Humidity might be claiming the inland towns and villages in sauna-like conditions, but in Alma, the bright sun is accompanied by fresh winds, salt air and waves that either lap or beat the shoreline depending on the height of our tides and force of our winds.
Here we are, still in the early days of August and already the temperature has begun to chill the mornings before heating rapidly as the sun rises. This morning, at our kayaking HQ in Alma, the staff of FreshAir prepared boats on the lawn and watched one of our favourite resident Bald Eagles make its way down the estuary (from Salmon River), towards the bay in search of its breakfast.
The winds blow up the Bay, south and southwest, and daily we launch our kayaking guests into the swells, so that they can pull themselves through the tides against the wind as they make their steady and rolling progress up the coastline of the Park. Herring Cove’s small headland makes a natural wind block and we gather there to have a drink of water and prepare to paddle around the cliffs and sea caves that are directly around the bend. The biggest wall of conglomerate rock never fails to impress everyone, and as guides, we never tire of showing it off. There we are: tiny, bobbing boats at the foot of the craggy cliff-side, with small sea caves to either side of us. At low tide, the boulders covered in Bladderwrack emerge and look like tiny, dozing, woolly mammoths.
Once we have covered our several kilometres (with a beach-break to enjoy fresh sticky buns and other snacks), we head back to Alma with the wind at our backs. Our guests enjoy the swell that carries them home — and this part of the ride always seems to be over too soon.
It’s been a beautiful summer for spotting birds and other fauna along the Fundy National Park Coastline. In June and July our regular pair of breeding Harbour Porpoises and their young play in the secluded coves just south of Matthew’s Head; the Harbour Seals have delighted guests by their sudden and more frequent appearances, and the Eider Ducks, Double-Breasted Cormorants, Common Loons and other assorted shorebirds have kept our guests wondering about their identities until we paddle right up alongside them.
Other guests have been surprised to see a doe nursing her fawn along the water’s edge (an unexpected sight while sea-kayaking).
This month we’ve seen the return of our Great Blue Herons, which stalk through the mudflats of the estuary in search of prey, and of course, the dragonflies are whizzing about in abundance. Hovering about the lakes and ponds of the park; they will suddenly zip through the heavy air, gorging themselves on whatever insects they can find.
And last — but not at all least — the Perseid meteor shower has begun. Hours after we’ve closed our door for the day’s business, our kayak guides head up into the darkened park to watch the show. Summers in Alma on the Bay… someone has to be here to appreciate it all and we’re happy to be the volunteers.