Capes and Cobbles
The rocky headlands of the Port Joli Head trail © Parks Canada/R. Farrell
The capes of the Seaside project directly into the raw energy of the Atlantic Ocean. Smooth rocky ridges jut out into the turmoil of waves. Spray jumps up into the air sometimes giving your lips a salty tingle. If it is low tide, bands of Rockweed are like skirts on the rocks and declare clearly that the ocean claims this territory. If you explore these outcrops, be careful; rogue waves can reach up and carry away anything they find. They have already carried away the soil and forest that once covered these rocks, exposing an ancient geological story below.
Cobble beach © Parks Canada/C. Anderson
Sea-lungwort © Parks Canada/A. Brett
Most of the coastline is composed of granite cobbles. Ranging in size from 10 to 30 cm, these rocks are round and smooth. The ocean has rolled and worn the granite down into the almost perfectly round and smooth cobbles and then, with brute force, flung them upon the land. Many of the cobble beaches are raised into impressive, steep banks called berms. Rising many metres above the average high tide, only the biggest storms succeed in crashing over the top. Each storm surge will dump tonnes of rock at the crest of the cobble berm, spilling landward, covering barrens and stunted spruce trees, even filling up ponds.
Many people admire the symmetrical granite cobbles but should never-the-less refrain from bringing home souvenirs. Leave the beach as you found it for the next visitor!
The rising tides leave many things stranded on the cobble beach. A rich and varied strand line seems to contain a complete history of the evolution of the lobster trap – beginning with the older wooden hoop and slat, through the square slat and finally the metal cage. Abundant driftwood contains other relics of the human fishing industry, stumps, and logs. Beyond the reach of wave action, cobbles are more stable and become colonized by encrusting lichens and plants, such as Sea-lungwort, Beach pea, and Common juniper. Sweet gale and cranberries establish themselves eventually and merge with the barrens inland.
Many small coastal ponds are separated from the salty ocean by the cobble berm. As these natural dykes are very dynamic and porous barriers, the conditions in these ponds are very challenging.
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