Whale Watching in September

Matt and I went to New Brunswick for a week to visit family. Between home cooked meals, paddles in the sea, and afternoon naps, we went to St. Andrews for the day to do whale watching!

There was an autumn chill in the air, but had clear skies and warm sunshine on our face. We drove out from Cape Enrage to St. Andrews through rolling hills, picturesque farmland, and forests of evergreen trees. It took us about three hours, but we didn’t mind.

Photo of a winding creek through a marsh at high tide

Clam Digger

Our first stop was Clam Digger, a roadside diner Matt had been to before which was known as one of the best spots for lobster rolls in Atlantic Canada. Unfortunately, they were out of lobster when we arrived. So we made do with an order of battered haddock, scallops, and clams. It was delicious!

Photo of two women looking out on the water it’s binoculars

St. Andrews-by-the-Sea

We parked the car and walked around St. Andrews. The town reminded us a lot of Niagara-on-the-lake with its charming old houses – but with Atlantic flare! We stopped by the China Shop where I had got my beloved New Brunswick puffin tea mug when Mum and I had vacationed here when I was young. They didn’t have any comparable tea mugs this visit, so I left empty handed.

We checked into our whale tour, then went for a drink at a bar by the wharf. We shared a pint of Picaroons beer from Fredericton under a tree before walking down the pier and making our way to Quoddy Marine Link Tours.

Photo of a whale tale as a humpback whale dives in the Bay of Fundy

Quoddy Link Marine Tours

I had never seen a whale, despite going on a whale watching tour with my Mum as a child. This tour made up for all those years of lost whale sightings as we saw more whales than I thought possible!

We were on a catamaran boat with a group of foreign exchange students, retirees, and one young family. The ride out into the bay was long, but well worth it! After passing porpoises, seabirds, and a lighthouse, we came to the whales!

There was humpback whales galore in the Bay of Fundy. They came up to breath in numerous locations as we made our way through the bay. They were so numerous, I stopped taking photos after awhile. Luck have it, as soon as Matt turned off the 360 camera, a wheel breeched meter beside us!

We were following a pod of whales at this time in the trip, with a particularly playful calf. After many dives and blows, a calf surprised us by jumping out of the water entirely! We turned our head just in time to see the belly of the whale breech 10-15 meters to the side of boat! The boat rocked from the wave emitted as it dove back under water. “Ooo’s” and “Ahhhh’s” erupted across deck as we all smiled in awe of what we had just witnessed. It was incredible!

On the way back to shore, we were treated to a show and tell of sea creatures. One of the biologists passed around star fish, sea urchins, hermit crabs, a live silver dollar, periwinkles, and big snails. There was hot chocolate and cookies too! We had a great time.

Photo of a whale tale as a humpback whale dives in the Bay of Fundy

Marden’s

After our epic whale watching tour, we headed across the US/Canadian border to Mardens, a discount favourite among Maritimers. I was excited to finally see the fabled Mardens – Matt does all his best shopping there!

The border was the tiniest crossing I had ever seen – a dwarf compared to the Niagara Falls or Quebec crossings I was used to! The guards were super friendly too – an unusual blessing. Unfortunately there was no NEXUS line, so we didn’t get to try out our brand new NEXUS cards on land.

Mardens was like a scrapyard version of Winners. I found a pair of flip flops for a dollar. Matt found two pairs of Børn leather boots for $39, a S’well water bottle for $7, and a years worth of his favourite toothpaste not available on Canada. Unfortunately we had to pay $20 in taxes at the border though.

Photo of a buoy hanging on a post with boats in the water in the background

Carman’s Diner

We searched Yelp for the top rated affordable restaurants in the area. One of the best bets was on the Canadian side – a classic roadside family diner called Carman’s.

Matt ordered the seafood chowder and I had the lobster roll. The seafood chowder was huge, with hearty portions of fish, lobster, and scallops. My lobster roll was good too! The service was excellent as well – we left very happy!

Photo of evergreen trees at sunset

Drive Home

I was on ‘moose watch’ during the drive home. The drive through moose country was through lampless winding roads, up and down hills, with patched up road that blended into the darkness. I have never seen a moose before, so joked I was the ‘no moose’ lucky charm, although I was terrified we’d slam right into one on a turn in the road.

We arrived safe and sound in Alma. We thought we’d stop in the Holy Whale brew pub to end the evening, but they closed at 10pm on a Friday. Obviously, we weren’t in the city no-more!

We were home on the couch by 11pm. I reviewed the photos I’d taken throughout the day as we listened to the waves crash on the shore outside the cottage window, listening to Apple Music on the Bluetooth speakers.

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