little to a road that headed toward the shore and found an easy kayak launch site about 1.2 km away. That could be a possibility for next summer, so I carried on, satisfied that I could do it.
About half a km to the west, I discovered a provincial picnic park. The gate was locked for the season so I parked the car and walked through this very pleasant park. The fields were well groomed and the picnic tables among the trees had little shingled roofs. The park was on a point of land that jutted out into the strait and took me to 600 m from 46°N 64°W. I took a picture showing the site and including the park in the foreground. Then the film rewound, my last exposure. I realized later that the land across the bay, about 5 km away, was Cape Tormentime, New Brunswick and, a little to the east, I could see the island province of Prince Edward Island across the Strait. This picture shows one of the very few places in Canada where one can see three provinces in one view. PEI is in the distance and you can probably not see it on the scan of the photo but it is really there. It is connected to the end of the Cape Tormentime by the world's longest bridge which is not quite visible from the convergence.
Then I noticed a stone marker with a bronze plaque. It was a memorial to the Chignecto Ship Railway. In 1889, Henry George Clopper Ketchum attempted to construct a marine railway across the isthmus of Chignecto. This would have made safe passage for small ships from the Northumberland Strait to the bay of Fundy, without have to travel the many miles around the province of Nova Scotia. This would even be a shorter route from Montreal to Boston or New York. Work was begun on both ends but then funds ran out and the project was abandoned. This park was the eastern terminus of the railway and the remains of the excavation and works was clearly visible, 112 years later. You can find out more information about it by searching the web for "Chignecto Ship Railway".
Sunday started a little foggy but that lifted in the two hour drive from my home and by the time I reached the Strait, it was a crystal clear day with a bright blue sky and dark blue water. The autumn leaves were at the end of their October show, leaving mainly yellows and browns to mingle with the evergreens. Here and there, some hearty maples still showed off some red. The countryside is mainly low with wetlands around the estuaries of all the little rivers. I noticed that these were subtlety colourful. The marsh grass, so green in summer, had matured to a beautiful golden brown. I had never considered autumn colours in grasses before.
As I returned home I did some hiking and biking in the vicinity. The blueberry fields had turned an unbelievably brilliant red which shone in the late autumn sun. If I still had film, I could have photographed that and included some scans but you would not believe that I hadn't doctored the colours. You had to seem them to believe them.