Whale Watching from a Zodiac … Maybe

I slept much better last night and got up at 7:00 to get coffee. When I got downstairs I discovered breakfast had been moved to 8:00, fortunately coffee had not.

Today is the day, if the weather permits we’ll be on a Zodiac with 10 or so other people and our pilot in search of whales.

An hour on the road with one short ferry ride and we’ll be in Tiverton where our adventure begins.

We walked into an old house where we were met by a very sweet and knowledgeable young woman.

She told us that we would have to wait until about 12:00 PM before we would know whether or not our 1:00–1:15 Zodiac whale watching trip would happen or would be cancelled due to weather.

The rain was threatening and the sky looked ominous.

There is very little in Tiverton, there used to be a little lunch place next to the ferry but it’s either out of business all together or out until next season. Either way it was very much closed. We had hoped to get some lunch before the whale watching trip and that was the place we had hoped to get it. Okay, switch gears. We walked in the direction of what seemed to be the town, at least the post office was there, looking for someplace to get something to eat and found a tiny store with a few provisions. It was undergoing some minor construction but we were still able to buy some water, peanuts and potato chips. Not a very nutritious lunch but “beggars can’t be choosers.”

By the time we got back several other people had shown up for the trip, they had been smart enough to bring real food, I guess they’d been here before.

Turned out the trip was going to happen and all we had to do was sign wavers and get suited up in Survival Suits with toques and gloves.

Below is a photo of us looking for a juvenile humpback whale that had just taken a dive under the water.

After that we headed off to the dock and the Zodiac.

We all got into the Zodiac and Tom (the owner of Ocean Explorations and pilot of our craft) gave us all instructions on what to do and what not to do. Also how to point out a whale sighting and a bunch of information regarding whales. He is an extremely knowledgeable and very experienced fellow who had worked for Jacques Cousteau on the Calypso back when he was young. Read all about him at the above link.

We were lucky enough to see a juvenile humpback whale several times as he breached 3 times and dove several times even showing us his tail a couple of times. My photos are awful but I’ll treat you to a couple anyway. One of mine and one of my husband’s.

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I’m the blonde taking a picture of the whale. Photo by Chris Neary.

Tom decided we should move on and see if we could see any other whales so we jetted along with no further luck.

As we began heading back it started raining, softly at first and the fog began closing in. We came across another whale watching boat, this one was possibly a converted fishing boat and had two decks. They had been unlucky until they ran across what we suspect was the same juvenile humpback we had been watching.

By the time we got back to the dock it was raining pretty hard and the water was very choppy.

All in all it was a very fun day and I would definitely do it again especially if I could do it with Tom as the pilot.

We were pretty beat by now, it had been a very long day. We got in the car, waited for the ferry and headed back to Digby and our favorite restaurant The Sydney Street Pub and Grill.

Now we’re back chilling in our room.

Driving Around Nova Scotia in Search of the Highest Tides

Before going to bed last night I discovered that our new B&B did not have coffee making facilities in the room. Ack!

Set my alarm for 7:00 AM and after a not so great nights sleep (not the B&B’s fault), I got up before the alarm went off, brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and went downstairs to get some coffee in the dining room.

Once I was there I decided I may as well stay and Chris came down a couple of minutes behind me.

We had a very nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon (if you wished) and toast. We had some great conversations with some of the other guests. Learned about a Zodiac Whale Watching tour. They said they had booked it months in advance but we could get lucky. Chris called and we got in tomorrow if the weather permits.

After breakfast we took a walk around town and onto the pier.

By then it was getting close to 10:30 AM and we thought we’d better get going if we were going to drive out and watch the worlds highest tide at its lowest point. Nova Scotia has the worlds highest tides at 54 feet, if I haven’t mentioned that before.

It’s a long drive from Digby and we made a few stops along the way. Our first stop was in Annapolis Royal which is a very charming little town. It was first settled by the French in 1605 and then later became the capital of Nova Scotia for almost 150 years. It was designated a National Historic Site in Canada in 1994.

We found a wonderful little place to have lunch there call German Bakery and Sachsen Café and Restaurant.

We had a very tasty lunch of homemade chicken noodle soup and half a smoked salmon sandwich.

After lunch we headed out to try and catch the lowest tide so we could watch it come in. It was supposed to be at 1:30 ADT today.

We accidentally happened on a place called Minas Basin where the tide was all the way out and just beginning to rise again.

We didn’t stay to watch the entire return of the tide but you can watch a bit of it on this video. It’s pretty impressive, it was also extremely windy.

Our last stop before beginning the return trip to Digby was the Scots Bay Look Off in Canning. We didn’t have time to do the trail which would have been great but it was getting late.

We got back into Digby at just about dinner time so we went up to the Sydney Street Pub and Grill for dinner and drinks.

I had a couple glasses of the Great Big Friggin Red which is a local Nova Scotia wine and was quite good. Chris had a couple of different local ales. We both had the Pan-fried Digby Scallops with the roasted potatoes. Their roasted potatoes are the best thing on this earth and the potatoes themselves are sourced from Prince Edward Island.

I also had a cup of the haddock chowder (yummy) and Chris had the seafood chowder.

We are now back in our room relaxing.

Travel Day

Left Bar Harbor at 7:15 MDT heading to The Bay of Fundy Ferry in St. John, New Brunswick.

We arrived with an hour to spare. New Brunswick is ADT so it’s an hour later.

Now we’re on the ferry starting to move toward Nova Scotia and the little port town of Digby.

We’re about 30 minutes from dock and the captain is blowing the fog horn. Visibility is white.

As the ferry pulled in to dock in Digby the fog lifted on a beautifully sunny day!

We have been tremendously lucky with the weather, nearly every day has been beautiful and sunny.

We’re all checked into our lovely B&B The Bayside Inn. We’re right across the street from the bay.

Digby has very high tides in fact Nova Scotia has the highest tides in the world at 54 feet.

The boats in the harbor in front of the B&B where we are will drop 29 feet within the next 6 hours.

The light was amazing this evening at dinner and all I had was my old iPhone SE. Even with that you can see how gorgeous it was.

I ran back to our room and got my better camera but it was really too late for the gorgeous light.

On the way back to the room I took these. Digby is a wonderful little town, I’m so happy we are staying here.

Exploring Mount Desert Island

Today we spent the entire day exploring Mount Desert Island.

We drove up to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia NP and enjoyed the views with several hundred of our very closest friends.

The first photo is of Eagle Lake, on the way up.

After that we headed off to explore the sights around the outer rim of the island. It was another gorgeous day with mild temperatures and some breeze.

The coastline here is so beautiful. Lots of rock with trees and flowers. The trees are just beginning to turn so every now and then you’re treated to a pop of color! A little bit of a tease for what is to come.

We stopped for lunch at a place along the harbor called The Chart Room where we had really good Caesar salads, mine with perfectly cooked, freshly caught scallops and Chris’s with perfectly cooked tuna. The service was excellent too, in spite of the fact that they had a group of about 35 with small kids.

After lunch we headed back to the Park Loop Rd. to view and take pictures of the ocean.

I wish we had more time to do more hiking and exploring but we are leaving tomorrow early for the ferry across to Digby, Nova Scotia.

First Day in Bar Harbor

Really nice room at the Inn on Mount Desert and we slept very well.

Before going to bed we had a chat with Branden at the front desk who is a wealth of information. We were interesting in moderate hikes in the Acadia NP. He gave us lots of options and recommended we buy a good map in town.

This morning we had breakfast at the Inn. Then headed down to Bar Harbor to the recommended shop called Acadia Shop. They were super nice and helpful and we bought a trail map.

When we came back Branden traced some trail hikes for us and gave Chris verbal information.

There are a lot of trails criss crossing Acadia NP from the Wild Gardens of Acadia so after meandering through the Gardens we decided to do the Hemlock Trail.

Below are a few photos from the Wild Gardens of Acadia.

Time to set off for the Hemlock Trail. We hiked along the designated trail until we came to a fork and a trail marker where we turned in the indicated direction.

It was pretty easy and we motored right along. After awhile the trail started up over some stairs. It then began to go up even more steeply scrambling over rocks, it kind of felt like a steep creek bed. We began to doubt our trail marker following prowess and stopped to get our bearings.

We were perfectly fine through the stairs and steepness but had been warned about getting on the wrong trail and how onerous it was. That was when we began to doubt ourselves so we turned around back to the fork and went toward the Stratheden Trail. We followed it until it came out on the road then followed the road up to the Gorge Trail where we began hiking again. Soon we came to a juncture that pointed us toward the Hemlock Trail…that was when we realized we had been on the correct trail in the first place! By then it was getting close to lunch and we hadn’t brought enough food for too much more exploring. We followed the Hemlock Trail back down the steep rocks we had already descended back to the trail fork and then back to the car. We had a good laugh!

Drove back to our room and walked to lunch at the Side Street. I had a large lobster salad with an Allagash Black and Chris had large chicken salad with a beer called Juiced.

Heading to Bar Harbor

Getting showered, dressed and packed up to head off for Bar Harbor and The Inn on Mt. Desert. First we’ll have breakfast at Becky’s and make a stop at the original LLBean in Freeport.

We had a wonderful time shopping at L.L.Bean. They have a huge Petite section in the store and I found several things. Chris found a couple of shirts and pair of slacks that actually fit his tall slender frame.

We decided to take the longer more scenic route to Bar Harbor which was a fabulous idea.

The leaves are just barely beginning to change color so every so often there would be a little splash of bright red or orange! Beautiful, who knows we could get lucky. My main goal was to be here when the fewest tourists were here and I think we managed it.

We went through a town called Bath where they build the Navy’s Zumwalt class destroyer, which incorporates stealth-like qualities. If you want to read about it here is the link. https://www.gdbiw.com/Programs.html

We stopped at a wonderful Scottish Pub called The Drouthy Bear in Camden. Excellent food and a great beer list!

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Charlie’s Nice Salad

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Warm Apple and Scallop Salad

We left Camden and headed on toward Bar Harbor. The area along SR1 is so beautiful! Lots of trees, small sea ports, and small towns filled with old restored homes. We loved every bit of it.

On down the road we came upon the town of Penobscot where the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is. It’s a beautiful cable bridge and you can go up to the top of the viewing area and see for miles on a clear day, which we had.



By the time we were done looking out the windows at the top of the observatory and taking photos it was getting really late so we just made a beeline for our hotel. We got in about 6:00 PM and were settled in our room by 7:00 PM.

By then we were thinking about dinner and didn’t want to be out wandering the streets of Bar Harbor in the middle of the night. We decided to try a place called Side Street Café that got very good Yelp reviews. We think those reviews are well deserved. We each had a half order of the Lobster Mac, really good, the lobster was sweet and tender.

Now we’re back in our room getting ready to go to bed so we’ll be well rested for tomorrows hike in the Acadia National Park.

Last Full Day in Portland, ME

Got up, showered and made it to breakfast, ugh. One of the all time worst hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had; very overcooked, very cold scrambled eggs and very cold, soggy potatoes, the muffin was great and the coffee was weak. Happily that was the worst part of the day and the rest of the day was awesome!

We spent the whole day walking around Portland. What a wonderful town.

To the left out of our hotel, looking down the street. On the left in the photo is the Lobster Shack where we had our chowders last night.

Original cobblestones on the street.

U.S. Customs House

There is a walking path that runs along the waterfront so we took that to explore the city. Not far along the path we came upon the Portland Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. Very cool place where volunteers are restoring the old train cars and engines, they also give train rides. We didn’t choose to go on a train ride but we did go through the museum.

We continued walking along the path into the Eastern Promenade Park shared by lots of walkers, joggers, dog walkers and bicyclists.

Next we headed on up to the Eastern Promenade to look at all the restored historic old homes there. They are just gorgeous.

One in particular stood out from the rest and we happened to get lucky enough to speak with the owner for awhile.

She and her husband had lived there for 25 years and were the third family to live in the house, it had always been a single family home. Her yard was stunning and she took care of it all herself.

After looking at a number of these wonderful old homes we headed to the Portland Observatory, built in 1807. The Portland Observatory is the only known signal tower of it’s type left in the United States. We had a wonderful conversation with the docent inside, she told us the history of the observatory as well as the area. Very interesting.

View from the top of the Portland Observatory.

We were beginning to get hungry so we headed back in the direction of Old Port. On the way we took pictures of the Eastern Cemetery, an artistically painted old house, St. Vincent de’Paul, The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and the City Hall.

The weather vane at the top of City Hall.

We had lunch at a great little pub off of Monument called Shay’s Grill Pub. We each had a beer and a Cranberry Walnut Salad, I had beautifully cooked Blackened Salmon on mine.

Now we are back in our room chilling until dinner.

Oh my goodness! At about 5:30 PM we began looking at dinner options. I remembered a place I’d seen while walking back to our hotel after lunch at Shay’s called Walter’s. We decided to take a chance and go there. It had good reviews, just not very many total reviews. Well, it was delicious!

I had the Brick Chicken and Chris had the Ahi Tuna.

First Full Day in Maine

Woke up at 8:00 this morning after getting an amazing nights sleep. Chris was still asleep so I made myself some coffee and tried to be quiet.

It was lightly raining outside and the weather widget said it was probably going to be a pretty nice day.

Chris woke up about 8:45 and we began showering and getting dressed in preparation for the day. By the time we were finished the hotel’s breakfast buffet was over.

The waiter downstairs offered to try and find us something if we liked or he could recommend a place. We chose the recommendation, which was Becky’s, a place I had noticed on our way into Portland. At that time I had mentioned that it looked like a good place to eat.

Not only was it a good place to eat, it was packed, the service was top notch and the prices were unbelievably reasonable. Our whole breakfast bill including coffee and tip was under $20.

After a great breakfast we decided to walk down to the Portland Fish Pier. It’s a real working fishing pier and I really enjoyed watching all of the activity.

After that we went back to the hotel and got a shuttle to the airport car rental to pick up our rental car, a Nissan Versa.

From there we drove out to the Portland Head Lighthouse and explored the area. It’s really a beautiful lighthouse and the surrounding coastline is gorgeous. This is the first time I’ve had much of a chance to enjoy the Atlantic coast and it is very different from the California coast.

Ram Island Ledge Light Station.

Portland Head Lighthouse with the Ram Island Ledge Light Station in the distance.

Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

Lobster tank at the Lobster Shack where we ate lunch.

The Lobster Shack at Two Lighthouses State Park where we had lunch.

Lobster Roll with Fries and Coleslaw (not in picture).

We then headed off to Allagash Brewery for some beer tasting. We has some very good beer there one of which we both loved called James Bean. Unfortunately they don’t bottle it. We were told that they may begin distributing it next year but it will be under a different name so we should look for it by searching on it’s qualities; Bourbon barrel aged tripel blended with cold brewed coffee. Wow! One of my newly found favorites!

Headed back to our hotel and after a bit of a rest we set off down the street to find something light for dinner. We found some yummy Lobster Bisque and a glass of Pinot Noir for me and Chicken and Corn Chowder with a beer for Chris.

Now we are happily relaxing in our room.

Headed for Maine

Didn’t sleep last night between restless legs and thinking about the early flight.

Got up at 4:00am, got dressed and finished last minute packing. I had a couple of pulls from my Nespresso. We said goodbye to our kitty and headed for the airport.

There is virtually no traffic at 4:45 in the morning. We breezed into the airport and parked the car in the airport lot. Next time we’ll take a “Lyft”, much less expensive.

Going through security in our small regional airport was pretty fast and painless. I think it would have been even without TSA Pre.

They announced that they were checking all carryons with wheels. I was afraid I might have to Gate Check my carryon with all my electronics, cameras and prescriptions. Fortunately for me my international carryon was small enough to fit under the seat.

Our plane was a Canadian Bombardier 900 from San Luis Obispo to Phoenix. The flight was pleasant and after debarking we went in search of breakfast.

Our flight to Chicago was on one of the new air buses with varying seat pitches. Our seats were the least expensive and had the lowest pitch. I am 5′ tall and had barely enough room. Getting my carryon under the seat in front or out again was very difficult because of the lack of room between my seat and the seat in front of me. Other than that it was a very nice flight with included free wifi.

Having a meal and beers at the Chicago Airport.

On our last flight of the day from Chicago to Portland, ME we flew over Lake Michigan, my first time ever to see a Great Lake! We were seated over the wing so I couldn’t really get any photos but I can see a trip to Chicago in our future and not just to the airport.

We arrived in Portland, ME about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. It was pouring rain as expected. Great flight by the way on a Canadian Bombardier 700.

After collecting our luggage we called a Lyft and within minutes were being whisked to our hotel The Hyatt Place Portland – Old Port in the older section of Portland.

After a wonderful checkin experience by Kia and with a large glass of red in my hand and bottle of beer in Chris’s we retired to our room overlooking a very wet and beautiful city.

Packing Day

Got in a nice little bike ride this morning on our tandem. The mornings are so cool and beautiful even though the afternoons have been unbearably hot. We won’t be riding bikes for 2 weeks, just hiking, walking and maybe some swimming.

Did something I’m always saying I should do and end up not doing. I made a checklist of what I thought I’d need to bring, got it all out and packed it into my packing cubes. It made packing so much easier. It also helped me weed out the unneeded or mismatched articles. Then took it all out again and took pictures so I’d know what I had if my luggage gets lost.

There are plenty of rain and thunderstorms predicted for our first few days so it sounds like indoor activities will be in order. I’m sure we will still manage to do plenty of sightseeing in spite of the weather. We get so little rain here in California these days that it’s a real treat to spend some time in it.