(Beached jellyfish - that's Mike's hand for a size comparison).
We started the day just south of Koubichiguac, and started by driving down to Bouctouche to see the sand dune. There was no entry fee, and after checking out the interpretive centre we headed out the boardwalk. It’s neat to read about the fish, crustaceans, birds, and grasses that make up the local ecosystem. The boardwalk was over a kilometre long, and at the end we took the stairs down to the beach to walk back. An interpretive sign informed us that yes, those were jellyfish we were seeing - Lion’s Mane jellyfish, in fact. We saw tons of them, from 4” across to over a foot in diameter. Fortunately their tentacles aren’t too long, and apparently (although we didn’t test it) their stings are not too bad. We also saw hermit crabs and tons of shells, and some local kids confirmed for us that the little swimming dudes we’d seen off the beach in Caraquet were tiny baby shrimp.
Lunch was sandwiches in the bus, then we stopped at a used bookstore (actually just someone’s garage with a friendly dog who apparently runs it), then the Museum de Kent, which supposedly had a quilt “exhibition”. It was the sorriest excuse for an “exhibition” I’ve seen - it was a quilt sale of unremarkable quilts made by local ladies with no more than the usual amount of taste. There did turn out to be an antique quilt in the museum, but nobody had thought to put it on display in the basement where the quilt “exhibition” was. The museum building mostly made up for it - a four-story convent that had a beautiful chapel. For only $3 it was a deal, but it was rather odd to be followed around by a tour guide who turned the lights on and off for us in the rooms, and I guess made sure we didn’t steal or touch anything.
We headed for Moncton and Magnetic Hill, and made it around 5pm. We were surprised to see tons of people pouring towards the Hill - could it really be that busy? I saw a sign or two for “concert parking”, then one for “AC/DC parking” - we had managed to arrive at the one place where AC/DC was playing tonight! Lots of drunken (and high) show-goers loved our van, and although there was a friendly RCMP officer stationed at the entrance of the park, he assured us that we could still go in and try the hill.
I have to say that the Magnetic Hill is one of the marvels of the trip so far for me. It’s not so much that it’s really neat - it’s that it’s completely unspoiled. There’s a huge “Magic Mountain” theme park, waterpark, and zoo (not to mention a concert stage big enough for AC/DC), but they haven’t touched the actual hill one bit. I guess because it’s considered to be an optical illusion caused by the slopes of the hills around the road, they don’t dare mess with it. Other than paving the road and putting a white post at the bottom (paving and post both look 50 years old), they haven’t touched a thing. Because all the concert-goers had scared away all the tourists other than us and one or two other cars, we had it almost to ourselves and took a couple of runs at it. The second time Mike even turned off the engine completely, just to prove to Will what was happening. I had expected it to be somewhat pathetic - that you might have to squint or suspend your disbelief, and that I’d end up saying “yeah, it does look like we’re rolling uphill” just to make it fun for Will. But we really did appear to be rolling uphill, and I have no explanation for it!
Our next stop was the Windjammer restaurant, which Will has already handily reviewed. I would add that prices were high, but as well as Will’s meal being 50% off, we got the early-bird special, which is the table d’hote for $46 instead of $59. A four-course meal for $46 is no more than we’d pay for a good meal in Toronto. The service was impeccable and we were careful to tip on the pre-discounted price. I had enough cutlery arrayed around my plate to be able to give a primer on usage to Will, who is getting in the spirit of “Where to Eat in Canada” restaurants.
We wanted to make it into Nova Scotia today, since we’ve already discovered that we can’t possibly do everything we want to do in a month! We found a campground just outside Amherst and are camped for the night. Although you’re never far from water in the Maritimes, so far we’re never far from highways either, and the transports whizzing by two farms over will lull us to sleep again tonight.
P.S. I'm behind on pictures... but make sure you see the sunset picture I added later to August 4th's entry!