Saint Andrews holds a special place in my heart. I have fond memories of going there as a kid with the family. It really is a great place for a day trip with a family or without. I thought this would be a good adventure for my mom and me to do together; so on Monday, we headed out on the 2 1/2 hour drive to Saint Andrews.
We started the day off right with "take out" from Clam Digger. Now, if I haven't already stated on here, I don't like seafood (I know, I lose MAJOR maritime points - I'm working on it), but my mom got the fish and really enjoyed it. I actually loved what I'm pretty sure was home-battered chicken fingers. From what I've gathered as a non-seafood lover, this is the place to go for some fresh, deep-fried seafood goodness.
After an extremely filling lunch, we head to the aquarium. I remember coming here as a kid and loving to touch all the creatures in the touch pool. It's a pretty cool experience!
But since I was a kid, they made an entirely new facility that has a lot to offer: touch pools, huge tanks with seals and other underwater animals, a visual of the highest tides in the world, daily feedings of seahorses, seals, and salmon, and more! Check out all they have to offer on your trip here.
One thing I love about Saint Andrews is the beauty of the waterfront shops and pier. Before whale watching, we did a quick tour of some local shops. I managed not to buy another beautiful mug and just came away with an underwater phone case. :)
And now for our adventure of the day! This was only my second time going whale watching so I was pretty excited! After a final trip to the bathroom (no bathrooms on board), we headed to Fundy Tide Runners for our trip!
We got suited up in these sweet flotation suits that I actually loved. The last time I went whale watching, I was super cold, so it was nice to be warm out on the water. Feeling like an astronaut was pretty cool, too. After a safety talk from witty Captain Dave, we were on our way!
We traveled on a 24 foot Zodiac. This made the journey out to the whales quick and intimate. You're really quite close to the water/whales. It was a full boat with 12 passengers - two families of four and my mom and me. It's cool being in an environment like that where you become friends with strangers for 3 hours. Dave made it easy to do so, remembering almost everyone's names and giving each kid a chance to steer the boat as we cheered them on!
Between jokes and driving, Dave pointed out a few key landmarks. This was our "haul":
A million (ok, like 100) seals!
A lot of porpoises (they were hard to capture):
East Quoddy Lighthouse:
And a whale!!
We saw a minke whale, affectionately called Rudolph because of his bent dorsal fin. It's so cool/impressive that Dave knows many of the whales they see, because many of them have been traveling there for over a decade. Fundy Tide Runners has been in the business for 23 years now, so they're experts!
Even though the weather wasn't great, and we didn't see as many whales as I would have liked, it was awesome to be out on the water and see Saint Andrews and the Bay of Fundy from that vantage point. It was a really great experience hanging out with fellow travellers and seeing all kinds of wildlife. Although they don't guarantee a whale sighting, their record is almost perfect during peak season. The Friday before our trip, they saw a couple of right whales, which is one of the rarest whales in the world!
After our whale watching adventure, we raced to Ministers Island to get there before low tide was over! Yeah, you read that right - you can only get to the island during low tide, when you can drive across the ocean floor! It's a pretty neat experience. The island is named after one of the first owners, a minister, and it has SO MUCH interesting history to take in, but I won't get into a lot of it here.
The extremely impressive buildings on the island were owned by Sir William Van Horne, an American responsible for building the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). It was expected to take ten years to build; but under Van Horne's leadership, it was completed in five. The multi-talented man, had Covenhoven built - a 50-room summer home with walls constructed from sandstone cut from the shore, a windmill, leading edge gas plant, carriage house, garage, circular bath house and farm buildings. The centrepiece of the agricultural buildings is the livestock barn, a massive two-story timber structure with a hipped gable roof, which was home to Van Horne's thoroughbred horses and prized herd of Dutch belted cattle" (MinistersIsland.net).
There are also hiking trails to explore on the island, but we didn't have time to get to those today. We did see some wildlife though - horses and a deer!
I didn't plan out my day very well, but all the timing ended working out great. I would highly recommend planning your day around the tide, feedings at the aquarium, and availability for whale watching! Or, stay overnight and you can take your time. :)
There's really so much to do and see in Saint Andrews! You've got your quaint town, history, science, adventure, and shopping! We didn't even make it to the block house or the Kingsbrae Garden! Will have to go back again soon . . .
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own!