We booked a photo tour for our cruise stop in Saint John, New Brunswick. Online reviews were good¹. We wanted to see the area and this seemed like the best way to do it.
We met Lance Timmons, a photographer and our guide, in the parking lot next to the pier. Our group boarded a small bus and headed southwest.
Saint John is a working class city. The homes are mostly small. Nondescript might be the best non-description.
Our first stop was the famous Reversing Falls.
When the tide is low, the St. John River, 450 miles long, empties into the bay. Between Fallsview Park and the Pulp Mill, the full flow of the river thunders through a narrow gorge. An underwater ledge, 36 feet below the surface causes the water in the river to tumble downward into a 175-200 foot deep pool. Below the mill and under the bridge. The water then boils in a series of rapids and whirlpools.
We missed all that arriving somewhere near high tide. The river certainly was flowing fast, but this is not a lifetime remembrance other than the cormorants I wrote about earlier.
What I saw was marred by the Irving Paper Mill across the river. It’s a big, ugly plant with tall stacks emitting… God, I hope it’s just steam.
I was disappointed. If this was a well known spot what we find at more obscure locations? Thankfully things rapidly improved.
Even at this first stop a glimmer of goodness came from Lance. He spent his time near the river helping point-and-shoot photographers understand how they could coax better photos from their cameras. The advice was simple and useful. Someone will come home with better pictures courtesy of Lance.
We got back on the bus and headed west on the Trans-Canada Highway. The population quickly thinned out. Conifers dominated. Our destination was Lepreau Falls.
Lepreau is a step waterfall with rapids upstream and a series of drops as the water flows toward the Bay of Fundy. It’s really pretty and unlike our last stop–pristine. For photographers there are two separate viewing areas at different altitudes.
Lance had our tour well planned. There was enough time to shoot, but certainly time limits. We needed to be back before the ship left… and it doesn’t stay in Saint John too long.
Now we were taking more narrow rural roads now driving at the edge of land. The Bay of Fundy was off to our right. We stopped in Dipper Harbour a protected inlet off the Bay. It was filled with working boats and small floating docks piled high with lobster traps.
I took one look and said to myself, “Maine.” This place was just like the small harbors I’d visited on a trip to Mount Dessert Island (Bar Harbor) a few years ago–the famous “mancation” with my friend Bob.
Our final stop was a beach inside the Irving Nature Park. Yup, the nature park Irvings are also the paper mill (and oil and chemical) Irvings. They dominate Saint John. Whether this park is the product of community spirit or guilt or a combination of the two is anyone’s guess.
With the water temperature around 55° the beach was without bathers save one young girl. I climbed some rocks to try and get better shots.
Helaine, remembering my lack of coordination and limited dexterity gets scared at moments like this. It’s possible she’d already dialed 9-1 on her cellphone!
Without Lance we never would have gotten to see this much of the Saint John area. Here are a few of my favorite shots.
¹ – At some point I’ll deal with this in greater detail, but Helaine does heavy research before we go anywhere. For this trip she depended on cruisecritic.com. It is a very active community. The tips Helaine found turned out to be very helpful.