Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Explorer, the Saint and the Falls

Today, I am going back to the early days of our hols, back to Saint John, NB, because I want to play teacher. Saint John is an example of history and geography coming together. I have mentioned the Reversing Falls previously, and I'll get back to them later in this blog, but let's talk about the title.

On our second visit to the Falls, we noticed a park of statues on a nearby hilltop. So we sauntered up and found a ring of chainsaw carvings representing historical figures relevant to Saint John. This photo shows a bit of the ring to give you the idea.

And so, we come to the explorer extraordinaire, Samuel de Champlain.

On his second voyage (I think) across the sea in 1604, he sailed to into the Bay of Fundy and into what is now called Saint John. It was June 24, which happened to be Saint's Day for John the Baptist: hence, the name. His journal records his description of the point of the next two photos of the Reversing Falls: "After rounding a point it narrows again and forms a waterfall between two lofty cliffs where the water runs with such great swiftness that if a piece of wood be thrown in, it sinks and is never seen again."

That's the connection between the explorer, the saint, and the falls, but here's what I can show you and try to describe.

Frankly, it's nothing much to look at: a deep gorge with water at the bottom, but how the water works is interesting. The above photo was actually our second trip of the day, about six hours after the first, at low tide. The water is flowing as water normally does: downstream and out to the sea. I've labelled the photo, but you might have to embiggen by clicking on it it to see it properly. I've also labelled a rock as a reference point.

Below: it is high tide, six hours earlier. The rock is almost covered, and water is actually flowing upstream, counter to the normal way of things.

This where Sammy and his crew stopped their exploration and turned around on the saint's day, and why the city is now called Saint John. Just so you know, it is not Saint John's, and you're also expected to write out Saint and not abbreviate it if I understand the protocol correctly.


Diana said...

I find these natural wonders fascinating! The history even more so AC, Thanks! Love Di ♥

Donna said...

Maybe some day we'll get to venture forth for a visit. Then I'll be able to surprise Larry with my expertise!Lol...Maybe!
Thanks for the tour Ac!

Bernie said...

Great lesson AC, love reading the history which I only remembered after reading your post....Hugs

Ruth said...

My history teachers in school were excessively dull and I retained virtually nothing from my education. Your pic of the reversing falls actually shows well what I failed to notice when I was there many years ago.

Kila said...

Very interesting!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for the history lesson, Ac and especially that graphic iolustration of the reversing falls. So if in a canoe which way would you be heading - froward or backward?

Anvilcloud said...

Depends on whether it was high tide or low and which direction you started from. :)