Monday, November 13, 2017

CANADA’S BAY OF FUNDY: About a Hole that Disappeared, Guest Post by Caroline Hatton

Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. The Hole in Long Island as it appeared in 2014

My friend and fellow children’s book author Caroline Hatton visited the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada, in October 2014. She took the photos in this post. Caroline's latest book, C'est pas marrant, is in her native French, for ages 8 and up. It's about humorous sibling antics and it practically takes readers on a trip to Paris! Here is her account of what she saw on her trip to Canada.

The Bay of Fundy is home to the world's highest tides, rising and falling up to a record 53 feet (16 meters) a day. But even when and where the tide doesn’t reach such extremes, waves erode rocks, islands, and cliffs, constantly reshaping the landscape. The changes range from imperceptible most of the time to colossal proportions once in a while, in which case they make headlines.
Red dot: location of Five Island Provincial Park
Along the shore around the Bay of Fundy are many natural highlights as different as they are extraordinary. In some locations, tides rush in or out violently. Elsewhere, hikers traipse across mud flats at low tide to visit rock towers and arches, and at high tide a few hours later and a few meters higher, kayakers paddle around and through the same spots.
Five Island Provincial Park. Note hole in Long Island
When I visited Nova Scotia in 2014, a point of interest on my itinerary was Five Island Provincial Park, advertised as a lovely spot for family picnics and beach strolls. It is so named because five islands grace the horizon not far from the shore: Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg, and Pinnacle Island. Having looked up the low tide time on an online tide table weeks in advance, I planned to take a walk on the beach.
It was nice and quiet in the late afternoon sun, sharing the dry sand with only a few dog walkers and watching two clam diggers out on the vast, wet expanse. The closest island was Long Island with its charming, beloved, postcard-perfect arch, known as The Hole or The Eye. I wasn’t about to slosh across all that mud to see The Hole up close, so I took a picture (above) with a telephoto. Then, on the display on the back of the camera, I admired the hole’s smooth, regular shape, and its dainty look in contrast to the massively thick rock above it.

I imagined kayaking at high tide, paddling through the hole, out to the bay and back toward the beach, or maybe around the point of the island. But not on this trip. Maybe some other time. The Bay of Fundy was fascinating enough to have made it onto my bucket list, so I didn’t exclude re-visiting it in the distant future.

Which is why I felt like I had missed something special when a year later I came across news that the arch had collapsed overnight on Monday, October 19, 2015. No one got hurt. No one saw it collapse. Some locals reported hearing noises through the night. The last photo before The Hole disappeared, taken the day before, and the first photo afterwards, on the day after, are shown in a local news article.

I am left with the bittersweet excitement of having seen The Hole before it vanished forever. As for kayaking through rock arches, I can go do it elsewhere in the Bay of Fundy. At least as of now.

For more info

Go to for a good map of the three ecozones: “Aquarium” (whale watching), “Sea Cliffs and Fossils,” and “World’s Highest Tides.”

Read another blog post by Caroline Hatton, about the Bay of Fundy’s Joggins Fossil Cliffs, at

Monday, November 6, 2017

EUREKA, CALIFORNIA: The Heart of Humboldt County

Bald Eagle at the Sequoia Park Zoo, Eureka, CA. 
Every two years in October, I go to Eureka, California, in Humboldt County, for a children's book author festival. While my focus is work, there is also time to enjoy the beautiful northern California coast, the surrounding hills and forests, and to explore the shops, parks and restaurants of historic Eureka.
Coast near Trinidad, CA, north of Eureka in Humboldt County
Eureka is Humboldt's county seat and has a population of about 27,000. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was a booming port city, transporting lumber from the surrounding forests all over the world. Many of the downtown buildings date from that time. A number of them are covered with colorful murals painted more recently.
Mural on building in historic downtown Eureka
During my visit I stayed at the historic Eureka Inn, originally built in 1922. (The rooms have recently been renovated.) The walls of the spacious lobby are lined with portraits of some of its famous visitors through the years such as Sir Winston Churchill and past president Ronald Reagan making one feel a part of history. The hotel is a short walk from downtown Eureka, which is filled with restaurants, craft shops, a bookstore, an art and historical museum and more. One of my favorite restaurants is the Waterfront Cafe, featuring fresh seafood caught locally, across the street from the boardwalk by the water.
Boardwalk in Eureka
From the boardwalk one can view the boats moored in Woodley Marina, which include both fishing and pleasure boats as well as commercial vessels.
Woodley Marina, Eureka
Not far from the center of town, in a beautiful redwood grove, is The Sequoia Park Zoo. It has a small but interesting and varied collection of animals, including a rescued bald eagle, red pandas, orangutans, musk oxen, ostriches and much more.
Red Panda, Sequoia Park Zoo
Arcata, California, just north of Eureka, is home to Humboldt State University and a variety of businesses including  Fire and Light Handmade Glass, a company that makes colorful glassware from recycled bottles. I came home with one of their beautiful glass redwood trees, now propped in a window to let the light shine through and remind me of my trip.
I always enjoy my visit to Eureka, discovering something new each time!
Tree from Fire and Light Handmade Glass