Fundy Fascination


We left the Bay of Fundy even though I wasn’t ready. Maybe I wouldn’t have been ready until the first snow blew in, or they closed all the campgrounds for the season and I was only left with a Walmart parking lot. I think it fitting that we left Nova Scotia on the ferry that goes from Digby to St. John, New Brunswick. It is a big ferry crossing a big body of water. It took us two and a half hours to cross and it was a rough crossing. I watched the water and it seemed the roughness, the waves, were created by the emptying of the Bay of Fundy of its vast amounts of water. It was close to high tide when we drove to the dock an hour before departure and thus the tide was going out by the time we were crossing.


My photography didn’t do justice to the wonder I felt as I stood and looked over the tidal flats at low tide and the speed with which the water comes in. I took many photos but as I reviewed them for this post, it feels something like trying to document a daisy one petal at a time (my daughter’s analogy for trying to photograph the Swiss Alps.) Maybe I would learn how if I took another 10,000 photos – but alas we had to move on.


An all terrain vehicle and a clam digger.

Maybe words will help me. During a 12 hour tidal period (2 low & high tides), 115,000 billion tons of water move through the bay from the Atlantic and back back again. The highest tides are in the Minas Basin, a bay going into Nova Scotia, at Burntcoat Head of 14.5 meters (47.5 feet) with an extreme range of 16.3 meters (53.5 feet). (Wikipedia and Guinness Book of World Records) Most amazing of all, the landmass of Nova Scotia tilts with the changing weight of tides.


Everywhere we went, we watched for a few minutes to determine if the tide was coming in or going out. We would focus on a rock at the edge of the water to see if it became submerged or it was left more visible. We watched the currents of large rivers to determine if water was flowing downstream or upstream. We ventured a guess as to where the high-tide marks were. Yes, we were fascinated with the flow of the tides.


The General Store


Sightseeing seems to be a crap shoot, at least for me. We don’t enjoy going to most tourist attractions (although we stopped at the Anne Murray Center in Springhill, Prince Edward Island – a highlight of JB’s day) because we enjoy exploring and finding the unexpected – where most people don’t go. But sometimes I know what I want to experience because of what I have read in material put out by the local tourism agency. Sometimes I’ve created a picture in my brain of what I want to see.

We set out to explore the southern side of the Minas Basin because I wanted to see where the highest recorded tide in the world occurred (Cobequid Bay at 17 meters or 55.77 feet). In places of high tides, like this Bay of Fundy area, the work of the water like fishing and shipping and hydroelectricity has to be scheduled according to the tides. We picked up a tide schedule but I guess the flow of tides isn’t a part of my psyche like it is for locals who grew up with them. It just never occurred to me that seeing a tidal basin at high tide would be like looking at a very wide body of water, like a wide river. A disappointment when we reached Cobequid Bay.

But not to worry, we had a lot of fun on the way to disappointment and back. Both JB and I are pretty good at navigating – we can read maps and signs and stuff like that. But we felt lost more than a few times on this drive down a coastal, country road without hardly any traffic. Maybe it was because the course changed numbers and directions several times; maybe because we couldn’t hold the names of towns in our heads because they weren’t familiar to us, and well, the towns seem elusive. We would see a sign indicating a town, it was even on the map, but there would be nothing – not even a crossroad or a house or two. Then we would come to a town sign and there would be a couple of businesses and a few houses but it wasn’t on the map. We saw a sign pointing right, with a picture of a light house. We drove to the end of the dirt road where a few cars were parked and some people fishing. There was a dirt drive going left up a steep hill, with a sign, “private property, dead end, no lighthouse.” All this kept us giggling.

We had three missions, to buy gas, get some groceries, see evidence of high tides. Early in the excursion we pulled off to walk out on a viewing pier when the tides were starting to come in. The current was rushing in, changing the flow of the river, and very impressive.


We decided to count this as experiencing the power of exceptionally strong tides. I also found us a gas station – a full service and with a very clean washroom. Bingo! Almost – we still needed to find a grocery.

We were heading back, along the same route, approaching Maitland. Maitland was the biggest town we had gone through with a crossroad, two or three businesses and a few more houses. And there was a sign letting us know there was a general store. By this time we had added another goal, to find ice cream, and JB spotted the sign indicating we had found it. I pulled over.

This is Canada’s oldest General Store and it had all the groceries we needed, including a bag of grown in Maitland mixed greens that were the best I’ve ever eaten. The store wasn’t big and the selection was limited (the cereal isle had Cheerios and oatmeal) but if they didn’t have it you could probably live without it (to paraphrase Garrison Keillor). And at the connected cafe/ice cream parlor they had the best ice cream we have ever eaten.

Mission accomplished! We accomplished all goals plus the unspoken goal of joy and spontaneous laughter.

Reflection: Low Tide

St. John Bay of Fundy 115-2

Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada


Tagged C – is for…

Monday North Point 090

Canada, and here’s to friends to the north of the US. This week’s letter from Frizz is the letter C and here are a few photos from our trip to Canada last summer.

Hubby stayed in cabins when he traveled with his parents – and was delighted when we found a cabin to stay in on Newfoundland – for two nights no less.

C is for Cabin

C is for Cabin

We went around many curves – these being on the east side of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.

C is for curvy roads

C is for curvy roads

We went to see where the river reverses course because of the large tides at the Bay of Fundy. This next photo of a collapsing structure was taken in Saint John, New Brunswick.

C is for collapsing

C is for collapsing

We stayed at a wonderful Provincial Park in Quebec and these canoes were inviting on a warm summer day.

C is for Canoe

C is for Canoe

And of course what we saw the most of were coastlines in the Maritime Provinces.

Coastline on Cabot Trail

C is for Coastline on Cabot Trail

To see what Frizz is up to and to join in the fun or to see other interpretations of the letter C, click here.