© 2011 jemma

A little town called Alma

Alma can be summed up in just a few words; beautiful, quiet and friendly.

Although small in size, Alma certainly has it’s fair share of big industry in terms of its fishing industry – lobster, scallops and other seafood, and tourism, as it is next door to Fundy National Park. Alma’s other claim to fame is that it has the highest tides in the world, with the water rising as much as 52 feet along the shoreline. This is pretty amazing to see as one minute the harbour would be full and the boats floating happily, and the next the boats all look like they are in a natural dry dock and the beach looks at though it goes on forever.

Now I have convinced you all to visit Alma, let me tell you why we were there. We were visiting Jess’ Aunty Doris who has lived in Alma for many years and loves it there. As the people say in Alma, there must be something in the air that keeps people healthy and happy here.

We drove to Alma from Saint John in a hurry before lunch on a Saturday, as Doris had organised for us to go out on a Lobster Boat that has been doing scientific research. No not the catch and eat kind of research, this was researching the sustainability of lobster fishing. Plus it wasn’t lobster season, and anyway, I don’t eat lobster.

Doris dropped us off at the boat where we met Reg a local fishing legend. His family and extended family all fish in Alma and own a lobster shop there. They are a very nice family and Reg is a very nice guy. We got onto the boat, and along for the ride were Reg’s nephew and his wife and some people from Ohio. Working alongside Reg was his Grandson and Scott a local fisherman and also on board was a researcher who for the next 4 hours would count, measure and throw back sooooooooooo many lobsters. It was definitely a work out for her.

The first pot was the start of many more pots – that’s usually how it works. We watched, asked questions and got to touch almost 20 pound lobsters. Then Jess wanted to get involved. They had no rain gear to give him so he had to be content in getting wet and spotted in bleach. They gave him gloves at least, and he spent the next hour or so pulling in crates, pulling out the lobsters and throwing them back into the water. I threw one back in too and Jess made me hold a crab, so I was involved…somewhat, their claws are just so big!

Jess enjoyed himself so much that he was a bit sad when it was all over. He was exhausted though and promptly fell asleep in the lounge chair as soon as we got back. Awww tired little sailor. This left Doris and I to prepare a dinner of lobster for the two of them and chicken and veges for me. Lobster is just too much hard work!!

Jess began the next day by mowing the lawn for Doris. He certainly enjoyed it and Doris was very pleased he had offered as she didn’t know how she was going to ask him to do it. After the lawn was finished, Jess and I ventured out into the park for some hiking and sightseeing. We hiked along the beautiful Matthews head loop track which treks along the cliffs and looks over the Bay of Fundy. It was so clear you could see all the way to Nova Scotia.

We also walked down to Point Wolfe beach which is amazingly beautiful, and the Dickson falls trail. Now that really was amazing. Quiet, peaceful with the leaves changing colour and only the sounds of the brook and the falls. Very nice. Almost makes you want to move there.

That afternoon Doris took us down to the Alma Lobster shop – the one on the beach – to see where all the lobster end up…cooked and on ice. We got to see behind the scenes too, getting a tour of the holding tanks and the boiler. You would not believe the amount of lobsters they can hold. When we were there the boys came in after a week out fishing for scallops. They had caught over 1800 pounds of scallops and Jess got to eat one raw. Mmmmmm delicious…not.

That night Jess and Doris had lobster for dinner again and smoked salmon!! I had chicken. Mmmmm chicken. I did however try some smoked salmon. It tasted like Peck’s fish paste. Ahhh memories.

Our remaining week in Alma consisted of more hiking, sightseeing, watching the renovations of Doris’ house and playing with her cat Spook. Spook is awesome!!

We went and saw Cape Enrage lighthouse, where we got to see all the way to Joggings in Nova Scotia. In fact you can pretty much see everything from the cape on a clear day. The views are definitely spectacular and well worth a visit. We walked on the beach, found million year old plant fossils in the rocks and skipped rocks into the bay. Ahhh skipping rocks. Such a peaceful past time.

On another afternoon we hiked the Third Vault trail to Third Vault falls, the highest falls in Fundy National Park. It was a great hike, lots of forest, no bears, a few snakes and nice steep bits. Getting to the falls was the highlight though, and the pool underneath was so inviting that Jess decided to swim. Shame he forgot to bring his swimmers. The water was cold though and he didn’t last very long in the water. Lucky we had a nice steep ascent out of the canyon to warm him up.

One of our last adventures in Alma was a trip with Doris into Moncton. The city of Moncton is about a hour and a half away and it is where Doris does most of her shopping…at Costco! The trip in is pretty nice. You pass the Petitcodiac River which is nicknamed The Chocolate River because – you guessed it – of it’s colour. We also passed by some very nice farmland, lots and lots of wild apple trees and some very beautiful horses. Not a bad drive in to go shopping.

At the end of our stay we were vary sad to say goodbye to Alma, Doris and Spook, but we had to move onto our next adventure on Prince Edward Island.

Off we go to the land of Anne of Green Gables!