Ray McDougall and I made a trip to Nova Scotia recently to meet up with some of our collecting buddies there and try and find some of the good minerals that the Bay of Fundy is famous for. We did fairly well and with the help of our friends did find good minerals and, once again, benefited from their knowledge and hospitality! As well, the weather cooperated and it was very nice weather for the days we were out collecting. Here are some pictures and stories of our adventure.
Doug Wilson is co-proprietor with his wife Jackie, of "Amethyst Boutique", a great rock shop in Parrsboro. He is a great field collector and walked the shore along Wasson's Bluff with us to show us areas of interest and to point out locations where big finds have been made. We appreciated his knowledge, generosity and hospitality.
Here are Ray and Doug inspecting cliffs along Wasson's Bluff, Near Parrsboro, NS
We located a zone of nice chabazite crystals and commenced chiseling and hammering away to excavate some of the crystal clusters.
See the vugs of chabazite crystals to my right? To excavate them, it is really necessary to start chiseling the rock far away from them and work closer, to minimize damage to the crystals and to attempt to obtain the best possible clusters. R. McDougall photo.
We recovered several dozen chabazite specimens. Unfortunately, as is often the case with field collecting, the crystals always look best when wet and dirty. The chabazite specimens turned out to be OK but are a much duller orange colour when dry compared to when they are wet, like when we found them! We always pack everything to clean them up and have a better look back at the motel or home.
Here is a nice cluster of the chabazite crystals, all twinned, as usual, in a cluster on eggshell-thin matrix. Actually finding an un-twinned chabazite crystal is difficult! 10.0cm across.
An actual vug of chabazite crystals about 7.0cm in longest direction in basalt matrix, something we don't see all that often. Usually the chabazite separates away from the basalt.
To collect on the Bay of Fundy is to synchronize your life to tides. Most of us are not used to doing that, these days! Every day, high tides and low tides occur at different times. For some reason whenever I am collecting there, we have to rise before sunrise at 4am or 4:30am to drive to the correct cove and be ready to hit the beach JUST after the high tide starts receding. This way we will always maximize the time that we have to collect before the next high tide starts approaching, 11 or so hours later. Here is the sunrise that occurred as we were driving out of Dartmouth, heading for the Bay of Fundy.
On this day, we were teaming up with incredible NS collector Terry Collett, renting a boat and heading out to the various islands of volcanic rock that make up Two and Five Islands. THIS time were taking a ladder to optimize any collecting opportunities that presented themselves. Many of the best specimens on the Bay of Fundy have been collected by climbing ladders or hanging on ropes. This is high tide. R. McDougall photo.
The islands look fairly small at high tide! As the water flows out of the Bay of Fundy, they seem to grow in size as their shorelines temporarily expand.
Nowhere to collect here..... yet! When the tide goes out there will be. R. McDougall photo.
This is Pinnacle Rock. It actually used to be much bigger and taller but a huge peak of it collapsed a couple of years ago. Remember this photo when you are viewing some other photo's of it a little later in this series. R. McDougall photo.
Ahah! Somewhere to stand, as the water levels continue their huge outflow. R. McDougall photo.
The indomitable, indefatigable, ever upbeat Terry Collett, the keenest and most successful of the Nova Scotia Collectors. R. McDougall photo.
At a spot in the Two Islands area, we located a seam of excellent gmelinite crystals. Here Ray steadies the Ladder while Terry explores the seam.
It is pretty dangerous here but we sized up the rock above fairly carefully. It is wise to wear a hard hat while collecting near the cliffs on the Bay of Fundy. You never know when an errant rock could come whistling down on your head. Here is Terry hard at work. R. McDougall photo.
Here, you can see the sort of mineralization that is in the basalts at this location. R. McDougall Photo
THESE are nice crystals of gmelinite from the Two Islands area. The biggest crystals are 20mm across, very respectable for this unusual zeolite mineral. Specimen is about 8.0cm across.
A close up of one of the larger gmelinite crystals from the previous specimen.
A very nice specimen that is 5.6cm across.
This plate of gmelinite and heulandite crystals is 8.6cm across.
This well formed analcime crystal on matrix was found not all that far from the gmelinite spot. Just one, though, actually collected by Ray. Crystal is 19mm across, specimen is 6.2cm across.
Remember Pinnacle Rock at high tide? Here it is at low tide. Perfect place for one of Terry's sumptuous lunches.
A nice specimen of gmelinite pseudomorphs after chabazite from Five Islands. 5.0cm across
Nice, white analcime cluster from the seam Ray was working on, way in the distance. 7.3cm across
These analcime crystals are from Ray's seam. They are not as white being included with chlorite or clay or some colouring agent.
We headed over to the famouse Five Islands natural "Arch", which WAS a famous landmark in the area. Unfortunately, the rock arch collapsed in on itself in October of 2015. The rubble in between the solid rock, that you see in this image, was once a magnificent rock arch with a large opening underneath. We landed and climbed over the residual rubble to search for crystals and the boat met us on the other side.
A thick cluster of colourless analcime crystals from the other side of the collapsed Arch rubble. 12.0cm across
This specimen of analcime was also found on the other side of the Five Islands Arch rubble. 10.0cm tall