Sharks are the least of your worries, Mom

Before Deb and I left (alone!) for our vacation in New Brunswick, my mother sent an email warning that sharks now frequent the Bay of Fundy, our destination, including great white sharks, even in shallow water. Also, there are seahorses now, which, by the way, awwwwwww!

What Mom didn’t realize was that in order to get attacked by a shark in the Bay of Fundy you have to step foot in the absolutely frigid waters. In other words, you don’t have to be crazy to get eaten by a shark in the Bay of Fundy, but it helps.

It’s a very mom, very human thing to do – think about the sensational perils that are statistically unlikely versus those more certain to do us harm (see: terrorism vs. climate change). If Mom had only known the other stuff Deb and I got up to (alone!) during our trip.

We spent three days on Grand Manan in the middle of the bay, tenting at the Hole-in-the-Wall Campground, which is named after a natural rock formation that looks like – you guessed it – a hole in the wall. Nearby were dozens of rustic campsites perched on the windy edges of the cliffs. Deb and I looked at each other and thought: we would totally camp here.

Alas, the owner died a few years ago and his widow felt unable to keep it all running, so she closed the cliff sites, and we were forced to take a boring old site with level ground and zero precipices.

We made up for it by hiking the trails along the rugged western perimeter of the island. We were virtually alone for miles and miles as we peered down towering cliff faces to the jagged rocks below. Slipping and plummeting to our deaths wasn’t probable, but it wasn’t impossible either. A seaside hike as a life lottery, if you will.

There was greater likelihood of getting lost. The markings along New Brunswick’s trails are virtually foolproof, but fools do find a way. I tended to lead on the hikes, and a couple of times Deb said, “Uhhh, isn’t it this way?” just before I blended Field-of-Dreams-like into the brush. Or the time I thought Deb was behind me and I heard, “Ross?” from, well, not behind me.

Indeed, there were moments when I thought to myself, “Absolutely no one knows we’re out here (alone!). This could go badly. Also: is that mushroom edible?”

Did that stop us? Well, it didn’t stop Deb, who’s never seen a trail or spur or Enchanted Lane of Doom she didn’t like. I was just happy to be on vacation.

Back on the mainland, we found a trail that led to a marshy pond. Cute. But then there was this other trail, one not advertised on the map we were using. So we followed it, not knowing where it would lead or for how long it would be or whether there were sharks at the end. There were no sharks, but I did look down and wonder, “Isn’t that bear poop?”

Along a rough path, over tumbled boulders, past sheer rock faces, bears undoubtedly peeking at us through the pines, we eventually made it to the top of what we later learned was Mount Chickahominy. Don’t get excited; this is a New Brunswick mountain, which is basically a hill with aspirations.

We were taking small risks, as one does any time one ventures outside. But generally it’s not the outside you have to worry about…

So imagine me cooking dinner over a camp stove. I have ravioli ready and am preparing a sauce of fresh tomatoes and basil, chopped garlic, onions and mushrooms. I reach for the jar of oil and pour it into the frying pan, adding the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Funny, I’m not smelling it. I lean closer, sniff. Do I detect lemon? Is my oil bubbling?

I look at the jar of oil. It’s not oil. It’s dishwashing liquid. I am sudsing my veggies.

I try rinsing them, but the thing with mushrooms is they absorb. I know this because I am still tasting the soap a week later.

My point is not that I ruined supper (I didn’t; tomato, garlic, basil, dried oregano, a little wine was just fine) but that I did a very stupid thing. What if it hadn’t been dish soap but carbolic acid? I don’t know what carbolic acid looks like or what it does but I bet it makes a lousy sauce.

The moral of the story is you don’t have to worry about sharks. But you do have to worry about me.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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36 Responses to Sharks are the least of your worries, Mom

  1. Julpha Jean says:

    this is very nice 🙂 but oh no the detergent liquid swims to the veggies. 🙂

  2. byebyebeer says:

    That hole in the wall rock picture is incredible, hope you get it framed. Looks like an incredible place to visit, and as a couple. Next time definitely leave the carbolic acid at home and maybe switch to blue dish soap? Sorry to hear about the mushrooms.

  3. franhunne4u says:

    Oh, your mother forgot the most eminent danger of a camping holiday – you have to stay in a TENT …

  4. amandahoving says:

    Now I’m worried about you, and you’re not even my child. (I think.)

  5. Looks and sounds like a wonderful trip (minus the dinner:) ! Please note: I told my daughter and family to be careful about sharks and terrorists before they left on a recent trip. Guess that’s just something that mothers do?

  6. Why make a big tsimmes over a little dish soap? I use cleaning products in my cuisine all the time. A spritz of Windex keeps the spinach salad from staining your teeth. And how is it real Texas 5-Alarm Chili without a shot of oven cleaner. But I’d stay off the carbolic soap, it tastes terrible – – if we swore when we were kids, it was usually Ivory, not too bad, but if you really used bad language, it was the disinfectant soap, worse than cilantro.
    Seahorses!!! I love those little guys, very cool.

  7. Trent Lewin says:

    Ah that’s a cute picture…. remind me not to come over for dinner. I’m somewhat allergic to dishwashing soap.

  8. I believe I waded in the Bay of Fundy to a little rock island to dig clams once. Haven’t felt my feet since. If there are sharks up that way now it must be a little warmer, but either way, your feet could still suffer.

    Beautiful coastline Ross, and you and your wife look happy and relaxed in the photo! Wandering along the coast is very good medicine.

  9. Gavin Keenan says:

    Funny story. My days of sleeping on the ground are behind me, although I couldn’t think of a nicer place to do it. We visit often and N.B. has many picturesque vistas that I never share with the folks back home in Massachusetts, as I don’t wish to encourage more Massholes in the province. I swam in the Bay once this summer. All my teeth fell out from chattering. Interesting that the Great White Sharks extend their feeding grounds to the Bay of Fundy. They originate off of the New Jersey coast and it would be nice if they returned there. New Jersey is famous for a variety of sharks…loan sharks, card sharks, etc. etc. The sharks are sighted on a daily basis on Cape Cod now, feeding on the abundance of gray seals and beach-goers disguised as seals. “JAWS” foretold this years ago. We didn’t listen.

  10. Wow, we just came back from there, attempted to hike the entire Red Trail, starting Friday, Aug 23, but, we only got to Whale Cove Beach, and collapsed. I am posting an article on my wordpress site about said failed adventure on Sept 8.

  11. pinklightsabre says:

    Love that photo…life after family vacations perhaps, your first?

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