Travel

Bay of Fundy's extremes are fun

Jennifer Cameron, 35, is a supervisor at Halls Harbour Lobster Pound, a seafood restaurant and wholesaler in Halls Harbour, Nova Scotia, on Canada's Atlantic seaboard. She has lived in Halls Harbour, on the Bay of Fundy, for four years and is originally from Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia.

Q. How close to the shore is your place?

We're right there. We have outside dining overlooking our little inlet, and a wharf right on it.

Q. The Bay of Fundy is famous for its tides, especially in Minas Channel, where your fishing village is located. How great are the tides?

The approximate difference between high and low tide is about 40 feet, but could range up to 50 feet, depending on the phase of the moon and the time of the year.

Tides are all about the moon's gravitational pull on Earth; the closer Earth is to the moon, the more the pull – and they're closer in winter. That will make the tides higher. And any time in winter we have storms also makes for higher tides.

When it's low tide, you can walk out about 100 yards, I'd say.

Q. Do visitors ask you about the tides?

Yes. About 15 to 20 percent of our clientele is local; the rest are visitors. The most common question is about the times – when will the tides be high, when will they be low. Basically, it changes about an inch a minute. That's not extremely fast, but it can make a noticeable change over a short period of time.

We've had people here lately taking pictures – shooting those little videos.

Q. Is the tide-change dangerous? Do you have warning signs posted about it?

There's no danger, and there are no signs. It takes something like six hours and 18 minutes for the tide to go between high and low. And the boatmen here are quite educated about tides; they know when they can come and go; for things like sandbars, they know what's out there and what's not.

At low tides, boats at our wharf sit on the ground; at high tide they can come and go. They have two hours before and after each high tide when they can access our inlet.

Q. By your restaurant's name and location, I'd guess this is a lobster area, right?

Yes. The lobsters are anywhere from 50 feet off our wharf out to the 200-mile limit.

Q. Does the tide change have any affect on them?

I don't think so.

Q. Where do the lobstermen dock?

Right here in front of us, at the wharf. We probably have about five to 10 boats here, and a lot of the other coastal communities have the same setup and probably the same number of boats. On the Atlantic side of Nova Scotia – the other side – they have bigger wharves and a lot more boats.

Another difference is that on the Atlantic there is a six-month lobster season. On the Bay of Fundy, we have two seasons, each approximately 21/2 months. Our seasons are Oct. 15 to Dec. 31 and March 15 to July 31.

Q. Do the lobsters look or taste different depending on the season?

It depends on water temperature. If we have warm water, there are more soft-shell lobsters than good hard-shells. That differs from year to year, all because of global warming, of course.

Q. What's the weather like? When is tourist season?

In summer, the air temperature can reach about 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit); in winter, approximately minus-10 to minus-25 Celsius (15 to -13 Fahrenheit). Peak tourist season is usually around the first two weeks of August. The area isn't that much of a fall-leaf attraction; for that, you go to the Cabot Trail, up on Cape Breton (a large island off the Nova Scotia mainland).

Q. Are Nova Scotia lobsters different from the famous ones of Maine, just down the coast?

Ours are more hard-shell than Maine's. Ours will have more of a rich taste.

The Lobster Pound sells live and cooked lobsters for restaurant consumption. We also cook lobsters to-go if you want to take them home. All of our product is selected live and cooked per order.

Q. What's the turn-around time on lobster to-go?

Cooking time depends on the size of the lobster – anywhere from 20 minutes to half an hour. On average, a lobster that's a pound and a half takes about 20 minutes. Our busiest day of the week is Sunday; around here, it's a traditional day for people to dine out. And we're the only place like this in Halls Harbour.

Q. What sides do customers order with lobster?

A lot of times it's salad or potato salad.

Q. Does the price of lobster fluctuate?

Usually, when the price is set, it traditionally stays the same for a while. It changes with the season and what the season's catch is like and what the supply and demand is. The price goes down with high supply. Right now, we're retailing live lobsters at $11.95 per pound, Canadian (about $11.20 U.S.).

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