Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sunshine and Rocks at Cape Enrage

The photo above was taken early this morning from the back door of my room. Look! A sunbeam and a blue sky!

On our way to breakfast we stopped by the wharf to see the sunrise over the bay.  After days of fog and rain, it was extra exciting to see the sun.  

After a half day of lectures, we said goodbye to our classmates, and headed toward Cape Enrage, which is about twenty minutes outside of the town of Alma.  The tide was out as we neared the point of land with the light house, and we walked way out on the sandy bottom of the bay.  The water carves little ripples in the sand, and ours were the only foot prints on the entire beach.  

On the air plane on the way to Canada, my seatmate told me that we should visit Cape Enrage since we were going to be in the area.  Once we got to our chalets, the guy at the desk suggested Cape Enrage as a place to see.  A local lady in the class also said we should make sure we get out to Cape Enrage.  After all those recommendations, we were intrigued, and as soon as class let out today, we grabbed some sandwiches and cookies from the bakery in town, and headed for the little light house on the jutting cliff that is Cape Enrage.  Everybody was right, it was worth the visit.  

The light house has a fog horn that started sounding while we were there.  The lady in the gift shop told us that the light house has sensors on the outside that detect foggy conditions and sound the horn.  Strangely, something about the bright sun on the side of the light house also triggers the horn, so even though there wasn't any fog, we got to hear the fog horn.  I appreciated the authentic ambiance.  

Without even trying, we timed our trip perfectly.  Not only did we have lovely sunshine and bright blue skies, we arrived as the tide was out, and could leisurely explore the stony shores while we watched the tide reclaim the stones.    

The tall vertical rock cliffs are impressive, and made me feel very small.  

The pools of water in the rocks left by the retreating tide had lots of snails.  The snails left on the dry rocks were closed up tight, waiting for the waters to return. 

The large boulders were draped with long strands of sea weed and covered in small white barnacles.  

It looked to me like there were two species of sea weed.  The one in the photo above was short, had wide leaves, and the puffy air sacs on the ends of the branches were bumpy, and shaped like little hands.  

The other kind was long, with smooth oblong air sacs and little round leaves.  The air sacks feel like little rubber balloons when I squeezed them.  I'm glad there weren't any locals around to see me squeezing the sea weed.  

As the tide came in, these long mats of sea weed, which are anchored to the rock, would float and swish violently back and forth in the waves.  

If I remember correctly, Charles Darwin was a barnacle man, and his observations about the different barnacles at different locations on ships hulls helped him understand the adaptation of species.  Darwin must have had a more delicate barnacle extraction technique than mine, which involved banging on one with a rock, because I don't think he would have been able to tell much about the smooshie glob I managed to extract with my technique.  I hate to say it, but I am now a barnacle murderer.  

After exploring the shores at Cape Enrage, we had a short drive to visit the Hopewell Rocks, which are cool sandstone cliffs sculpted by the waves.  The tide was coming in fast, so we couldn't walk under all the arches, but we got to observe the tide swallow their bases.  

Tucked under one of the rock pillars were a little family of rock sculptures.  

Someone dedicated some time to rock collecting and rock stacking, and somehow got the rocks to defy gravity and perfectly balance.  

At our last lookout, we could see the setting sun shimmering on a river flowing to the bay.  I'm glad we had a day with a sun, and I'm glad we had days with mist and fog so we could really appreciate the sun shining on the water.  

As a grand finale for our trip, we had lobster for dinner, again, and this time we decimated our lobsters like real pros, as you can see from our discarded shell basket.  The first time we had to ask the waitress for directions, but not this time.  We had our bibs on and our tools at the ready, and as soon as they arrived at the table we went after that lobster meat like we meant it.  Lobster number two was even more delicious than the first one! 

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