Crew Blog | Nā’ālehu Anthony: Road Tripping the Old-Fashioned Way

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Today the “land waʻa” crew – Navigator Kālepa Baybayan, Keala Kimura and myself – picked up a car with the ambitious mission of driving across Nova Scotia and into New Brunswick to take the Voyage a little further north, without the canoe.  Our purpose is to check out the tidal shifts at Hopewell Rocks, which are in the Bay of Fundy, reported to have the largest tidal shifts in the world. It turns out that we’re expecting Hopewell Rocks to have a tidal range of 42′ in only 6 hours.  Sounds amazing.

But first we gotta get there.

Here’s the challenge:  We’re in Canada now, and none of our phones allow for the kind of data we usually use back at home. In short, no GPS or Google Maps.  So, we have to traverse entirely new terrain in another country for a 1200 kilometer round-trip using these dreaded things called “paper maps”. We picked up a map or two at the rental car center, and with a few discussions we were on our way – hopefully to Hopewell Rocks (I know, this could be ironic).

The last time I can remember using a paper map, I was in my late 20’s running through L.A. looking for my cousin’s wedding. This time, navigating with the aid of the paper map is a bit easier. For one thing, there’s pretty much only one road leading out of Yarmouth – step one accomplished, we know how to head in the right direction.   This one road heads northeast out of town, or in a general south direction.   We chose northeast and took off towards Digby, one of the next towns over, in search of a local who could help to explain the phenomena of these massive tidal shifts in the Bay of Fundy.

At a local coffee shop in Digby, we met with Greg Turner.   He was kind enough to take us to the waterfront to show us the interpretive signs that help to tie in the movement of the moon and tidal resonance to these intense tide changes.   Both contribute to a tide that can shift as much as 50 feet in some places. We bid farewell to Greg and thanked him for his time, and we were off again with about 500 kilometers to go.

The 101 highway took us through great farming country. We saw corn and other vegetable crops littering the landscape; when we couldn’t see farms it was because the proud pines stood together so thick that they built an impenetrable barrier to anyone wanting to see past.  We passed rivers and lakes, and also started to see what were likely tributaries connected to the Bay as they were wet and muddy but no water was in them.   We had been told that as the tide lowers, some of these small veins of the bay would be empty.

A huge left turn put us on the Trans Canada highway.   This took us through the rest of Nova Scotia and we took a quick pit stop at the border to get new maps – the ones we had were only for the district and ended with Nova Scotia.   Luckily the kind people at the border had some for their neighbor, New Brunswick.  We asked questions about the route as well as other tourist-like questions and every single person we talked to was courteous and kind – all the people we have interacted with in Canada have been really genuinely nice. Maybe they extended extra kindness to us because we really did live up to the cliche – us guys had a hard enough time stopping and asking for directions. But stopping to do so really made the drive a lot easier.

The detail in the maps were fine until we had to find our way through the cities along the way.   I’m pretty sure it was the skill and intuition of our driver Keala that got us through without a wrong turn.   The only unfortunate part came when Keala commented that he was happy that we had not encountered any traffic thus far.   Yes, you guessed it, no more than 30 seconds later we sat, stopped on the freeway, in afternoon traffic for 20 minutes. Still, it was a small price to pay for 500 km of unscathed transit.

After driving in mostly a northerly direction we started to head south again, closer to Hopewell Rocks.   It was a little too late to to try any time lapse photography today but we did want to check out the scene and talk to people about shooting on site.   The staff at the park were really friendly, and we took some photos of the massive landscape that would be underwater again in just a few hours.  We’re excited to shoot at the Rocks a couple of different ways, and are really looking forward to bringing you all a terrific description of what an incredible place this is.

Of course, I still can’t figure out how to fold a paper map, but it was a lot of fun getting here the “old-fashioned” way.   More to come as we travel back to Hopewell Rocks to photograph this incredible place tomorrow.

Until then we’ll be SB 68,

Aloha,
Nāʻālehu


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