Paint Schoodic

Join Carol L. Douglas at beautiful Acadia National Park, August 6-11, 2017. More details here!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Seafood, saltwater and a Fata Morgana mirage

We round the Bay of Fundy to Parrsboro, and paint at fantastic Point Prim.

Cobequid Bay Farm, by Carol L. Douglas
Alas, there were no Digby Chicks to be had at the fish market. We consoled ourselves with an omelet of Digby scallops and locally-sourced bacon, with Poppy Balser’s own fresh-baked bread.

Poppy—who’s also a licensed pharmacist—went in to the shop, and Bobbi and I walked down to the docks. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. They mean the dock ramp has steps, for it’s just too steep to climb at low tide. It’s treaded like a cheese grater and is four flights of stairs in height. Likewise, the marine railway seems to slope down forever.

You wouldn't forget your keys very often if faced with that climb to go back to the car.
We met back up with Poppy at Point Prim lighthouse. Our intention was to paint with genuine Bay of Fundy salt water, but at low tide that meant a perilous scramble down the rocks. Poppy found a tidal pool halfway down the slope, and we settled in to watch our paints precipitate in the salt water.

The long, long marine railway at Digby.
When I was growing up, we would occasionally see a ghost image of Toronto dancing over the open water of Lake Ontario, seemingly just a few miles off shore. Fata Morgana mirages appear over open water just as in the desert. One rose above St. John’s as we painted. It only lasted a few minutes before it vanished in the haze of the horizon.

Mirage over the Bay of Fundy.
Bobbi is studying French. Our comfort stop in the woods, she told us, is called le Pipi Rustique. It’s a necessity of life and it’s frankly more difficult for women than men. “There’s an app for that,” Poppy said, and then dissolved in laughter. To me, the solution seems worse than the problem, since you then have to clean and carry it.

Point Prim, by Carol L. Douglas
We said au revoir to Poppy and headed north along the Evangeline Trail. This traverses some peculiar geology. The Annapolis Basin itself is separated from the Bay of Fundy by a volcanic ridge that trails off into the ocean as Digby Neck. The predominant rocks are basalt. Inland, there are bright red siltstones and soils, and gypsum outcroppings.

Point Prim, by Carol L. Douglas. I do everything I'm told, including value studies.
There’s even gold. Famous Canadian prospector Edmund Horne learned his trade here, in the now-ghost town of Renfrew, Nova Scotia.

When I painted here in mid-October, I’d noticed the peculiar pink of the water, but figured it was a seasonal disturbance. It is the same color now; a lovely rose pink from sediment.

Pink waters off Parrsboro, NS.
In my hometown of Buffalo, NY, Tim Hortons coffee shops are as thick on the ground as they are in Ontario. Bobbi hadn’t had the experience, so we stopped for dinner—a chocolate-glazed doughnut for her, an apple fritter for me.

Meanwhile, Bobbi was perusing her phone. “Our hotel is 100 miles behind us, in Grand-PrĂ©,” she said. Evidently, our booking website couldn’t distinguish between 17 miles over land and the same distance over water. But we landed in clover. The Gillespie House Inn in Parrsboro had an unexpected vacancy. It’s far more genteel than my usual road haunts, and I enjoyed every tiny luxury, including the en suite clawfoot tub.

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