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  • Sydney Daniels

east coast pt. one - st. andrew's

August was deserving of its own blog post. After two and a half weeks of traveling and several hours of editing, the photos are here! I took this trip for an ocean sustainability field course, and it has undoubtedly been the best course I've taken to date. Please enjoy the photos from the first half of my trip: St. Andrew's, New Brunswick.

I've been looking forward to this trip for months, ever since I heard about it in the fall term of last year I knew I wanted to be a part of something like this. After waiting for several months, driving 9 hours to Quebec, and then another 6 to New Brunswick, we made it to our first home during our trip. In St. Andrew's, we stayed at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre. St. Andrew's, although a relatively quiet town, had a lot of wildlife to offer.

During our first night on the trip, a few friends and I decided to take a walk into town just to take in the fact that we finally made it. We got to see a gorgeous sunset and a few deer, which we saw several later on as well. In St. Andrew's, deer are equivalent to squirrels in Ontario, they're everywhere (foreshadowing more deer pics). It was so surreal to take in the Bay of Fundy in all its glory.

Day One: Scallop Drag in the Bay

On our first official day, we were out on the water. We boarded the Huntsman's vessel, the Fundy Spray, to venture off for some plankton sampling and a scallop drag. There was plenty to see on and off of the boat. As we left the wharf, the tide was out so the beach was completely exposed. As our trip's resident photographer, I had to get fun candids of my new friends taking in the views and trips, my favourite being my prof and his many birding stances.

For the scallop drag, we let this small net down to the ocean floor for a short trip to collect any treasures and creatures, and it did not disappoint. In our first haul, we found not only scallops, but starfish, sea cucumbers, snails, sea urchins, and an anemone. I was shocked by all the critters we brought up in such a short time frame.

After we spent our time looking through this batch, the trawler was down for another load, this time bringing up some crab friends. After we set our collections free, back into the bay, we boated around a bit more and ran into some seals! After losing my mind briefly, I managed to get a few decent pictures of the chubby little guys.

We saw mostly harbor seals and a few greys as well. After those insane wildlife sightings, I saw my first bald eagle and managed to get a pretty bad photo of it, but it's my first photo nonetheless. Pretty insane first day.

Day Two: Huntsman Aquarium

The next day came around and we visited the Huntsman's aquarium which houses species and information about the Bay of Fundy, Atlantic salmon, and several types of whales. There wasn't much to photograph in here (frankly because shooting a fish tank in dim lighting is not pleasant), but I managed to get a few cool photos from an experience that I honestly didn't love. Namely, the harbor seal named Snorkel.

He is a resident there and is currently looking for a new friend, he had the cutest face and I wish he had a slightly bigger swimming area. Aquariums and zoos are tricky places for us environment kids, so there was a general sense of unwellness after we left the facility.

Day Two: Bay Beach Walk

Later that day, we went back outside for a beach walk while the tide was out. While my friends grabbed buckets and unturned rocks, I was shooting like crazy. We made a lot of neat discoveries, including several green crabs, hundreds of thousands of snails and barnacles, and a few abandoned crab claws.

The weirdest item we found was the beige-ish blob sitting in a pair of gloved hands, those are squid eggs. They hover around in seaweed, which has a very fascinating plant structure. Most plants typically have a sturdy stem or base to hold them upright, whereas these plants had no stem and lay flat on the ground. Their "stems" were filled with a bunch of air pockets to help lift them up when the tide came in, and then when it receded again, they wouldn't have to waste energy standing upright with no water to support it. Genius engineering right there.

Towards the end of our beach walk, I came across another seal playing peek-a-boo with us, and a king eider which was apparently a rare find.

Day Five: Fish Seine in St. John

On day five, we took a trip to St. John to meet with a local NGO: the Atlantic Coastal Action Plan, or ACAP SJ for short. We learned about the great work they were doing to engage with the community in environmental initiatives. After learning about their ongoing projects, we went out to the harbor to do a quick survey of their marine creatures by seining; a style of fishing that works by walking a net across the shore bank to collect fish and other critters. We caught a few little fishies and crabs, I also had a faceoff with a great blue heron for a solid five minutes.

Day Seven: Fish Farm Visit on the Fundy Spray

A week into our trip was an interesting part of the course. We spent two days learning about and visiting multiple stages of the aquaculture process. As challenging as it was to walk through that, there were plenty of other gorgeous sites to see out on the water. We visited a fish farm on a gorgeous morning with calm waters and blue skies that were to die for.

Up on shore, I spotted a pair of bald eagles just chilling on top of a tree. Even though I was supposed to be listening to our speaker talk about aquaculture, I was obsessing over these two beauties who were almost modeling for me. I was losing my mind.

Day Eight: Kayak through Musquash

Speaking of losing my mind, this part of the trip might have been the highlight for me. As a class, we hopped into kayaks and paddled down the Musquash estuary which starts inland in freshwater and spits you out in the salty ocean water. I got to paddle with my bestie for several hours which was very tiring for our arms but well worth it for what we saw.

Coming around the last bend toward our landing spot, we came across a small island with a few dozen grey seals. I contemplated bringing my camera with me on the water, but thank god I did because I took some of my favourite photos from the trip here. While we were paddling, we were being followed by a couple of seals as well. It liked to pop its snout up and stare at us from a distance. It also did the same when we finished kayaking, we were swimming at Black Beach with another seal peeking its nose up to watch us.

As rewarding and fulfilling as this first week has been, we were only halfway through the trip. To learn about my adventures in Nova Scotia, check out my next blog!

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1 comentario

24 oct 2023

Very well-written and I loved hearing about your amazing adventures out east!

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