Canadian Maritimes - Summer 2015 travel blog

Carleton Martello Tower


City Market

dulce (seaweed)




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reversing falls

The drive from Hopewell Cape to St. John included some construction areas that brought to mind the worst that Alaska has to offer as well as wonderful expressway driving. We are camped in Rockwood Park, a recreation area on the edge of the city, just as we were in Halifax. All major cities should have a campground so close to the downtown area. When we are camped on our own, we crave a bit of green and elbow room. Here we are close together in a parking lot, but no one seems to mind since this is our last location together and the realization is dawning that it is almost time to say good-by.

We have come here on a cruise and our city tour left us about as underwhelmed as we were on the cruise stop. St. John looks like a nice place to live - in the summer at least - but not a major tourist mecca. Doubtless the showers that marred the tour had something to do with our feelings. We stopped at the City Market, an quaint under roof establishment that housed many great noshing opportunities as well as artisan created jewelry, pottery, etc.

Then we drove to the Carleton Martello Tower, a well preserved military outpost run by Parks Canada these days. Martello towers were the latest and greatest in military construction during the cannon ball times, before people learned how to rifle the barrels. Because the sun never set on the British Empire, we have seen ruins of martello towers every so often on our travels; the British built about twenty of them around the world. This is the first time I understood their importance and significance. They were compact towers, much easier to erect than a fort and had such thick walls that cannon balls could not penetrate them. They housed small groups of soldiers and munitions in strategic spots. The one here was built when the Canadians were worried about American invasion during the War of 1812. It took three years to build and by then that war was over. It functioned as a garrison for the first time in 1866, when Saint John was fearful of being invaded by the Fenians, a radical Irish-American group that hoped to capture British North America as ransom for Irish independence. Troops in training for WWII were thrown in the brig in the tower if they misbehaved.

Our last viewing opportunity of a Bay of Fundy phenomenon took place here. They call it the reversing falls, although it really looks more like reversing rapids. In the morning in the rain we stood on a river bank opposite a paper plant and watch the river flowing left to right. In the afternoon we came back and watched it flowing right to left. Apparently on the highest tide days the water going in and out meet there and create what looks like a 3 - 4 foot waterfall. Again, somewhat underwhelming. The birds were enjoying the fishing opportunities these water changes provided. They would fly upstream and let the water bring them back, snagging an occasional confused fish. A few seals also circled this fish buffet.

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